Manufacturer Markets Water-Repellent Coatings to Military

By Valerie Insinna
A new company that manufactures waterproof coatings is hoping to break into the defense market. 

DryWired was launched in 2013 at the Consumer Electronics Show and displayed its products at the Association for the U.S. Army Annual Winter Symposium and Exposition in February.

The company has multiple products that could be of use to the military, said Alex Nesic, vice president of business development. But first, they must undergo testing to ensure they hold up to military standards.

DryWired’s most mature product is its 101x nanocoating, which is applied at the manufacturing level and yields a hydrophobic coating of about 250 nanometers thick, he said. 

The 101x nanocoating is currently undergoing military standard testing with avionics manufacturers that would use it as a substitute for conformal coatings, he said. The company should know the results by September. Testing will evaluate the coating’s performance when confronted with environmental factors such as extreme temperatures, seawater, fog and humidity. 

Conformal coatings, such as parylene, are messy to apply, trap heat and are not easy to deal with if a piece of equipment needs to be reworked, Nesic said. DryWired officials believe the 101x coating solves those issues.

“At any point in production, you can dip the electronic components in our product and then cure it, and it’s effective. So once you’ve populated the entire circuit board, you can then dip it in our fluorosolvent, and it’s coated,” he said.

The company used the 101x coating on its SpareOne Plus, a battery-powered cell phone that can be submerged in water as deep as one meter for up to 30 minutes. At the DryWired booth, company representatives immersed the phones in water to demonstrate the coating’s hydrophobic quality.

The phone repels water without any mechanical seals. “We have no o-rings or gaskets preventing water going in,” Nesic said.

The company also showcased its Phantom system, a machine that operates under vacuum pressure and uses plasma to coat manufactured items.

“It’s a batch system and it’s fairly useful for, for example, special operations units that want to coat certain mission critical items” such as communications equipment or clothing, Nesic said.

Commercial businesses such as cell phone repair centers are already using the machine to coat smartphones, tablets and other electronics, he said.

Topics: Business Trends, Science and Engineering Technology

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