What are the key points to keep in mind when developing waterproof products?

Hello, everyone. I’m Shiromoto for structural engineering section.

Nowadays, you may see the words “Waterproof specs IPX5, 6 and 7” on products in all fields. Water proof has become a staple feature of smartphones, and with this impetus, water proof is now becoming a requirement for all consumer products. In the last issue, we introduced the introduction of waterproof equipment, but the majority of our developments are products that include waterproofing elements, and we are happy to say that we have been receiving more and more inquiries from new clients.

In this article, I would like to introduce some of the most frequently asked questions from our customers in the development of waterproof products and how to deal with them.

Question #1 :
What are the structural differences between waterproof and non-waterproof products?

Answer  #1 :
Waterproof products require waterproof parts such as a gasket between cases as a structure to ensure waterproof (Figure 1).


Fig. 1. Example of a waterproof structure

Point #1 :
The size of the waterproofing parts creates design constraints.
These constraints often force changes in design-oriented consumer products from the initial design.
Before considering the design, it is recommended to consider the waterproof structure that matches the product specifications.

Question #2 :
I want to have a certain level of water proof, but I’m more concerned about design and production costs.
If this is the case, what protection level is feasible for the product?

Answer  #2 :
Even with the same protection class, it may vary depending on the product specifications,. though for products of IPX2 or lower, as a rough guide, the use of positioning ribs between the cases can help to reduce water infiltration from the outside without the need for new waterproof parts (Figure 2).
By doing so, it is possible to develop a well-balanced product such as “improvement in design” and “reduction in production cost”.


Fig. 2. Example of IPX2

Point #2 :
It is important to carefully examine the impact of the waterproof structure at the conceptual stage and choose the best specification.

Question #3 :
What is the evaluation of a waterproof product?

Answer #3 :
Water proof is evaluated using special testing equipment.
The pass/fail determination is made by attaching a moisture detection sheet to the inside of the unit and checking for water infiltration.
If water infiltration detected, you can identify the cause by locating the point of the infiltration by looking for the darker areas of the detection sheet response.

Point #3 :
In custom products, each design differs one by one.
In other words, it is very difficult to follow the same shape of waterproof structure.
Because of this background, it is important to secure test facilities and to establish a schedule with “cut and try” evaluation in mind for waterproof products.

In this article, we’ve told you about the key points for developing waterproof products, At WTI, we are able to propose the most appropriate waterproof structure for every situation based on the know-how we have gained through our past development.
As a part of our service, we started a rental service for waterproofing equipment, which has been requested by many clients.

Examples of consultations for clients :

  • Want to evaluate the waterproof of our own products.
  • Want to conduct sufficient pre-complience test before the final test by a certified body.
  • Want to evaluate the limits of the waterproof function.

This service is highly recommended for clients who are having trouble with this kind of application.

We also offer other testing services besides the above, so please feel free to contact us for more information.


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