Alcoa has developed a proprietary surface finishing technology that enables consumer electronics companies to use aerospace-grade aluminum to make thinner, lighter and stronger mobile devices.
Alcoa’s new ProStrength™ Finishing Technology is a process that allows mobile device manufacturers to design clear or color-anodized durable surfaces utilizing high-strength, heat treatable aluminum alloys used in the aerospace and defense industries. Using high strength alloys could reduce the thickness and weight of a device by more than 50 percent.
Device size as well as design look and feel are significant factors for consumers in making purchasing decisions on consumer electronics. Both features were identified as important by more than 50 percent of consumers surveyed by Accenture on the importance of features to purchase decisions. (Source: The 2013 Accenture Consumer Electronics Products and Services Usage Report)
“Consumer electronics makers had been exploring ways to create beautiful anodized finishes on aerospace-grade aluminum alloys because they are among the strongest, yet lightest metals available,” said Ray Kilmer, Executive Vice President and Alcoa Chief Technology Officer. “ProStrength’s anodized finish creates the metallic look and feel that consumers prefer, and the high-strength aluminum allows manufacturers to produce thinner, lighter, and more durable enclosures.”
According to Leighton Cooper, Director of Technology at the Alcoa Technical Center, the Company’s expertise in aluminum finishing and close ties to the consumer electronics industry was critical in reaching this development milestone. “ProStrength™ Finishing Technology brings together the perfect combination of aesthetics and function,” he said. “Being able to use aerospace-grade alloys promotes the growing trend for ever thinner and lighter mobile devices.”
Alcoa developed its ProStrength™ Finishing Technology at the Alcoa Technical Center, the world’s largest light metals R&D facility located outside Pittsburgh. The company has worked with the world's leading consumer electronic (CE) companies and designers to enable the use of aluminum in mobile devices. Aluminum’s penetration in the CE market has grown as OEMs look to its aesthetic qualities, light weight and ability to dissipate heat, all of which enhance the durability, performance and attractiveness of devices for consumers.
Last year, Alcoa announced another consumer electronics breakthrough with its ColorKastTM Die Cast Technology that is used by Samsung. As a result of this innovative technology, Alcoa can produce color anodizable aluminum die cast components with high-end cosmetics. The first use of the ColorKast™ technology appears on Samsung’s new digital camera NX210 and other consumer electronic OEMs are preparing to apply this technology to their products.
Alcoa is the world’s leading producer of primary and fabricated aluminum, as well as the world’s largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina. In addition to inventing the modern-day aluminum industry, Alcoa innovation has been behind major milestones in the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation, consumer electronics and industrial markets over the past 125 years. Among the solutions Alcoa markets are flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, as well as Alcoa® wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment castings, and building systems in addition to its expertise in other light metals such as titanium and nickel-based super alloys. Sustainability is an integral part of Alcoa’s operating practices and the product design and engineering it provides to customers. Alcoa has been a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 11 consecutive years and approximately 75 percent of all of the aluminum ever produced since 1888 is still in active use today. Alcoa employs approximately 61,000 people in 30 countries across the world. For more information, visit www.alcoa.com, follow @Alcoa on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Alcoa and follow Alcoa on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Alcoa.
For more information about ProStrength™ and Alcoa’s capabilities in the consumer electronics market, contact Leighton Cooper, Director of Technology, Alcoa Global Rolled Products at [email protected].