Success With Flexible Heating Elements

An aircraft equipment OEM needed chemically etched flexible heating elements for critical assemblies they produce. They need to ensure the equipment they manufacture endures high altitude flights without freezing. The OEM was already working with another photochemical etching company but the quality of the etched heating elements was low, and the deliveries were not dependable. They needed a solution to both problems, and turned to Switzer for help.

Flexible Heating Element

What is an Etched Circuit Heating Element?

An etched circuit is a continuous pattern that is etched into a very thin sheet of metal. The circuit conducts heat when connected to an electrical current, which creates an effective heating element. These heating elements have many different applications from aviation equipment to ultrasonic cleaning tanks.  Heating elements also keep outdoor equipment, such as vending machines and ATM’s, working properly in the cold.

Try Switzer

A mutual connection referred this OEM to Switzer because of our long history of success with similar products. We had the experience that they needed, and they were willing to give Switzer a try. The OEM anticipated a qualification period to last for up to a year when we began working with them. However, our experience and unmatched quality exceeded their expectations during a series of qualification orders early on, and they fast tracked us into production within six weeks months, instead of the expected 12 months.

Adapting to Adversity

The initial small orders were produced and shipped as expected and without any problems. We experienced our first issues when volumes transitioned to higher levels of production. The OEM supplies the material for this program and it wasn’t clear in the beginning that every sheet of material is tied to a specific order. Once this was discovered, we quickly developed a robust material handling system that allows us to allocate each sheet of material to specific work orders. This method provides material traceability from receipt to shipping for this program, and is a process that can be used for other partners with similar requirements.

Our ability to adapt allowed us to maintain our on-time delivery performance even under complicated circumstances.

Overall Outcome

Over the years, Switzer has provided precision level solutions for companies in many different industries. Our ability to learn, adapt, and grow has helped us build great relationships which endure ever-changing program requirements. Our partners choose Switzer because of our fast lead-times, low tooling costs, and our expertise in the field. We work with our partners through every step of the process to ensure they receive the experience they deserve. When asked to produce chemically etched heating elements, we delivered exactly what we promised: Precision. Crafted. Metal.

In the market for flexible heating elements? Reach out.


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