Imagine being able to personalize your mobile phone or PDA to complement your wardrobe. Consumers around the world will be able to do just that, thanks to the EXO* overmolding system from Inclosia* Solutions. This new technology allows the use of real fabrics and leathers in the casings of portable electronic devices and brings new opportunities for co-branding to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). So whether the hottest fashion is faux fur, leather, suede or faded denim, consumers can have electronic devices to match.
In the market for electronic devices, state-of-the-art electronics performance and ease-of-use are no longer competitive advantages; they have become the price of entry. “Performance features are no longer the only differentiating factors in electronics purchase decisions,” according to Tom Tarnowski, business manager for Inclosia Solutions. “Instead, branding and appearance are important drivers in motivating consumer purchase. Innovative enclosure design gives products a style that strikes an emotional connection between consumer and device, turning it into an object of desire, as well as a reflection of personality.”
In response to this market trend, Inclosia Solutions has developed a new mass manufacturing technology that allows virtually any type of fabric – leather, metallics, suede, or denim – to be incorporated in the covering of an electronic device at a competitive price. Known as EXO* overmolding system, this technology is a mass-production process that meets the cost, quality, durability and volume requirements critical for the production of electronic devices. The EXO system enables Inclosia to produce enclosures that incorporate the tactile and visual appeal of fabric without complex handwork or costly manual applications, to bring personalization within the price range of most consumers.
Fast Response to Fashion Trends
To fully participate in emerging fashion trends, OEMs must respond quickly, with the ability to launch a new product design as well as to adapt existing designs to changing consumer preferences. Using the EXO overmolding system, Inclosia can produce enclosures for OEMs in large quantities, quickly. Since one mold can be used for many different fabrics and materials, retooling is typically not necessary between covering changes, which further increases speed and enables further cost advantages.
EXO Overmolding System
“Traditional processes that combine layers of fabric and plastic often stretch, tear or crush the fabric. If the fabric edges extend inside the housing, there is a potential for short-circuiting the electronic components, and making the device non-compliant with UL (Underwriters’ Laboratories) or FCC (Federal Communications Commission) standards, something you don’t have to worry about with EXO” says Mike Hus, technology leader for Inclosia Solutions.
The EXO overmolding system molds materials into the product in a two-step process. First, the base enclosure structure is made from injection-molded thermoplastic. Then, the chosen fabric is permanently bonded to the base and the edges are sealed to prevent fraying or peeling. The look and feel of the fabric is maintained without compromising the device functionality, while offering outstanding durability.
Stylish case for the HP iPAQ Pocket PC
The HP1000 Professional PDA Accessory Case from Targus Inc. is the first commercial product made by Inclosia using the EXO overmolding system. Inclosia, Targus and HP jointly developed the case to hold all versions of the iPAQ Pocket PC. The case, which incorporates black synthetic leather, is being sold through several channels, including both Targus and HP’s Web site.
Inclosia Solutions, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, delivers innovative enclosure solutions through full service capabilities beginning with early stage product design through full scale mass production. Established in 2001, Inclosia was created specifically to help OEMs get their products noticed in today’s electronics marketplace.