HZO: Waterproofing the Next Generation of Devices

A interview with Yang Yun, HZO’s R&D President, was originally featured in Mobile World Daily, the official publication of GSMA’s Mobile World Congress.


MWD: How does your approach differ and what are the main aspects of your technology that set you apart?

YY: People typically think of ”waterproof” as preventing water ingress from corroding the internal circuitry. Opposite of the status quo, HZO directly protects the victim of corrosion: the PCBA. Our process involves applying a microns thin [protective layer] to the surface of the circuit board, encapsulating and protecting it. With this alternative, even if water or other liquids enter the device, the source of failure, the PCBA, is protected.

MWD: What standards do they meet and how do they offer improved protection compared to rival technologies?

YY: The most common manufacturing standard for liquid protection is the IP (Ingress Protection) Code. This protocol has been a part of assembly procedures for many years and is the most recognised water safeguard standard. The standard itself ranges from minimal water exposure such as drips (IPX1) to manufacturer-rated prolonged submersion protection (IP68). IP67 is the threshold to cross for submersion protection which is defined as a device being submerged at one meter for a half an hour. Most “waterproof” labeled products meet (or should meet) this rating. HZO is able to protect products at IP67 and beyond. For example, a corporation came to HZO who had previously built a mechanically sealed IP67 rated product, wanted to build a more robust device with the need for mechanical seals and port covers. The result was an IP68 rated product that met the manufacturer”s specifications of up to 60 minutes in 2 meters of water – all with HZO Protection and no mechanical seals.

MWD: What’s the worst case scenario this technology can protect against?

YY: While fresh water is the typical culprit of short circuiting and corrosion in [digital] equipment, it is not the only source of damage. Soda, coffee, humidity, pollution, gases, corrosive chemicals, salt water, salt fog, chlorine and even sweat can render a product useless. HZO [protection] technology forms a physical barrier and can protect against any of these damaging liquids.

MWD: How has the handset design and usage changed the level of protection needed?

YY: Products continue to get thinner and people are taking them more places than ever. These thin profiles make water safeguarding complicated as manufacturers are close to hitting the limits of mechanical seals. Any bend, twist or drop of a product can dislodge or break the protective gaskets. This, combined with the phone being exposed to environments and conditions (outdoors, sauna, shower, tub, swimming, humidity) previously un-encountered, can lead to a short lifespan for the [device]. The use of thin but extremely robust security like HZO is the way that equipment will survive in the future.

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