How P2i have helped make the Dream of Foldable Smartphones a Reality

How P2i have helped make the Dream of Foldable Smartphones a Reality

Manufacturers are driven by consumer demand. A recent survey revealed two of the top four drivers of smartphone purchases in India were ‘battery life’ and ‘display quality’. Given this, a best practice approach for designers might be to make a bigger device. Such a device would allow for a larger, longer-lasting battery and a bigger, better display. But consumers don’t want their devices to be too big. They want them to fit in their pockets.

Designers tried the phablet, which was popular during the early 2010s but it didn’t supplant the smartphone, the top-selling version of which during 2020 was the iPhone 11 with a 6.06 inches display. Consumers may like the idea of a bigger display, they don’t want unwieldy devices. That’s why the concept of foldable smartphones has gained traction.

The biggest-selling factors for consumers of foldable phones, according to a recent survey of US respondents are that they are compact and easy to carry with a bigger display. Achieving this can be a challenge for designers but when they get it right, phones can be a hit with consumers. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip sold out in 20 Countries, for instance.

Uptake is not without obstacles, however. Consumer concern around durability continues. Designers have to overcome this concern. That‘s not easy. The first foldable devices were plagued with issues but manufacturers have invested in developing the technology and subsequent releases have proved their robustness. Early adopters may be more forgiving of missing “standard features”, but for more mass-market appeal, designers will have to come up with new ways of delivering the same quality, including liquid protection. People expect this capability today. If you were to buy any of the leading flagship phone products, they would all have a level of liquid protection.

As a designer, you may have achieved a bigger screen and battery but you still have to design in your ‘standard’ features, including liquid protection. The difficulty of traditional mechanical seal solutions for liquid protection is they are not designed to be flexed or bent in any way. That’s why they are used to seal rigid devices rather than devices with folding screens. If used on the latter, mechanical seals become quickly damaged and cease to protect the device from liquid entering and harming the internal electronics.

Nano-coatings, in contrast, allow for this movement and are not compromised over time. By protecting the internal components, they ensure water can repeatedly enter the device without the risk of liquid damage. Our latest nano-coatings even deliver IPx8 protection as found on many flagship smartphones. They support design freedom and effectively enable flexibility. Other markets with moving parts, such as drones, are watching developments and are adopting liquid protection, as it is proven it can work effectively within these kinds of devices.

In creating electronic devices, manufacturers must have design freedom and that becomes more important the more the design differs from a standard format and the more movable parts it has. Manufacturers should never be constrained by components and technology being added to their product. That’s core to the ethos of electronic product design and should be a priority for any electronic products manufacturer, choosing what solutions to add to their devices.

If you would like to learn more about our liquid repellent nano-coatings, and the design freedom benefits these can offer your organisation contact us.

Manufacturers across industries are fully aware of the importance of total cost of ownership (TCO), equating to the combination of the bill of materials (BOM) and manufacturing costs, and understandably forms a key element of their pricing strategy. Of course, reducing TCO via higher manufacturing yields is a primary objective, as manufacturers are all too conscious of the detrimental financial consequences that can come with low yields.

It is however the case that not only do low yields have fiscal implications, but they are also afflicted by excess environmental costs. The need to buy more components creates an impact on sustainability due to the carbon footprint needed to ship items from one place to another. Higher yields therefore create both financial and environmental benefits. With sustainability a key aim for manufacturers, a focus on reducing scrap in the manufacturing process will help reduce e-waste while also assisting in bringing down both production costs and total cost of ownership.

It’s increasingly clear that sustainability and profitability go hand-in-hand for manufacturers, but achieving this equilibrium will also hinge on upcoming legislation. New rules being implemented in summer 2021, no doubt a key date pencilled in the diary for manufacturers, will make it a legal obligation for spare parts for products to be made available to consumers for a period of ten years.  As a result, manufacturers are undoubtedly looking towards longer warranty periods to protect brand image and avoid the issue of consumers attempting to fix products themselves. This will lead to additional manufacturing costs associated with more spare parts needed in that warranty period, leading to an ultimate rise in TCO.

Utilising liquid protection solutions

Producing products with a longer lifespan will help reduce the need for repairs and spare part demand, assisting in the reduction of both TCO and a manufacturer’s environmental footprint. Key to ensuring that robustness in production is the utilisation of longer-lasting protection. It is here where liquid protection plays a key role. According to a recent P2i survey, 83% of R&D professionals polled said that the product with the largest production volume designed within the last two years would have failed within the first year without such protection. Manufacturers know all too well the issues that would arise should this happen to an electronics product with a warranty extended over a much longer five-year period.

Damage from liquid ingress is also very expensive to remedy. Extensive damage can cause vital components within a device to suffer from corrosion, making them unusable and ultimately unrepairable, adding to landfill and damaging the environment.

Prioritising both profitability and sustainability

P2i’s liquid protection solutions make it possible for manufacturers to prioritise both profitability and sustainability, and picking the right method allows reduction of scrappage in the manufacturing process. This also helps manufacturers in their own reworkability processes to improve efficiencies, plus helping to lower their carbon footprint and prolong the life of their products, all while helping to keep repair costs low and enable waste regulations to be met. Our liquid protection technology mitigates the dilemma for manufacturers of having to choose between sustainability and ROI, ultimately ensuring that a positive brand image with customers can be maintained.

If you would like to learn more about our liquid repellent nano-coatings, and the sustainability and ROI benefits these can offer your organisation contact us.

Work devices were hastily loaded into cars last year as employees were told to work from home, with many yet to return to the office since. With devices brought into bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens, the potential for accidental splashes and spills increased, particularly as teas, coffees and other beverages were placed on makeshift desks.

One home insurer reported a 35 per cent increase in claims in September 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, with spillage proving to be the cause of 22 per cent of accidental damage claims in January 2021. To gain a clearer picture how this trend will develop as Covid-19 restrictions ease, it’s vital to look at shifting attitudes towards remote working post-pandemic.


Why remote working is set to stay

During a year of uncertainty, one aspect that we can be sure of is that remote working is set to stay in at least some form for the majority of businesses. Research has found that around three in ten businesses expect that more than 70% of their employees will be working remotely in the next two to three years, which is a rise from just one in ten before the pandemic hit.

But with this development comes the increased risk of spillages, particularly in the case of shared desks that may be unstable or not fit for purpose in comparison to office furniture. Accidental spillages are already well-recognised by the industry, with a P2i survey revealing that 49% of respondents see it as a key risk factor, but what actions can manufacturers take to protect devices?


The technology behind Splash-proof

P2i’s Splash-proof solution is an ultra-thin, hydrophobic and oleophobic nanocoating that is applied to the whole device. This enables it to achieve between IPX1-3 rating, meaning the device is then protected against condensation, dripping and water sprays. The resultant hydrophobic layer reduces liquid ingress by up to 95%, which occurs due to the gaps and holes in the device, combined with the scientific phenomena of capillary action of the spilt liquids.

To further understand how capillary action works, it’s important to understand the adhesive and cohesive tendencies of liquids such as water. Adhesive tendencies refer to the fact that its molecules are attracted to substances unlike themselves, which is why the edges of water curve upwards when it is poured into a glass beaker. Cohesive tendencies refer to the fact that its molecules are attracted to each other. Surface tension is created in liquids when its molecules exhibit stronger attractive forces to the molecules next to and below them due to the absence of other molecules above.

With this in mind, if a glass tube is placed inside a beaker of water, the water would adhere to the glass tube and rise up its surface due to its adhesive tendencies. For a very small tube (e.g diameter less than 0.5 mm when the liquid is water and the tube is glass) the combination of surface tension and adhesive forces  of the liquid, lead the level of water to rise higher inside the tube than inside the beaker. This is capillary action. The narrower a tube, the greater the capillary action and the higher the liquid rises. This allows liquid to be drawn into a device in the case of spillage and causes greater damage if not protected against.


A single process to achieve protection

Not only does Splash-proof prevent capillary action taking place, but also reduces the chance of corrosion, significantly improving device reliability and resilience in adverse environments. So while work devices continue to be at risk from liquid damage while situated at home, P2i’s Splash-proof technology protects all device components with a single process, making devices resilient from liquid damage. Accidents can happen, but manufacturers can take preventative action in protecting electronic devices to effectively mitigate the risk that liquids can pose.


To speak to one of our team to find out more about our splash proof liquid protection technology, please contact us.

Through the pandemic, people have become more health-conscious. Many are turning to wearable eHealth technology.

Growth in wearables is being driven by miniaturisation that enables manufacturers to embed smaller, smarter sensors into garments to track sleep or medical conditions; and by changes in consumer habits. eHealth technology is also affordable. If they monitor their own health and catch symptoms and illnesses, people can help protect themselves and keep healthcare costs down.

Ranjit Atwal, senior research director at Gartner, said. “The introduction of health measures to self-track COVID-19 symptoms, along with increasing interest from consumers in their personal health and wellness during global lockdowns, presented a significant opportunity for the wearables market. Ear-worn devices and smartwatches are seeing particularly robust growth as consumers rely on these devices for remote work, fitness activities, health tracking and more.”

In line with this, the analyst projects that worldwide spending on smartwatches will increase from an estimated $18.5 billion in 2018 to a projected $25.8 billion in 2021, and it expects sales to reach $31.3 billion by 2022.

Yet, it is not just the volume of wearable eHealth devices that is on the up.   There has also been a widening in the range of health categories to encompass not only fitness, but also heart health, femhealth and mental health.

The various form factors include rigid, flexible, stretchable, thin and large-area. Generally, current wearables are using customised sensors developed to a standard design, but they may need to evolve to fit the many form factors of eHealth devices. For this, miniaturisation will be key. Additionally, silicon photonic integrated chip sets offer the promise to extend the longevity of wearables by prolonging battery life. All these elements are sensitive and require a flexible approach to liquid protection.

Wearable devices are often worn 24 hours a day and taken off only when charging is required. They are frequently worn during exercise, increasing risk of damage from sweat and during swimming, leading to further risk of water damage. Shower steam is another risk factor as are rain or humidity when devices are worn outdoors.

Designs need to be sufficiently robust to avoid excessive cleaning damage caused by users, a growing issue through the pandemic.

There are three broad options: mechanical sealing, individual component liquid protection, or coatings. Traditional liquid protection methods like mechanicals seals or conformal coatings are often unwieldy or unreliable and prone to cracking, delaminating and degrading. Mechanical seals are rigid and inflexible when protecting miniaturised components

In contrast, the latest nano coatings are flexible, reliable and ideal for providing effective water protection to wearable devices. These coatings offer robust protection plus protection to internal electronics against corrosion or damage from cleaning agents such as IPA.


The importance of repairability

It is also important that eHealth devices and solutions that protect them from liquid damage are repairable. This is particularly key in manufacturing where, especially if a business is producing small, volumes, it will want to be both environmentally and cost-efficient.

As eHealth devices transition into auxiliary medical tools, the need for repairability will become more urgent. Nano coatings can continue delivering liquid protection and do not degrade over time, so will last the whole product lifetime.

That’s key. Nano coatings are not compromised by other types of damage. So, even if a product does need to be repaired, the coating will remain effective. They are a solution therefore that can help protect eHealth devices through their normal lifetime and extend that lifetime further.

For more information on how nano coating improves the protection and lifespan of products, contact one of our liquid protection experts here.

From invention to launch, the manufacture of the modern car is an astonishingly complex technological endeavour. Thousands of intricate parts are involved, with up to 100 high-quality sensors deployed throughout the vehicle to meet evolving security, efficiency and environmental standards. Some of the most important are built into the engine to ensure that the owner can identify and prevent possible issues before they result in breakdowns and expensive repairs.

Engine sensors measure voltage, fuel temperature, oxygen levels and much more, ensuring that the vehicle is operating at peak efficiency. By 2030, half the cost of a car will be accounted for by its electronics, of which sensors with semiconductors will be a major part, says Deloitte. Consequently, these sensors will need to be protected to prevent increased breakdown.

Looking further down the road, once autonomous vehicles have become part of our everyday reality, sensor technology will be as utterly essential as the electricity in their batteries. AVs will require a multiplicity of sensors as part of a new approach to operation, maintenance and sustainability. Without camera, radar and lidar sensors, these vehicles are unable to function. Whatever the vehicle or its drive train, the problem remains that with many sensors necessarily exposed to the elements, something is bound to break, leak or need upgrading.

The failure of sensors brings multiple risks. The first is that it will result in damage to the car that will lead to the need for expensive repairs – and recent industry estimates indicate that some car parts can cost well over £1,000 to repair or replace. The second is that it will render the car unusable even if there is nothing mechanically wrong with the rest of the vehicle. Either eventuality is likely to cause brand damage. Failing sensors can also inflict significant environmental damage by causing an increase in emissions, alongside performance and drivability problems.

The level of impact sensor-failure has on brand image becomes even clearer when the likely impact on the motorist is considered. When an individual is alerted to a fault with their car by a sensor, they have two options: get it looked at or not. If the fault allows them to continue to drive and it is not convenient for them to go get the car checked out, they will keep using it without knowing what damage they are doing. Faulty sensors also raise stress levels. Consumers will either think repairs are going to be very expensive or worry about being stranded if their car breaks down on the road.

Promoting reliability and sustainability

Protection at sensor level is the best solution to the high cost of car repairs. Nano coatings are ideal as opposed to mechanical sealing or conformal coatings, which can degrade when exposed to heat or vibrations. Lasting protection can be provided using the latest nano coating technology that chemically bonds the coating onto the printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) to give outstanding thermal durability. This solution trumps mechanical seals, which add extra weight and require more space as well as lower the vehicle’s energy efficiency and prevent automotive innovation.

Practical solutions like liquid proof coatings can enable manufacturers to make sensors repairable so they no longer require replacement. This will increase vehicle reliability and ensure vehicles are sustainable and environmentally friendly – vital factors in the considerations of car-buyers.

For more information on how nano coating improves the protection and lifespan of products including sensor technology, contact one of our liquid protection experts today here.

With Christmas almost upon us, manufacturers’ attention once again falls on the annual top Dream Toys list released by the Toy Retailers Association. 2020’s selection makes especially fascinating reading as the list highlights the toys that parents have relied on to entertain and educate their children for the extended amount of playtime they’ve had this year.

It is interesting to note that almost half (47%) of the most popular stars in the ‘long list’ for 2020 require either batteries or charging via USB in order to operate. These electronic toys include hi-tech Super Mario™ Lego® figures that give instant expressive responses via LCD screens and speakers, as well as a new generation of radio-controlled combat vehicles that do battle with built-in infrared cannons. Also on the list are some returning iconic names, with Peppa Pig and Barbie among them.

Lamentably, a large volume of these electronic toys will inevitably end up in landfill sites, just as they do each year. But with manufacturers now increasingly being required to reduce the waste they produce there is a real need to ensure all such toys are constructed from the outset to be long-lasting and repairable.

No matter how popular they are, the threats to the lifespan of electronic toys remain the same; they include the type of spillages, splashes and misuse around water which commonly occur around children. And this year – with parents paying closer attention to hygiene around their little ones’ playthings – toys will have to withstand more regular and vigorous antibacterial cleaning than in the past. Then there is the issue of corrosion damage from humidity, which can also lead to faulty electronics.

However, manufacturers can help to reduce this problem by ensuring electronic toys are manufactured with the best liquid protection so that they don’t become damaged and consequently discarded after a much shorter lifespan than they ought to have. By using functional nano coatings, it is possible to provide protection for the types of splashes, spills and even accidental submersion that children are likely to subject their toys. Nano coating offers a lifetime of protection enabling electronic toys to easily be rehomed to another family after a much longer period of use, as opposed to yet again ending up as landfill.

For more information on how nano coating improves the protection and lifespan of products including electronic toys, contact one of our liquid protection experts today.

Electronics manufacturers and consumers are increasingly focused on extending product lifespan. In March 2020, the European Commission announced plans to extend the eco-design directive, billed as the ‘right to repair’, to phones and tablets in a bid to increase the repairability of electrical devices. This is likely to be one of a wave of legislative activities designed to extend consumer product lifetimes.

The drive towards ‘right to repair’ is also driven by environmentally-aware consumer trends. Consumers are looking to purchase products with a longer lifespan and repair them when needed, rather than discarding the device. All this has the potential to lead to further legislation, but also to change manufacturers’ mindsets around repairability. For existing products, manufacturers may look to modify designs to make them compliant. For new products we could see designs chosen for manufacture based on how easy they are to repair by a consumer.

Manufacturers are also more conscious of safety. Consumers are not skilled electricians and may not have the tools to conduct repairs. There are concerns about what happens when repairs go wrong and potential for new legislation. Some manufacturers are considering introducing longer warranty periods to control repairs for longer and provide longer-lasting products.

Recent design trends have often made electronics difficult to open without compromising the device’s liquid protection mechanisms or structural integrity. This is due to rigid gaskets and seals, thick conformal coatings or glues. Once compromised, these sealed parts and/or products are irreparable. If a product is dropped or broken, the seals often become obsolete. Even where repairs are possible, they are unlikely to be cost-effective.

All this is likely to lead to changes in the ways electronics products are designed. We may see welds or glued joints replaced with latches or gaskets. We may see additional safety mechanisms added to products to protect consumers when carrying out repairs. Manufacturers will also be increasingly focused on extending the ‘time-to-fail’ and ‘time-to-service’ a product. The more likely a component is to be repaired, the greater the chance of damage to surrounding components, leading to a perpetual risk of device failure.

Fortunately, there is an alternative. Nano coatings can continue delivering liquid protection and do not degrade. Typically, they are not compromised by other types of damage so that even if a product does need to be reworked or repaired, the coating will remain effective. The ability to repair components and whole devices saves costs, reduces the need for landfill and enables regulations around waste to be more easily met. Over the coming years, the drive to repairability is likely to continue as new legislation comes on stream but there will also be more focus on safety.

Manufacturers will want devices to last over 10 years to avoid the need for repair. They may also need to take design into account. They will certainly need to add safety mechanisms to ensure compliance but also to protect devices during repair. Those mechanisms will also need protecting from moisture or dust damage and that will also impact design.

Manufacturers will want the flexibility to choose the safety mechanism most suited to their device and have that safety mechanism last ten years; be repairable; and be protected from dust and liquid. Again, nano coating offers benefits in protecting the device and safety mechanisms from the damage that makes repairs more likely, but also in making those repairs viable. Nano coating eliminates the need for bulky mechanical seals, helping, manufacturers stay competitive in a market that calls for increasing sustainability.

To find out more about how our technologies support repairability, ensuring electronics keep working in any environment, please contact us.

Smart cities are fast taking shape, driven by advanced, high-capacity mobile connectivity and networks of thousands of sensors. This will be a huge market. According to a recent report from MarketsandMarkets, The Internet of Things (IoT) in smart cities market is projected to grow from US$ 79.5 billion in 2018 to US$ 219.6 billion by 2023. It is a sector fuelled by innovative applications.

Yet as McKinsey said in its 2018 report: “’Smartness’ is not just about installing digital interfaces in traditional infrastructure or streamlining city operations. It is also about using technology and data purposefully to make better decisions and deliver a better quality of life.”

Aesthetics are critical, as is the ability to match products to their location. How things look is important in infrastructure and street furniture design. This includes everything reliant on sensor-technology, from dynamic, sensor-guided traffic and streetlights, to public transport monitors and displays, telecoms cabinets, fire and flood-detection.

Most cities have had multiple designers. One district or suburb does not want to look like every other, because each has its own character, of which its inhabitants are often protective.

Yet, with tens if not hundreds of designs of the same product necessary, the need for individual designs could quickly increase manufacturing costs. The solution is for electrical components that include sensors to be designed so they can be mass-produced and reused across multiple designs, while also reducing their housing costs. Miniaturisation is playing an important role here in helping save space, reduce costs and allow greater design flexibility.

The necessity to protect sensors from the elements, however, could be a limiting factor for manufacturers seeking production diversity. Sensors need protection from water ingress, otherwise the smart city will malfunction whenever there is heavy rain, burst pipes or flooding.

But in reducing sensor-housing costs, greater care must be taken to provide water-protection directly to the components as opposed to relying on the housing to act as a barrier. Mechanical solutions can be used to help the housing provide water-protection, but these will increase production costs.

Conventional methods of water-protection such as conformal coatings will not allow for miniaturisation necessary within sensor housing. The more densely packed the printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs), the less space for physical seals. More PCBAs mean more connectors for communication. As these cannot be protected by traditional conformal coatings, they are often very vulnerable, or need mechanical seals built into the connectors themselves.

Nano-coatings by contrast, provide protection directly to the electronic components, making them more durable. These coatings are ultra-thin; can protect every part of the PCBA, and do not crack and delaminate with age as conformal coatings do.

Without nano-coatings, there is a danger that the importance of water protection will lead manufacturers to produce, highly-standardised, designs. The mission to make the street scenes of smart cities attractive and distinctive will fail. By contrast, manufacturers adopting advanced water protection technology such as nano-coatings will have the ability to produce more individualised street infrastructure designs that meet the aspirations of their customers – the public authorities and infrastructure companies.

We can already see that the Internet of Things and miniaturisation are making the smart city dream a reality. Yet for that dream to be realised, suppliers that support and simplify the implementation of design freedom are essential. It is key, therefore, that manufacturers are not hindered by outdated weather protection technology. Moving forwards, this will be essential if the vision of the smart city is to become a reality.

The worldwide demand for smart home devices is one of the few growth trends to be positively affected by COVID-19. Despite the pandemic’s economic impact, global shipments of smart home voice control devices are forecast to increase by 30% in 2020, according to ABI research. Worldwide shipments were forecast to be more than 1.39 billion in 2023 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.4%.

Previously unheralded benefits of smart home technology have risen to the forefront in this environment due to consumers’ rising concerns over health and safety. Devices such as smart locks and video doorbells enable users to ensure deliveries are securely received with no face-to-face interaction required. Other commonly touched areas including light switches and television controllers can be avoided using voice control.

This increased usage comes with its own challenges as home smart devices are often and increasingly being used outdoors or in bathrooms and kitchens, and can be susceptible to water damage and corrosion which can reduce their operational life. There are many ways in which electrical devices can be damaged by water and moisture in the home environment – for example, drink spillages can damage television remotes and humidity and steam from kitchens or bathrooms can affect smart thermostats. Curtain rails or smart blinds can be vulnerable to rain splashing through an open window or even condensation.

The smart devices that are finding a space in more and more of our homes are at risk from water damage, ranging from bathroom humidity to weather-related corrosion. For manufacturers to avoid the potential impact on their brand reputation and likely loss of future revenue incurred, as well as the financial cost of replacing a damaged device, utilizing some form of water protection is therefore going to be essential as a key building block of the smart home of today and of the future.

But the pandemic has also highlighted an increased need for protection against another type of liquid damage: The damage caused by consumers using cleaning products to disinfect their smart home devices. Google trends usually show a peak every year in people ‘googling’ how to clean their consumer devices in the week after Christmas, with the expectation being that now they have received a new electronic device as a gift, they want to clean their old one in order to sell it on. This year though, we have seen just such a spike in searches during the pandemic itself. Manufacturers are even issuing guides on how to clean these devices safely without damaging them. Most such guides highlight the obvious points around don’t get your device wet, avoid moisture; don’t spray chemicals, don’t use wet wipes, etc.

As a result, manufacturers are becoming more interested in devices that protect against both environmental damage from rain, humidity and moisture, as well as cleaning agents such as Isopropyl alcohol (IPA).

Traditional water protection methods are often unwieldy or unreliable. They come with many kinds of problems, such as inhibiting electrical conductivity, being prone to cracking, delaminating and degrading. In contrast, the latest nano coatings are far more flexible and reliable and are ideal for providing effective water protection to smart home devices. Different levels of protection can be covered, all the way from splashes and spills to full immersion. Here, the latest nano coatings offer robust protection to internal electronics against corrosion or damage from cleaning agents such as IPA.

Smart technology providers are able to support the creation of the ‘smart home vision’ by using these solutions to minimise the need for costly repairs and lessen their maintenance call-out requirements. By greatly improving the lifetime of the sensors used in a wide spectrum of smart technology applications, they can effectively increase the longevity of many smart home devices.

Solutions will need to offer protection against a wide variety of water-related risks in order protect against damage to electronic devices. By being able to protect any form, any shape, any design of electronic device the top solutions will add extra flexibility and also a wide range of materials used, well beyond a basic plastic box. In doing so they will support the vision of the future smart home not only from a functional perspective, but an aesthetic one too.

To find out more information on how we can help you meet your smart home device manufacturing waterproofing requirements please contact us.

As public places including non-essential shops begin to re-open globally, a technological revolution has quietly taken over the traditional marketplace. Enabled by rapid advances in wireless data and spurred on by a move away from cash payments by consumers, Point of Sale (POS) technology has emerged as a major global industry. With this sector forecasted to be worth over $125B annually by 2027, we can expect manufacturers in this field to continue to expand and innovate.

The fastest growing segment in this market is expected to be the handsets and terminals used by superstores, restaurants and sole traders alike. These mobile terminals have a host of benefits over older, bulkier form factors, offering users portability, flexibility and the option to process payments anywhere there’s mobile data.

But this flexibility also comes with an increased vulnerability to wear and tear and environmental damage. If these systems are exposed to humid environments or wet conditions, there is a significant risk of failure of the device.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought some of these challenges to the forefront. Not only is there a greater demand for payments to be taken outside, but devices now need to be regularly cleaned and disinfected after handling, increasing the chance of liquid ingress and damage to electronics.

The failure of POS devices from these kinds of liquid damage is expensive. A failed POS terminal can incur costs to the manufacturer/service provider several times over:

  • Since POS systems are often sold as part of a comprehensive service where providers take a small cut of all transactions, they begin losing revenue as soon as a device fails.
  • Providers may sell their devices and services with a guarantee that faulty terminals will be repaired or replaced. As well as the obvious repair or replacement costs, there are also administrative and handling costs for the return of the faulty device.
  • Customers frustrated with unreliable hardware are likely to switch to service providers they feel are more dependable, costing companies revenue and damaging brand reputation.

These pain points for the provider are felt all across the POS customer base, regardless of scale. Customers with large numbers of POS terminals that see a high failure rate in its payment devices will quickly move on to a POS service provider they view as more reliable, costing the original provider a substantial loss in revenue. And although the loss of revenue from the churn of a dissatisfied sole trader will be less impactful for the POS provider, in an era where brand reputations can be destroyed in a single tweet, the reputational damage caused by an unreliable device should not be underestimated.

This is why we are using our P2i technology to protect POS terminals. Our plasma nano-coating technology bonds a microscopically thin polymer layer directly to the entire surface of electronic components, protecting them from liquid and corrosion damage. Unlike other water protection methods, such as crack-prone conformal coatings or mechanical seals and gaskets, nano-coatings don’t add weight or bulk to the POS terminal, provide continual protection to a treated device’s electronic components for the lifetime of the product, and the protection isn’t compromised when the outer body of a POS terminal is knocked or damaged. Moreover, P2i’s solution is also proven to show no deterioration in levels of protection following rigorous testing with isopropanol; also known as isopropyl alcohol (IPA), commonly used as an antiseptic or disinfectant; meaning manufacturers and customers can be confident that they can properly clean their POS terminals without risk of damaging the device.

With COVID-19 transforming retail and accelerating adoption of new technology, P2i is working with manufacturers to ensure their hardware is reliable and ready to meet the challenges of a new era of payment technology.

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