The article notes that the technology itself has been around for decades, but KULR’s proprietary manufacturing process could enable wider adoption of the carbon velvet technology at a more competitive price point.

Putting the Process First

As with KULR, many fabricators are focused on fine-tuning the behind-the-scenes production processes. It may not be as exciting as the end result, but production is an area where composites companies can redefine the scale of how their materials are used in the future.

After all, the consumer electronics market does scale in a way that few industries can rival. For example, a 2013 Wall Street Journal article reported that 500,000 iPhone 5Ss were being built per day. Compare that to the automotive industry; Toyota puts its daily production at around 13,000 cars. As a result, it’s critical that materials destined for consumer electronics be suited to large-scale production.

It’s one reason that Bond-Laminates partnered with LEONHARD KURZ Stiftung & Co. KG to develop a new material combination and mold technology to produce thin housing parts in a single processing step.

The housing is made by injection molding the company’s semi-finished thermoplastic composite, Tepex® dynalite. The material combines high strength and stiffness, which allows for the thinness and light weight that consumers expect in their electronics. This strength also reduces the need to compromise on the mechanical performance of the decorated components, the company reports.

The product is decorated using an in-mold decoration process. The component is coated during the injection molding process, using a dry coating technology developed by KURZ that eliminates the need for a separate coating process step. By reducing steps, the new process also eliminates the need to store, transport, clean or pre-treat injection-molded parts prior to coating.