Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 3

SPONSORED CONTENT
EXPERT Insight
Sheldahl Leverages History of Flexible-Circuit Expertise for New Era
of Vehicle Electrification
For SAE's Expert Insight, Enid Kivuti, Director of Engineering and Program Management at Sheldahl, a flexible-materials, films
and circuits technology specialist with a variety of innovative automotive applications, provides perspective on the auto industry's
rapid expansion into electrification and the need for increasingly sophisticated materials solutions. SAE's Automotive Engineering
spoke with Kivuti about how the company's thin films and insulation, flexible circuits and printed electronics can enable advanced
and durable innovations for all manner of electrification applications.
Automotive Engineering: Provide a
bit of an overview of Sheldahl's technology
- what are your most important
differentiations?
Kivuti: Our expertise and 'technical
toolbox' is really wide. We manufacture
our own materials; we buy films
and foils, but we formulate and we
engineer adhesives. We put these dissimilar
layers together and that's really
the core of our technology. Our
differentiation is to really begin with
the end in mind. What is it that you're
trying to do?
Today, there's a lot of work going
into vehicle electrification, and when
you think about a flexible circuit,
there's several things that it needs to
be able to do in that application.
We're actually going to make something
that's going to be able to be flexible, be able to help
with thermal management, to be able to fit and be light so
that you can have the efficiency that you want, that will have
the sensors that are needed for safety. And all of these things
can be integrated. Why? Because we understand the materials.
We understand how they work together. And we listen to
what the customer needs and we work with our materials to
enable that solution.
Enid Kivuti, Director of Engineering and Program
Management at Sheldahl.
are hybrid or fully electric, there are
important requirements, especially as
far as the interconnect is concerned.
We believe that flexible circuits are a
big answer - and especially with
Sheldahl technology, because we'll go
all the way from the material itself up
to the assembled circuits.
Automotive Engineering: Sheldahl
also has a presence in other highreliability
applications in medical
and in aerospace?
Kivuti: A very exciting application is
the James Webb Space Telescope. Its
purple sunshield material is all made at
Sheldahl. It took about 13 years of innovating
together with other aerospace
companies.
In medical, one of the things that's
really moving, as people try to control medical costs, is athome
monitoring, whether it's for health and wellness or actually
medical. Wearable medical devices are really important.
One of the key areas of focus within Sheldahl is printed electronics.
We do that in automotive for touch sensors.
Automotive Engineering: Electrification is top of mind for
the automotive industry. What are Sheldahl's chief touchpoints
in automotive, Enid?
Kivuti: The ability to make a really long, continuous circuit.
Sheldahl has a lot of automation and has had it for a long time.
We make all of our products with roll-to-roll technology, which
means you can have as long a circuit as you want. Of course,
anyone who is an expert knows that there are certain limitations
to that. Also, we are able to work with different types of
materials with different electrical and mechanical properties
and bring those together in a format that will work well for the
end use. As vehicles move towards electrification, whether they
Automotive Engineering: Sheldahl was formed in 1955, nearly
70 years ago. What do you think are the strengths that
have kept the company relevant?
Kivuti: Innovation, really. And at the base of innovation is
people. It's the core group of people who are working to
solve problems, to seek to understand what it is that the
customer really needs - not just what they say they need,
but what is it that they're trying to solve and working
through that. And that has been really the core of
[Sheldahl's] innovation. For example, we were one reason
the first transatlantic phone call was made. We had these
metallized balloons and the signals bounced off them to
make that first transatlantic call. Using materials technology
to enable innovation and to enable other parts of science to
come together.
Watch the full interview with Enid.
AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING
October 2022 3

Automotive Engineering - October 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive Engineering - October 2022

Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - Intro
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - Sponsor1
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVRA
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVRB
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVR1
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVR2
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 1
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 2
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 3
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 4
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Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVR4
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