In the growing market for consumer electronics, manufacturers are looking for new aesthetic and functional solutions. It’s no longer just about trendy shapes and bright colors: consumers have discovered a preference for velvety-soft products with luxurious matte surfaces.
To meet their needs, Covestro worked with AkzoNobel to develop a new type of waterborne coating system with adjustable haptics and a matte optics effect. It simultaneously meets the high demands for quality and durability in today’s electronic products. Covestro reports that it is also cooperating with other partners along the value chain to quickly apply raw material innovations in end products and support brands’ modernization needs.
“The rollout of the 5G network in particular, will take the industry to a whole new level, but will also lead to higher consumer expectations regarding device performance,” said Miya Ma, Ph.D., industrial marketing and business development manager for 5G applications in Covestro’s Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties segment in the Asia-Pacific region. “That’s why we are working with partners and customers to develop innovative material solutions to bring trendy products to the market faster.”
MINE Technologies’ Smart Mirror lights up when users stroke its edge. It can also connect to WiFi networks and recharge wirelessly. (Photo ©MINE Technologies.)
One current example is the functional Smart Mirror from the Chinese manufacturer MINE Technologies. The mirror cover is coated with AkzoNobel’s waterborne soft-touch coating, which gives the mirror a silky feel and a luxurious matte effect. The coating is highly resistant to abrasion and scratching and is based on the Bayhydrol® and Bayhydur® polyurethane raw materials from Covestro. The water-based coating is characterized by low emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), contributing to a more sustainable manufacturing process.
The pocket-sized mirror also features compelling new electronic functions: the mirror begins to glow when users swipe its edge, and the brightness can be adjusted via swiping. The Smart Mirror can connect to Wi-Fi networks and is capable of recharging wirelessly. The product received an “iF Design Award” and an “International Design Excellence Award (IDEA)” in 2018.
Versatile Material Solutions
With pilot projects like this, Covestro reports that it is positioning itself in the growing consumer electronics devices market. In doing so, the company is supporting customers along the value chains in accordance with principles of CMF design (Color, Material, Finishing). In addition to the variant presented here, silk, velvet, and leather-like product surfaces with various degrees of matte and gloss can also be produced.
The mirror’s back panel and light ring are made of Makrolon® polycarbonate from Covestro, which is characterized by its impact strength, heat resistance, flame retardancy, and transparency. The company also offers post-consumer recycled solutions and polycarbonate material with renewable contents to help consumer electronics customers achieve their sustainability goals.