Apple has been awarded a U.S. patent for an insert molding approach that would allow phones to become thinner, while also increasing usable area of the display.
In an effort to replace a space-consuming flange, the insert molding technique provides an outer housing member for a portion of a small electronic device. The key component is a thin plastic film used as an internal structural member. The outer housing is secured to at least a portion of the thin film. That assembly is placed in an injection mold. Another outer housing section is then overmolded on top of the assembly, creating a strong seal.
In current conventional practice, an internal flange has been used to support the phone’s cover window and liquid crystal module (LCM). The flange impedes the ability to make devices thinner and may also impede usage of a peripheral area of the cover window, according to the patent.