CES 2020: 3 Emerging Tech Trends Changing How We Waterproof
Posted on March 2nd, 2020 by Mallory McGuinness
What Does the Future Hold for Electronics Waterproofing?
Step aside, Barnum and Bailey; the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is now the greatest show on earth. We hate to miss out on a good thing, so we took a trip to the proverbial three-ringed circus of technology this year in order to get a glimpse of what’s to come in the world of electronics in 2020.
Technology is important to us. And it’s alive, living and breathing, changing the way we do things, as well as transforming the tools we use to do those things. Naturally, we at HZO have a stake in keeping up with the electronic Joneses, because we are an electronic waterproofing company. You have a stake in tracking tech movements too if you are a consumer electronics OEM, ODM, or contract manufacturer.
If you are, in fact, a manufacturer, we’re guessing you also have an interest in keeping your products safe from liquid damage like short-circuiting or corrosion. That’s why we wrote this list of three trends changing the game of consumer electronics, and what they mean for waterproofing solutions:
1. Flexible Screens on Phones and Computers are Going to Change How We Think About Water Resistance
Foldable devices took center-stage at CES 2020, so we figured we’d cover this topic first. The originators of the folding screen narrative began by designing foldable smartphones such as the Samsung Fold and the
Huawei one. They opened the door for flexible computers that debuted at CES. Dell and Lenovo were two companies that presented new ideas about the possibilities of flexible screens on electronics:
- Lenovo unveiled what it described as the “first foldable PC;” you can connect to a video meeting on the upright part of the screen while using a spreadsheet on the bottom half.
- Dell introduced us to two foldable computing devices. One of these was called the Concept Duet. With an extra screen, you can host conference calls, check your stock ticker and take notes simultaneously on-the-go.
What Do Flexible Screens Mean for Electronics Waterproofing?
Electronic device design is changing in ways we would have never thought possible just a few years ago. Traditional waterproofing technologies like mechanical seals and cases can only be used on simple (think, square) designs. That’s because foldable devices create new gaps and crevices, or new opportunities for liquid ingress. More complexity means more vulnerability when you build electronic products.
Manufacturers will have to think about new protection solutions for their products if they are using enclosures and gaskets, solutions like conformal coatings.
Vapor deposition technology is ideal for coating processes when you are working with complex product designs. You can read more about chemical vapor deposition if you’re interested.
2. Health and Biometrics – Electrical Connections that Cannot Fail when they Meet Liquid
There was a veritable rainbow of health and biometric devices at CES. Far from a side-show, medical devices are becoming more relevant by the day. Here were some new noteworthy trends that took our breath away:
- DNA Testing Innovations – The ANDE Corporation impressed the crowd with its Rapid DNA identification system. This product allows a user to generate DNA ID in fewer than two hours, no matter where the testing is being done.
- Fitness Tech – Of interest was the Amazfit HomeStudio, presented by electronics companies Huami and Studio. This product is a connected treadmill with an oversized screen and built-in speakers designed to immerse users in workouts. Computer vision technology keeps the user’s eye on form and offers tips on running, but the Amazfit HomeStudio offers additional fitness classes, like yoga.
- Mindtech – Entertech is one company helping users master the art of mindfulness with its device, FlowTime. This bio-sensing meditation headband measures brain waves and heart rate so that users can improve meditation practice by offering insight into stress, relaxation, and attention levels.
What do New Medical Device Developments Mean for Electronics Waterproofing?
If the variety of MedTech electronics at CES showed us anything, it was that medical devices are cropping up in new ways and touching new aspects of our lives.
Whether it’s a well-known medical device like a hearing aid or a new innovation like the Amazfit HomeStudio, the electronic components inside these devices need protection from water, sweat, medicines, cleaning fluids, or in the case of fitness tech, Powerade.
Medical device manufacturers should reconsider using traditional conformal coatings for these devices, which add bulk and weight to products.
3. 5G Connectivity – The New Workhorse of IoT Devices that Will Need Liquid Protection
Of all the attractions at CES, the topic of 5G connections might have stolen the show. We got a glimpse of new gadgets, but were most impressed by the possibilities that 5G offers IoT devices:
- Consumer electronics companies introduced the crowd to phones and devices such as new tablets and laptops with 5G connectivity built-in.
- Tech experts explored the relationship between autonomous vehicles and 5G.
Most importantly, CES drove home the fact that 5G will transform how we look at IoT. 5G’s connectivity speeds are nearly 20 times faster than today’s wireless technology. This heightened speed is important to consumers who use wearables, but 5G connectivity is a monumental opportunity for IoT manufacturers.
From smart homes to outdoor surveillance cameras, to cell phone towers, opportunities abound for IoT with 5G connectivity.
What Does 5G Connectivity Mean for Waterproof Products?
5G connectivity means that we can expect more outdoor IoT products to surround us in our daily lives. Manufacturers of these products should understand that they are now creating devices that need to operate outside every day. These devices will meet formidable environmental challenges.
Traditional coating materials will not suffice if producing outdoor IoT devices that reliably operate is the goal. Parylene is an ideal conformal coating for mission-critical IoT devices, while plasma-based nano coatings can offer exceptional water-resistance at a competitive price-point.
If you’re a manufacturer who is interested in protecting your electronics with Parylene or next-generation plasma-based nano coatings, we urge you to do your homework. It takes a company with bottomless knowledge of material science to get your waterproofing right.
If you’re interested in talking to a company that knows their stuff when it comes to conformal coatings, you can contact us here. Let’s talk!
Mallory is an electronics protection evangelist who writes content for HZO. In her free time she is reading non-fiction, and hanging out with her beta fish, King Awesome.