Industry’s highest levels of liquid protection via P2i Dunkable liquid repellent nanotechnology

18 February 2019

Fig 6. exposed handset PCB protected by P2i Dunkable
Fig 6. exposed handset PCB protected by P2i Dunkable

P2i’s Dunkable provides the industry’s most advanced hydrophobic technology and highest levels of liquid protection for smartphones & consumer electronics – protecting all components, even when water enters the handset or device.

P2i, the liquid-protection experts, has launched Dunkable, its system-level waterproofing solution that enables smartphones to operate normally even when they have been fully submerged for long periods of time – and the outer case has been breached.
Dunkable is the market’s most advanced waterproof coating solution, protecting every component in a smartphone handset to IPX8 level for the life of the device.
It uses a patented multi-chemistry approach, which is customised to the OEM’s manufacturing process and handset design. It is inert, and does not degrade through impact, heat or environmental stress, or when in contact with solvents.

Dunkable & P2i at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019
An interactive demo – to be first shown at MWC 2019 in Barcelona, Spain – will feature operating handsets that exceed IPX8 fully submerged for up to 2 hours, despite holes in casing.

Recent surveys have placed waterproofing and durability among consumer’s most demanded features for smartphones. Yet current methods fail easily, carry high manufacturing costs and place limitations on handset design – making them hard to differentiate to consumers.
A 2016 YouGov poll of US consumers ranked waterproofing as the third most in-demand feature; a 2017 Morning Consult/Statista survey ranked it as the most important feature; and a 2018 Morning Consult/Statista poll stated 88% of phone buyers think durability (listed as waterproofing and shatterproof screens) is vital.
Mechanical seals currently used to protect handsets to IPX7 and 8 levels only act as a barrier to water, allowing short circuiting if water enters the device via a cracked screen or a de-laminated seal. They also take up space that could be used for larger batteries, which will be essential for managing the power demands of 5G modems.
The durability and reliability of handsets are increased by Dunkable’s system-level protection to IPX8. Increasing handset costs and increased environmental awareness among consumers is causing people to keep phones for longer – average handset lifespan is set to rise by 15% in America and 5% in Europe/Asia – and with this rise, the need for more robust, longer lasting waterproofing features is paramount.
Advanced water protection technologies also reduce the cost of refurbishing, allowing more OEMs to access the refurbished phone market (set to grow from $19bn in 2017 to $52bn by 2022 – IDC).
Ady Moores, CEO, P2i said: “Dunkable is a world-first and represents a step change in the level of waterproofing available to handset manufacturers. The launch means that for the first time OEMs have access to the most advanced water protection capabilities that can be rolled out on virtually all form factors – not just the usual square designs.
“Its launch marks the next generation of ‘Protected by P2i’ products, where we will have the ability to treat over half a billion smartphones in 2019 alone.”
Dunkable enables handset manufactures to create a competitive edge through bold, flexible designs that are thinner, foldable or have smaller bezels – without compromising the water protection.
P2i’s technologies are trusted to protect a wider range of products – from smartphones (utilised by the world’s leading phone manufacturers, including Huawei, Lenovo, Motorola, Sony and Xiaomi) to filtration systems – with over 160 patents granted or pending.
P2i is initially targeting Dunkable at smartphones, but the technology is also applicable to tablets, wearables and consumer devices, as well as industrial systems. The first devices protected by the Dunkable solution are set to enter the market in 2019.

On display at MWC 2019 – Congress Square CS126:
•    World’s first demonstration at MWC 2019: P2i Stand @ Congress Square CS126.
•    P2i will show Dunkable-treated handsets submerged in a tank of water, with their electronics exposed and the devices switched on.
•    Visitors to the stand will be able to interact with the submerged devices – live tweeting, with their messages appearing on screen.

Fig 1. treated (right) and untreated (left) phones are put into water
Fig 1. treated (right) and untreated (left) phones are put into water

Performance specifications:
P2i’s Dunkable liquid repellent nanotechnology system delivers IPX8 protection to the handset, the PCB and other critical components. It will not degrade over the life cycle of the device. It cannot be removed by organic solvents or soap.
The technology has been developed to easily work within existing manufacturing processes. And reapplication can be easily performed if repairs or component replacements are carried out to a handset.
Devices treated with P2i’s Dunkable passed both the IEC IPX8, with no corrosion observed after 0 and 24 hours, and salt-fog tests (2 hrs 5% salt spray, 22 hrs @ 50oC, 95% relative humidity).
In accelerated lifetime-simulation tests, the effect was retained in:
•    P2i’s rock-tumble tests, which simulate real-world use for the life of the device;
•    in extremes of temperature and humidity (-10oC to +65oC, 93% relative humidity for 72 hours);
•    thermal shock tests (MIL-STD-810F, -40 to +85°C); and
•    drop tests (falling 1.5m under MIL-STD-810G standards).
And in device performance tests, there was no effect on RF, audio or optical integrity.

Supporting statistics:
1. A 2016 YouGov survey of 863 US consumers placed waterproofing as the third most important feature when selecting a handset.

Fig 2. both phones still work after 10 minutes submerged
Fig 2. both phones still work after 10 minutes submerged

This appears to increase with higher-end smartphones, with a 2017 Morning Consult/Statista survey of 2,202 consumers placing waterproofing as the most desirable feature among those considering the Samsung S8.
In the YouGov poll, the top 3 features were all linked to durability and this is backed by a 2018 Morning Consult/Statista poll that stated 88% want a phone that’s durable.

2. A 2015 survey of 6019 people by Motorola estimated that 21% of smartphone owners had at least one smartphone with a cracked screen, and 43% of those wouldn’t repair it, and for 23% even when the crack is bad enough to cut them. 

Fig 3. phones have sim card holders removed to let in water (bottom right), and are returned to the water (see bubbles rising as water enters)
Fig 3. phones have sim card holders removed to let in water (bottom right), and are returned to the water (see bubbles rising as water enters)

3. Motorola Care cites the average time from a phone’s purchase to breaking is claimed to be just 10 weeks. It additionally states 28% of consumers will drop their phone into liquid, such as the bath, toilet or rivers. 

4. And feedback from repair centres to P2i suggests c.15% of IPX8 devices fail air-pressure tests within 2 weeks of activation. 

Fig 4. untreated phone (left) dies within seconds
Fig 4. untreated phone (left) dies within seconds

5. The risk of damage increases with time - and life expectancy of handsets is forecast to rise with the introduction of 5G and the resulting inflated costs. In North America, the average handset life expectancy will increase by 15.6% (from 22.5 months in 2017 to 26 in 2022). It will rise 5.1% in Europe (29.4 to 30.9), and 5.0% in Asia Pacific (30 to 31.6) – Source: Canalys

Fig 5. treated phone still working normally after 10 minutes with electronics exposed to water
Fig 5. treated phone still working normally after 10 minutes with electronics exposed to water

Note for images and video:
Neither manufacturer has participated in this video and both handsets were chosen because they are among the leading models in the waterproof handset market. The lefthand Sony phone is a standard, untreated phone. The righthand Huawei phone has been custom treated by P2i with its new Dunkable technology, which protects both inside and out to IPX8 levels – for all components in the handset. Neither handset is available off the shelf with Dunkable and the treatment is done expressly for this demonstration.

Both Sony and Huawei are customers of P2i, using other nano coating products in P2i’s portfolio (Barrier / Splash-proof) – but neither has played a role in the creation of or endorsed this video.

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