According to Appleinsider, this week the U.S. Patent Office published information on an application submitted by Apple entitled “Nitriding Stainless Steel for Consumer Electronic Products.” It’s a cost effective process for placing a nitride coating on top of stainless steel to create more scratch resistant products for consumers.
According to Apple’s application, “In addition to providing a durable, hard surface that is both scratch and impact resistant, the nitride layer allows for the natural surface color and texture of the underlying stainless steel to remain visible to the user”. The application reads: “It is this natural surface color and texture of the stainless steel that adds to the aesthetically pleasing appearance of the consumer electronic product, thereby enhancing the user’s overall experience.”
This new process would allow the color and texture of the stainless steel to show through, while allowing a housing for consumer electronics that is extremely resistant to scratches and blemishes, meaning products made with this new coating would maintain their beauty and luster for a considerably longer period of time.
The application notes that austenitic stainless steel, while scratch-prone, is a desirable material for consumer electronics because it is non-magnetic and less likely to inhibit wireless technology like a cell phone signal, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. Apple wishes to maintain the look and feel of stainless steel, but to also provide more protection for the external material.
Apple’s application describes several techniques for applying the nitride coating to stainless steel where the nitride would only be 15 microns thick and carry a Vicker’s hardness value of 1,000. This application from Apple made public this week was actually credited to Douglas Weber and was originally filed on April 6, 2010.
Apple has on numerous occasions shown interest in making its devices more durable and protected from daily wear-and-tear. This August, the company entered into an exclusive agreement with Liquidmetal Technologies, creator of an amorphous metal alloy with unique atomic structures, allowing for products that are stronger, lighter, and resistant to wear and corrosion.
Once thing that can be said for Apple, they are always looking for new and better ways to make their products more resistant to wear and tear, too bad more company’s don’t follow Apple’s example for quality and craftsmanship.
What do you think? Does this sound like Apple caring more about their products than other companies?