Casio Computer is using a high-performance plastic from BASF to reduce the size of the terminal head in its G-Shock GBD-H1000 smartwatch.
The Ultramid Advanced N flame retardant polyphthalamide (PPA) is used to manufacture the terminal header which sits on the terminal block and contributes to power charging and data synchronization. The low moisture uptake and high heat deflection temperature mean the material is especially suitable for Surface Mount Technology (SMT) processes in electronics manufacturing as it prevents blistering or changes in dimensions of the processed part. With its intrinsic good laser transparency, Ultramid Advanced N also offers more freedom for post-processing.
BASF worked with Casio and Taiwanese connector company Aces Electronics on the design of the part, which is about 1.2cm wide with a wall thickness of 0.2 mm and weighs less than 0.1 gram. The terminal block and header are fixed to the motherboard by SMT, which is often applied in electronics manufacturing such as watch assembly today. So a stronger material than usual was required to meet the heat distortion temperature of up to 260°C during the production process using SMT. In extensive tests the BASF PPA proved its superior accuracy and quality during different production processes when compared to other materials currently available on the market.
The newly launched GBD-H1000 sports watch serves as a fitness tracker with five different sensors.
“Wearable devices open up new possibilities for consumer electronics companies like Casio. Their users place high demands on them regarding functional integration, usability and design which all result in new challenges for the materials employed,” said Minli Zhao, Vice President, Consumer Industry, BASF Performance Materials Asia Pacific. “BASF has been developing its new generation of innovative, state-of-the-art PPAs under the trade name Ultramid® Advanced so that our customers can stay ahead of the game and users enjoy the latest digital innovations in everyday life.”