New Apple Patents Reveal Manufacturing Process for Creating 3D Liquid Metal Glass Device Cases and More
Today, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple relating to techniques for manufacturing glass components for electronic devices. More particularly, the present embodiments relate techniques in which a fluid such as liquid metal or molten salt is used to shape a piece of glass. Devices made this way can include a HomePod, Home Control device, iMac, MacBook, iPad, or iPhone.
Apple’s patent includes techniques that can be used to shape a piece of glass to produce a three-dimensional glass component. For exemple, the three-dimensional glass component can be a glass cover or a glass case.
In some examples, the shape of the glass part is changed using a forming technique in which a portion of the glass part is molded between a mold tool and a heated fluid such as liquid metal or molten salt. The resulting molded glass part can then be finished to produce the glass component.
Apple’s patent FIG. Figure 6 below schematically shows a #680 laser system and scanning operation of a #682 beam produced by the laser system. The laser system, which includes a #681 treatment head, is simplified for illustrative purposes in FIG. 6. The processing head and the transparent substrate #601 move relative to each other to scan the beam #682 along a path #661 on a front surface #602 of the transparent substrate.
Apple’s patent FIGS. 1A-B are just two examples of simple three-dimensional glass component devices that can be a a glass cover element or a glass case.
Apple’s invention is broadly covered by two patents: (#1: 20220193825)”Laser cut transparent components for an electronic device” and (#2: 20220194841) “Fluid formation a glass component for a portable electronic device.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of bringing such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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