Like most protective aramid fiber phone cases, our MagEZ Case Pro 3 for iPhone 14 is also made mainly using two materials: aramid fiber and TPU.
When our case is put alongside another aramid fiber case from other brands, people usually notice that our case looks more slim or streamlined, but they do not know why.
Today, we'll reveal the tech behind how the MagEZ Case Pro 3 was made seamless and why it represents PITAKA's another milestone in technology development.
Seams or joints are often inevitable in product manufacturing and assembling. They are marks that show how the product is made and designed. Nowadays, fewer and fewer products are made for DIY repair or disassembly. Thus, customers seem to care less about those seams and joints. Is it true?
For designers, they will try everything to get rid of even one small seam. And Apple designers will agree.
Apple always tries to minimize, if not eliminate, the seam in every product. They apply unibody construction in many products, like the MacBook Air, Magic Mouse, and Apple Pencil, of which the body and frame are considered one unit. It's not just about the pursuit of craftsmanship. Apple designers know very well that customers care about those seams too even though sometimes they are not aware of it. The smaller the seam, the sleeker or more streamlined the product looks.
That explains why designers want "seamless" design even though sometimes they have to compromise function. But it's not that easy.
It's easier to make a product "seamless" if it is made of one single material, such as plastic or aluminum, and features a simple form. If it's made of more than one material, that usually means you need more than one mold. Combining parts from different molds would leave parting lines.
Take phone cases for demonstration. If you notice seams or joints on a phone case, it's made of more than one material. Apple has made clear cases like no other since 2018. All clear phone cases that made of two different materials have this noticeable parting line. But Apple's clear case made of TPU and PC shows no parting line where the two materials meet. That seemingly slight difference sets Apple apart from others. Don't other phone case makers want to do the same seamless design? They probably want, but they can't because not everyone knows how to do it.
We're proud to announce that we did it in 2021 with our protective aramid fiber cases for iPhone 13 series. And this year, we improved the technology and made the iPhone 14 cases truly seamless.
The First Seamless Aramid Fiber iPhone 14 Case
Many people love aramid fiber for its lightness, durability, and unique carbon fiber-like pattern. Seven years have passed since PITAKA produced the first phone case completely crafted from aramid fiber in 2015. Many have joined us to produce aramid fiber cases.
That said, aramid fiber is stiff, which is partly why we don't use aramid fiber solely in producing the fully protective iPhone 14 cases. To have raised lip to wrap the front screen while ensuring the case is easy to remove, we have to blend aramid fiber with another material. In our case, we choose flexible TPU.
To make similar aramid fiber cases, other brands use glue or something similar to stick the aramid fiber fabric with another material, which is not a hard guess. We put our case with a competitor's and made this comparison. Need we say more?
Aramid fiber and TPU are seamlessly integrated on our MagEZ Case Pro for iPhone 14, showing no ugly parting lines or joints. And aramid fiber extends to the sides of the case means extra protection and a more comfortable feel.
3D Injection Molding Labeling
The seamless iPhone 14 case is developed through injection molding. But it's different from normal injection molding. We enhanced it and developed 3D Injection Molding Labeling, which we started to use on New Case Pro for iPhone 13 series.
When aramid fiber is flowing to fill the mold to form the shape we set, we inject TPU into the same mold, through which way two materials blend together.
Two different materials have different ratios of thermal expansion and contraction, leading to many problems at the seams during in-mold molding. For example, if the amount of two materials is different at the seams, the product might have excessive flash. Therefore, the control of the degree of accuracy and the thermal deformation ratio of the material is the key. In order to seamlessly combine aramid fiber and TPU on the side, we need to precisely control the dimensional accuracy and deformation ratio of aramid fiber, and we need special machines with huge tonnage originally used in automobile and other industries that give huge pressure and can do rapid heating and cooling. Only under extreme pressure with the technology of switching high and low temperature in an instant can we ensure the precision of aramid fiber to produce the perfectly seamless phone case crafted from two materials.
The injection molding process aside, we've also made other improvement on the protective iPhone 14 case. For example, the aramid fiber we used is processed through thermoforming, which means the material is reusable.
Here's a video to how we made our MagEZ Case Pro 3.
From the accuracy of 0.1mm to 0.01mm, from one line to zero line, the required effort and dedication are tremendous. Although the process is more complicated, we believe our customers want and deserve truly nice things.
Seams are related to the production process. Good manufacturing equipment or production processes can better control the seams. However, the production process is only a means. If there is no pursuit of better design, there won't be innovation or evolution in terms of manufacturing or industrial development.
The MagEZ Battery Pack is another product we tried to make seamless. Instead of digging holes on the side to put the button and LEDs, we hide them on the front side of the power bank to make the product more minimalist. We're working on the carbon fiber fountain pen by combining carbon fiber and metal.
We would like to be those designers pursuing perfection to move the gear of industrial innovation forward.