After the lasting successes of Smartphones and Smart TV’s, wearable technology has emerged as the next big player in the technology field. The 'quantified self' ideology (logging a person’s life to bring objectivity to areas normally clouded by feelings and impressions) is beginning to catch on in Europe, and German industry association Bitkom forecasts wearable revenues to climb to as much as 8.8 billion euros in 2018.
One company that is supporting manufacturing with this increased demand is tesa, the adhesive tape specialists, who has specifically redesigned an assortment of double-sided adhesive tapes with smart wearable manufacturing in mind.
Smart wearables currently perform services such as measuring calorie consumption, the number of steps taken, and how long the wearer sleeps. The appetite amongst consumers is growing, but so too is the technology and capabilities of the items themselves.
Originally developed for elite athletes, Fitness Trackers are now providing collated data to the mass market. Some Smartwatches now have their own SIM cards, allowing them function as standalone devices - independent of a Smartphone.
These advances provide new challenges for manufacturers on a seemingly daily basis, so solutions are needed to ensure companies do not get left behind.
This kind of technology is essential for smart wearable manufacturers when considering the requirements of the production process. The cover (lens) of a smartwatch must be bonded to the housing with the utmost precision during manufacturing. The tape used must meet a wide range of requirements, providing high adhesive strength and shock resistance.
The housing of a Smartwatch contains many highly sensitive electronic components that are bonded together using these adhesives tapes. Similarly, it is critical for fitness trackers that the delicate sensors used to track bodily functions are affixed securely.
Steve Plastow, Managing Director tesa UK, said: “Early co-operation has been key to offering OEMs and suppliers with special tapes that meet the specific requirements relating to the assembly and effective bonding of components in wearables. The widespread acceptance of wearable technology depends on devices being visually attractive and robust – important attributes that our tapes deliver.
But fresh technology advances always provide fresh hurdles to overcome. Wearable technology devices are exposed to various biological and chemical substances including sweat, perfume, sunscreen, soap and other substances in the form of fluids and gases. The die-cuts used in fitness trackers, for example, need to resist exposure to these substances.
For that reason, tesa 612xx high performance tapes have been developed to include ‘antibodies’ to help them fight this exposure. The tesa product range including this feature currently comprises four double-sided adhesive tapes ranging in thickness from 50 to 250 micrometres.
tesa are not only positioned to support current needs, but future ones too. Smart glasses, equipped with a camera to supply the wearer with data and analysis about their surroundings, have generated a fair amount of buzz in recent times. Some manufacturers are already working with holographic images to deliver augmented reality solutions for such devices.
Manufacturers can rest assure that companies like tesa will continue to adapt their current technology for use across these next generation devices. Indeed, tesa ’s products for the electronics industry now amounts to some 150 items, more than 75% of which have come to market since 2009. As futuristic categories of personal electronic devices evolve, tesa are committed to supporting this dynamic market.