Increasing Product Life Cycles – The Benefits of Plasma Coating

Increasing Product Life Cycles – The Benefits of Plasma Coating

In the ever-evolving landscape of electronic device protection, and the need to meet the right-to-repair requirements, one method stands out as the epitome of technological advancement: Plasma Coating. As a revolutionary approach, plasma coating surpasses traditional methods like physical gaskets, parylene, and liquid-based conformal coatings, offering unparalleled advantages technically, operationally, and commercially.

Technical Advantages:

Uniform and Precise Coverage: Plasma coating ensures a consistent and uniform protective layer on electronic components. The precision of application, achieved through the inherent molecular-based approach, eliminates the risk of uneven coating, providing comprehensive coverage that liquid coatings could never achieve.

Microscopic Protection: With plasma coating, the protective layer reaches microscopic levels, offering superior defence against contaminants, moisture, and corrosive elements. This microscopic protection surpasses the capabilities of traditional methods, enhancing the reliability and longevity of electronic devices.

Enhanced Dielectric Properties: Plasma coating exhibits excellent dielectric properties, ensuring optimal insulation for electronic components. This out-performs the insulation capabilities of physical gaskets and liquid coatings, reducing the risk of electrical failures and improving overall device performance.

Operational Excellence:

Thinness and Lightweight Design: Unlike physical gaskets that add bulk or parylene coatings that can be too thick, plasma coating provides an ultra-thin and lightweight protective layer. This not only preserves the aesthetic design of electronic devices but also contributes to improved portability and ease of integration.

Conformity to Complex Geometries: Plasma coating adapts seamlessly to intricate and complex component geometries. It conquers challenges that physical gaskets and liquid coatings may face in conforming to irregular shapes, ensuring every nook and cranny is effectively shielded and doesn’t suffer from edge effects.

Efficient and Scalable Process: The plasma coating process is efficient and scalable, allowing for high-volume production without compromising quality. This operational efficiency outshines the labour-intensive application of physical gaskets or the time-consuming curing processes associated with liquid coatings. In addition, there is no trapped air during plasma deposition and so coatings remain intact and fully protective throughout temperature and humidity changes experienced during product use.

Commercial Value Proposition:

Cost-Effectiveness: Plasma coating proves to be a cost-effective solution over the long term. In addition to the extended lifespan due to reduced field failure returns, the reduced labour requirements of minimal masking, factory footprint and ability to eliminate scrap due to product re-work and repair; a reduced piece part price is achieved. Making plasma coating a financially sound choice for manufacturers and end-users alike.

Increased Productivity and Reliability: The reliability of plasma coating translates to increased productivity for end-users. Reduced downtime due to electronic failures enhances overall operational efficiency, providing a competitive edge in the market.

Environmental Sustainability: Plasma coating is an environmentally friendly option, with minimal waste and no solvents or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This aligns with the growing demand for sustainable practices in manufacturing.

In conclusion, plasma coating emerges as the unequivocal leader in electronic device protection, outshining physical gaskets, parylene, and liquid-based conformal coatings in terms of technical prowess, operational adaptability, and commercial viability – whilst delivering to the right to repair requirements. Embracing this cutting-edge technology is not just a choice; it’s a strategic imperative for those seeking optimised and future-proofed electronic protection. Elevate your electronic devices with the superior shield of plasma coating and redefine the standards of reliability and longevity by contacting us today to understand how this can work on your products.

1 In 5 electronic products are disposed of annually and only 20% are formally recycled. Driven by the need to facilitate the development of a circular economy and with the view to save costs for consumers, the ’Right-to-Repair’ offers numerous benefits for electronic products. There is a strong desire today for manufacturers to move away from a traditional linear model of ‘take, make, use and dispose’ and adopt a process which minimises or eliminates the disposal element. This will be further enabled by jurisdictions implementing the ‘right-to-repair’, just as the European Commission has announced.

Additionally, this will drive manufacturers to ensure their water-proof products are repairable to increase product lifecycles; they will need to adopt new eco designs to ensure the high levels of quality and reliability are still achieved and delivered to the consumer. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that circular economy activities could contribute as much as US$700 million in annual material cost savings to consumer goods production, along with a 48% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.


Change in mindset.

Ever since electronics have been in existence, methods to prevent them being damaged by corrosion caused by liquid, humidity and condensation have always been at the forefront for product designers. With the connected world, 5G and IoT all gathering pace, more than ever there is a need to reduce the quantity of materials used, deliver lighter and smaller form-factor products whilst maintaining the high levels of protection to the elements.

Methods used historically to protect devices include mechanical seals and gasket o-rings; however, not only can the protection be compromised during shipment, drops, bends and general day-to-day usage, the design and build makes it all but impossible for the consumer to repair and maintain protection.

The lack of recyclability and sustainability, along with the need to improve the life cycles of water-proof electronic devices has led to the formation of the United Electronics Coating Association (UECA). The UECA will develop technical and market solutions to further the environmental and sustainability goals globally for all electronic products. By identifying the relevant regulations covering chemicals, and those covering the circular economy, reusability and recycling of electronic products, the association will guide the membership in the development of the appropriate product solutions.


Moving forward

Fortunately, solutions exist today, proven in mass manufacturing on over a billion devices, where printed circuit board arrays (PCBAs) can be fully protected at the molecular level. This ensures maximum reliability & recyclability whilst enabling reuse to increase the product’s lifecycle.

These coatings are created using plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD). The PCBAs to be treated are loaded into a vacuum chamber, evacuated to low pressure, a liquid is vaporised into the chamber which is then ionised and deposited onto the surface to give an ultra-thin barrier coating.

Furthermore, these ultra-thin plasma barrier coatings can lower the total cost of ownership of device level liquid protection by at least 40%. Click here to find out more.

Protective Coating Companies Form Association to Further Global Sustainability Goals
The newly formed United Electronics Coating Association (UECA) will develop technical and market solutions to further environmental and sustainability goals globally for all electronic products. 

[LONDON] – March 15, 2023 The United Electronics Coating Association (UECA) has officially launched its operations to bring together key protective coating companies to work together to support regulation in favor of environmental goals as well as develop both technical and market solutions to improve electronic product sustainability.

David Greenman, the UECA’s Chairman, stated, “As the world continues exponential growth and reliance upon electronics products, it’s critical that businesses and organizations do their part to ensure this growth is sustainable. The UECA is excited to meet these challenges head-on through an organized effort of resources and talent.”

The UECA has pooled its resources among its members to tackle objectives, including regulations and legislation, marketing and policy, and standards. A paper outlining the association policy objectives can be found at

Founding member companies of the UECA include: ActnanoEuroplasmaHumiSealHZOInventecP2iSpecialty Coating Systems, and VSi Parylene, and is managed by BEAMA in the UK. Membership is currently open to relevant companies and can be applied for at

About the United Electronics Coating Association (UECA)

The United Electronics Coating Association (UECA) was established in 2022 to support, develop and deliver to markets sustainable electronic coating solutions in line with the principles of the Circular Economy, recyclable electronics, and re-usability.

Press Contact – Howard Porter


When the Sustainability Revolution began to gain pace in the early noughties, companies initially, and understandably, looked inwards. The first drive in sustainable credentials was to put your own house in order, with directives around energy usage, packaging and materials, employee behaviours and a raft of initiatives that looked to lessen carbon footprint and increase green awareness on all fronts. So far so good.

It’s not just about you
But the requirement for profitability has always meant that commercially, quality at the best price, was the Mother Lode in terms of developing an increasingly global supply chain. While this brought frontline commercial benefits, and globalization has seen economies burgeon the world over, it has also brought companies the burden of scrutiny across the chain: Sustainability an increasing focus in this regard.

A wide-ranging Impact Policy
P2i has been on its own Environmental journey since its inception in 2004. Like other companies, P2i apply non-financial factors in order to analyze processes and identify material risks and growth opportunities. As a global leader in sustainably protecting products, P2i are dependent on collaborating with a complex supply chain of innovative partners. Our needs are not necessarily driven by price, though of course a factor, but in the need to keep developing P2i products to be ever more efficient and exceptional through time.

Working with the industry
Today P2i are developing a robust range of protection solutions that ensures the lowest total cost of ownership for conformally protecting electronics from corrosion damage, whilst ensuring the highest reliability and circularity. As the leader in ultra-thin plasma conformal coating solutions and having commercialised a generation of halogen-free plasma conformal coatings, P2i work with customers who have profound Supply Chain Sustainability programmes that run in parallel with our own efforts and ensure the best-in-class performance for all stakeholders.

Striking carbon emission reductions
Our advances within the industry are considerable. For example, P2i could save 50K tonnes carbon emissions on mobile phones, which is a sizeable amount of OEM’s suppliers’ carbon emissions avoided. This success is the result of our in-house expertise and capabilities as a sector front-runner and also on the high demands of our suppliers, who work with us to establish best-in-class products.

The cost of living across the world is rising and it looks set to increase further as we head towards a global recession. In 37 of 44 countries studied by the Pew Research Center (making use of data from the OECD), the average annual inflation rate in the first quarter of 2022 was at least twice what it was in the first quarter of 2020. In 16 countries, first-quarter inflation was more than four times the level of two years prior.

As a result of these rampant price rises, more people than ever are looking at ways they can save the pennies and be more cost efficient. When we combine this financial prudence with the greater environmental consciousness we are seeing from consumers today, it is not surprising that behaviours around purchasing and owning electronic devices are changing. People increasingly want a device that is durable and long-lasting: both because it is more cost-effective but also because it is more sustainable.
Manufacturers therefore need to be cogniscent of these trends; look at the components of devices and re-evaluate how they can prevent electronic damage and increase product life-cycle to the benefit of their consumer customers and themselves.

Protecting all the constituent parts – waterproof, sustainable electronics

To do that, of course, they will need to sustainably protect devices and materials and given the ever-present risk of corrosion damage, liquid protection is critical to this.

Traditional conformal coatings are simply not sufficient to reduce repairs, carbon footprint and costly device failure. Liquid-based conformal coats protect only certain components, however, do not protect the full board inside the device. This can mean the end for devices that are susceptible to water ingress such as those with multiple moving parts or are open in design. Components that protect the insides of devices such as O-rings and gaskets fall short of resilience as they can be easily dislodged, allowing liquid to seep in and causing irreversible water damage.

Ultra-thin plasma conformal coatings delivering a robust conformal coating will increase product lifecycles and eliminate scrap on the assembly line when the product is being made because they can form a reworkable protective layer.

Consequently, manufacturers won’t need to landfill waste products because the process instead enables them to rework products and replace components. As a result, with product lifecycles increasing, return rates will fall away. When products do get returned when customers have finished using them, there is the potential to then re-use them by simply re-using or recycling the key components and feeding them back into the supply chain.

There are also commercial benefits for the device manufacturer from all this. They get a great return on investment for the extra cost of the nanocoating versus the cost of the logistics of the returns and repairs on their devices.

Yet, as we look to the future, there is no sign of the current economic crosswinds abating anytime soon. In this environment, it is even more important than ever that the customer is king. The good news is that electronic device manufacturers can put consumers first, while also forwarding their own interests. As always, protecting core components from liquid damage by offering the right kind of protection will be key in making this happen.

See how P2i’s unique technology benefits the electronics sector by reading our dedicated page.

In the current economic climate, it feels that there isn’t a week that goes by without reported shortages. Whether it’s the lack of sunflower oil due to 52% of it being sourced from Ukraine, or the well-publicised scarcity of baby formula products in the United States, businesses are facing new challenges in bringing services and products to consumers.
The electronics sector hasn’t been immune from material shortages, with the lack of semiconductor chips affecting industries from automotive to games consoles. Almost every digital electronic device today is now powered by a semiconductor, which reflects their importance in the market. Concerningly, following a continued shortage since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s now feared that this situation won’t ease until 2023.
While organisations struggle with limited production capabilities and consumers fight to source electrical products, increasing the product lifecycle with sustainable electronics will help keep stock numbers as high as possible and prevent more chips being needed for repair or replacements. But what can manufacturers do to ensure this type of longevity and waterproof electronics?

Increasing device lifespan
The answer is sustainable conformal coatings. Increasing the product lifecycle for as long as possible will not only ensure value is maintained for the current user, but also for any subsequent users. Preventing electronic damage typically revolves around the need to reduce corrosion to internal elements from liquid ingress. Depending on the type of device, there’s likely to be different requirements, whether it’s simply splash resistance to increase the hydrophobic properties or the ability to be submerged.
Thankfully, P2i’s ultra-thin plasma coatings are the way to sustainably protect devices and materials. These coatings keep devices working for longer and means that scrap is eliminated from the assembly line when the product is manufactured due to being reworkable, while return rates reduce as reliability increases.

Reduce, reuse, recycle
While maintaining product lifespan is beneficial in reducing the number of scarce additional semiconductors needed for replacements, it’s also critical in contributing to the circular economy. It’s been calculated that in 2022, there is over 347 metric tonnes of unrecycled e-waste on earth, with only 17.4% of it being collected and properly recycled.
Building sustainability into IoT devices from the design stage is vital to ensure that they don’t add to the concerning number of e-waste electricals sitting on landfill. Increasing product lifespan is also a necessity as consumers aim to be more sustainable in their purchases. According to Deloitte’s Sustainability & Consumer Behaviour 2021 report, over a third (34%) of consumers said that they opt for brands that have environmentally sustainable practices or values.

Accounting for external factors
There’s little doubt that the shortfall of semiconductor chips has sent shockwaves through the electronics sector. With the issue looking set to remain, manufacturers need to adopt sustainable solutions to keep their products out in the market for longer, allowing them to weather the chip shortage storm. Increasing product lifecycles has an additionally positive effect on the circular economy. Organisations now have a responsibility to keep IoT devices operational and away from landfill, thereby benefitting the planet and meeting consumer demand.
See how P2i’s unique technology benefits the electronics sector by reading our dedicated page.

Longer product lifetimes can help reduce smartphones’ environmental impact. First, however, vendors and carriers may need to find more efficient methods of liquid protection. Deloitte Global predicts that smartphones are likely to generate an astonishing 146 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) or equivalent emissions (CO2e) in 2022 alone, placing an urgent need to reshape the sustainability practices of the smartphone industry.

Manufacturers and suppliers must urgently find ways of reducing the carbon footprint generated both by the manufacturing process and across the product lifecycle. They need to be able to extend product life and produce less waste during the manufacturing process whilst also focus on extending the life of devices further by making them more repairable. These aims are critically important in the face of today’s climate emergency. After all, “the single biggest factor that could reduce a smartphone’s carbon footprint is a longer expected lifetime.” But how can manufacturers and suppliers best achieve them and what are the benefits of this?

How liquid protection extends product life

Producing products with a longer lifespan will help reduce the need for repairs and spare parts, and a manufacturer’s environmental footprint. The key to ensuring that level of robustness in production is the utilisation of longer-lasting protection. It is here where liquid protection plays a crucial role.

Of course, manufacturers must largely focus on reducing e-waste, but also on extending the product lifecycle with design-in sustainability. That involves protecting the product from damage, including from liquids, right from the start. The logic is simple – If products are not damaged, they are not thrown away and there’s less need to mine for minerals and increase the environmental footprint. In the electronics manufacturing sector, damaged products represent the fastest growing waste stream, so the urgency in the race to reduce waste is clear. Manufacturers must act now, yet many simply don’t have the right systems in place to prevent liquid damage and reduce e-waste.

Live long and prosper

Making products that live for longer will be the fastest route towards satisfying ESG demands for electronics manufacturers. According to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 report, 75% of emissions linked to a smartphone can be attributed to the manufacturing stage. It might come as a surprise but extending the life of these devices by just 4.5 years can cut emissions in half, making the smartphone lifespan extension the single biggest factor that could reduce its carbon footprint. One way to achieve it is by implementing protective technologies that were designed to prolong the product lifetime at its design stage. With the right level of liquid protection incorporated into the devices, manufacturers can not only contribute to saving the planet, but also save on the costs of ‘tear downs’ and repairs later on.

Coatings that fall short

Traditional coatings are simply not sufficient enough to reduce repairs and carbon footprint. Liquid-based conformal coats protect only certain components, however, do not protect the full board inside the device. This can mean the end for devices that are susceptible to water ingress such as those with multiple moving parts or are open in design. Components that protect the insides of devices such as O-rings and gaskets fall short of resilience as they can be easily dislodged, allowing liquid to seep in and causing irreversible water damage.
There’s also the case of device cleaning which presents further danger. Chemical cleaning products can be particularly harmful if they reach the inside of a device. This has become a more significant problem as a result of the pandemic, which has meant devices are likely to be cleaned more often.
Find out more about the impact of Covid-19 and regular cleaning from our whitepaper.

There is a better way

Adding solid protection to devices is crucial to increase their lifespan and help manufacturers become more sustainable. However, traditional coatings are not the solution as they likely to increase the devices’ bulk and weight, making them less desirable to consumers and therefore negatively affecting the manufacturers’ bottom lines. They can also remove the all-important design freedom of engineers who wish to innovate and pioneer new electronic devices.
Manufacturers have always wanted to have greater freedom to design electronics that look instantly appealing and be comfortable for users to handle and operate. The latest ultra-thin plasma coatings from P2i allow electronics manufacturers to embrace that design freedom and have complete confidence in device protection that supports sustainability initiatives. Even when water can easily enter a device, whether by damage or design, P2i’s ultra-thin plasma coatings can eliminate internal corrosion and prolong the devices lifespan, without compromising on their weight, usability and appeal.
As less than 20% of electronic waste is currently collected and recycled, adopting nano-technology liquid protection solutions will also enable manufacturers to fully rework their devices. Reducing e-waste, costs and the use of chemicals by applying nano-coatings is a great way to deliver the sustainable competitive advantage to consumers and protect the environment.
Discover more about P2i’s sustainable liquid protection solutions for consumer electronics here.

We’re currently at the dawn of a new age of nostalgia in consumer electronics, from the return of vinyl record players to the latest classic gaming flash drives. More brands are following the footsteps of Nintendo and Nokia and resurrecting their old products whilst at the same time selling new and modern ones. But it’s not about making a profit of our fond memories.
People are increasingly attracted by the beauty, elegance and simplicity of classic designs. In fact, one of the biggest trends sees younger generations turning their backs on high-tech smartphones in favour of ‘dumb’ models from the 1990s. The come-back of a humble foldable phone is being driven by a nostalgic craze for 90s retro together with a desire to switch off from the always-on experience of the latest smartphones. This leap forward in the design of consumer electronics means manufacturers and designers are now challenged to offer greater flexibility whilst at the same make products more reliable and durable.
Design freedom is an urgent necessity but how do you achieve it?

The growing popularity of retro look flip-phones, in particular, highlights the need for creative freedom as designers create these latest classic look gadgets. Old-ish designs are often complex to generate as they have multiple moving parts. When opting in for a foldable phone, consumers don’t want to go down the memory lane of frustrating glitches but rather the easiness and simplicity of making and ending calls just by opening and closing the phone. This requires the devices to be high-quality in design. Yet they still need quality protection – not least from the possibility of liquid ingress.

Consumers have come to expect this capability today as they want their devices to last as long as possible. If you were to buy any of the leading flagship phone products, they would all have a level of liquid protection. Frankly, the good old Nokia 3310 is still claiming the top spot of an indestructible phone today, even when dropped on a pavement it would more often than not still be working perfectly fine. Designers must find a way of building this capability into modern devices that are exposed to threats 24/7 without compromising the look feel and flexibility of the device in any way.

Ensuring quality by getting liquid protection right
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. In today’s world of carrying devices around 24/7, there is a greater demand for liquid protection going beyond just splashes and spills, and now requiring protection to harsh environmental threats, post dropping and outer casing damage. 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.

Ultra-thin plasma coatings, in contrast, allow for this movement and are not compromised over time. P2i’s end-to-end water protection solution Barrier Coating requires no seals or gaskets and provides manufacturers with the opportunity to go beyond the traditional device design, including foldable and flexible displays and bezel-less designs. The protection of internal components ensures that water can repeatedly enter the device without the risk of liquid damage, allowing consumers to love their retro devices for longer.

New philosophy for innovative retro design

In creating electronic devices, manufacturers must have design freedom to meet the changing consumer trends and high expectations, as well as immerse themselves in the creativity that the design field is all about. This freedom and flexibility 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’re interested in finding out more about how nanotechnology liquid protection solutions can enable you to embrace and benefit from greater design flexibility, check out P2i’s range of solutions here.

According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020, a record 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of e-waste – discarded products with a battery or plug such as computers and mobile phones – was generated worldwide in 2019, up 9.2 Mt in five years. The report also predicts global e-waste will reach 74.7 Mt by 2030, almost double the 2014 figure, fuelled by higher electric and electronic consumption rates, shorter lifecycles and limited repair options.

There is an urgent need to reduce this figure to protect public health and the environment and to reduce costs.

With consumers continuing to purchase electronic devices at a rapid rate and hardware technology continuing to advance, manufacturers have both a responsibility and an opportunity to revolutionise the supply chain, prevent tech hoarding and reduce e-waste.

Manufacturers do, after all, play an important part in driving the circular economy and have the power to promote the right to repair movement so that it reaches many communities and we can all see the benefits. Here we outline five key ways they can go about doing this.

1. Promote the Right to Repair
One way for manufacturers to reduce e-waste is to actively seek ways to make it easier for consumers to repair their electronics, provide key information in manuals and guides and partner with businesses who will make repairs a seamless experience too.

There is a great potential here, as the popularity of repair cafés testifies. Backed by manufacturers, businesses could partner with local restaurants/cafes/universities and offer their expertise, create awareness days, repair days etc. to support the movement. This will give them a competitive advantage as consumers want the right to repair to be a reality.

2. Anticipate and embrace legislation
Regulatory restrictions are expected to tighten over the years; there’s no way of avoiding them, but anticipating them can help manufacturers adapt their processes and operations sooner, save money and keep a competitive advantage as consumers are increasingly demanding sustainability from all businesses. This is a great chance for electronic design manufacturers to support consumers in making more sustainable decisions.

3. Design for repairability and recyclability

Practical solutions like liquid proof coatings help manufacturers to protect electronics from the dangers of water damage but they can also make devices more repairable from the start than their mechanical seal competitors, helping to eliminate the need for full replacement. The use of ultra thin coatings will increase the reliability of such devices and help ensure they are sustainable and environmentally friendly. In line with this, P2i’s technology not only gives manufacturers design freedom, but also ensures liquid protection remains for the lifetime of the product.

4. Implement recycling programmes

Many manufacturers today are looking to manage their own e-waste and search for elements that can be reused, recycled or responsibly disposed of. Going a step further and implementing company-wide schemes and recycling programs would make it easier and encourage consumers to return their old or broken devices.

5. Support the circular economy

In a circular economy, manufacturers should be continuously focusing on reducing e-waste by reusing resources. Materials can be added to one device before the device is then used and returned – and the material reclaimed. The materials can then be added to a second device and the cycle is repeated. P2i is passionate about making this possible and extending the life of devices through the use of our technology to ensure electronic components are protected from harsh environments.

Seizing the opportunity

The global problem of e-waste is a serious one and it is only getting worse. Electronics manufacturers have the opportunity to address this by supporting the right to repair movement and the circular economy, by implementing recycling programmes and critically too, by ensuring they put repairability at the very heart of their design process.

More information about P2i’s range of ultra thin coating technology and how it can play a part in making devices more repairable and therefore in reducing e-waste can be found here.

Right to repair has become a global movement whose advocates aim to encourage OEMs to make products more repairable, make parts more available for repairs, and provide repair information. Today, it is rapidly gaining in popularity, with Apple recently announcing Self Service Repair and Microsoft helping consumers make DIY repairs on their surface products.

Scoping the challenge

The urgency to change is highlighted by the dynamic growth curve of global electronic waste. Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world, with only 15-20% recycled. 53 million tonnes of e-waste are produced each year, which is the equivalent weight of 350 cruise ships.

Greater repairability and recyclability is key here – and the right to repair movement can help. Legislation will be a key future focus – and, despite the challenges outlined above, it is now starting to happen. For example, last summer, the UK introduced new right to repair laws, which are aligned with the EU’s policy package that includes right to repair mandates. According to the UK government, the legislation will reduce the 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste generated each year.

In the US, the recent executive order signed by President Biden contained a recommendation to the FTC to make it easier and cheaper for consumers to repair items they own by limiting manufacturers’ ability to bar self-repairs or third-party repairs of their products. The FTC voted to adopt this order and to ramp up law enforcement against repair restrictions.

Globally though, there is still a long way to go to move away from a throw-away economy. Some laws have not addressed the information barrier for product owners or the cost issues and they still allow the practice of ‘bundling’ multiple smaller components together with some common spare parts, meaning if the bearings of a washing machine fail, a consumer needs to repair the entire drum (with costs comparable to replacing an entire machine).

If countries such as the UK and US take steps sooner to patch up faulty legislations and extend access to spare parts and key information, then we will be better equipped to tackle the e-waste problem. If manufacturers face severe consequences for non-compliance, it’ll prompt them to change their practices and make repairability easier for everyone.

Right to repair starts at the design stage

We are already seeing signs that the game is changing. Moving forwards, for new products, we could see designs chosen for manufacture based on how easy they are to repair by a consumer.

Recent design trends have often made electronics difficult to open without compromising the device’s liquid protection mechanisms or structural integrity. Nano coatings offer a way forward here in that they can continue delivering liquid protection and do not degrade over time, so last the whole product lifetime. Typically, nano coatings are not compromised by other types of damage. Consequently, if a product needs to be repaired, the coating remains effective.

Over coming years, the drive to repairability will continue but there will also be more focus on safety. Manufacturers will need to add safety mechanisms to ensure compliance and protect devices during repair. Those mechanisms will need protecting from moisture or dust damage and that also impacts design.

Manufacturers will want to have the flexibility to be able 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 too. Again, nano coating technology is key, not only helping protect the device and associated safety mechanism from damage that makes the need for repairs more likely, but also making conducting those repairs viable.

Nano coating technology eliminates the need for bulky mechanical seals – making devices easier to open and repair, and keeping circuit boards accessible and fully re-workable. With this technology, manufacturers can stay competitive in a market increasingly driven by calls for the right to repair.

More information about P2i’s range of nano coating technology and its benefits in terms of device repairability can be found here.

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