Apple patent application details structural bonding for thinner, lighter notebooks

Apple Store“In keeping up with the trend towards thinner and lighter notebook models, Apple in a recent filing discloses methods for improving enclosure designs through parts that are structurally and electrically bonded together during the manufacturing process,” Prince McLean reports for AppleInsider.

McLean reports, “The technique, notes the Mac maker in a December 2006 continuation patent filing, offers an alternative approach to most existing notebook enclosures, which tend to be bogged down by weighty mechanical assemblies having parts that are screwed, riveted, snapped or otherwise fastened together at discrete points.”

McLean reports, “Lighter enclosures that use thinner plastic structures and less fasteners also exist, according to Apple, but they tend to be more flexible and therefore they have a greater propensity to buckle and bow than those having thicker, heavy mechanical assemblies. ‘Unfortunately, increased weight may lead to user dissatisfaction, and bowing may damage the internal parts of the portable computer,’ the company wrote in the filing.”

McLean reports, “Apple also notes that as the power and sophistication of integrated notebook circuits have increased, so has the level of electromagnetic interference. In order to prevent interference, PC manufacturers often shielded enclosures with an electrically conductive material to block the emission of electromagnetic radiation, which also leads to more weighty and bulky designs. ‘Although current enclosure designs work well,’ said Apple, ‘in many instances it would be desirable to provide enclosures that are thinner, lighter, stronger and aesthetically more pleasing than current enclosure designs.'”

McLean reports, “Specifically, the Cupertino-based firm’s patent proposal covers an enclosure having at least two unique parts that are structurally bonded together to form a singular composite structure with structural glue, or an enclosure having at least two unique parts that are electrically bonded together to form a singular integrated conductive member.”

Much more in the full article, including patent application illustrations, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]


  1. And yet again Apple surges ahead to places other PC manufacturers haven’t ebven dreamed of yet…

    Another case of Apple being where the puck is going to be.. not where it’s been! Or in the case of MicroDellshaft, where it was last century.

    These Apple patents and new ideas have been rolling out thick and fast recently heven’t they?

  2. Oh my G-d! they are patenting glue. LOL Lets see, glueing things together, while I understand Apple having to do this with all these troll lawyers around, it is getting really stupid.

    IF we glue parts together, it will make them stronger. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” /> Invention, er patent of the year. Boeing, listen up, those airplanes you are flying will need to pay a fee to Apple cause they are glued together in places. “OH, the humanity of it all.”

  3. If Apple can pull this off, it means the elimation of quite a few steps:

    1. Sheet metal no longer needs to be punched. Saving time.
    2. Sheet metal fasteners no longer need to be pressed in. Saving time and saving on fastener costs.
    3. No washers (when necessary). Saves time and washer cost and labor.
    4. No screw, saving time, and screw costs.

    Add this all up and it could be $5 – $10 a laptop in savings, while delivering a more desireable product.

    Patenting processes of these types puts Apple ahead of the manufacturing game, resulting in the competition playing catch-up… and Apple being able to be more competitive in price, while making more margin per box. All good.

    Lean Manufacturing – gotta love it.

  4. Right, all well and good, but remember, fewer serviceable (user or otherwise) parts!

    I wonder if they will make it dual-function, the bonding as a heat sink as well, where possible.

  5. I said in a previous posting that all those ridiculous requests that were being made for ultra thin Macbooks with bells & whistles were falling on deaf ears because Apple inc. already know what you need not what you want.

    I also said that a famous outgoing chief executive complained that researchers, designers, scientists, software engineers and engineers at Dell, HP, M$ to name a few were complaining that anything they designed, they found that Apple inc. had already patened it implying that Apple were stifeling innovation. Only they had not realised that they were trying to invent things having seen Apple produce them.

    Apple learnt the hard way after M$ swindled away Apples GUI. I for one am glad that they are stitching everything up snug as a bug as they innovate.

    If it leads to the competition thinking outside the box, then we the consumers are all the winners!

  6. @ en,

    Once again you display the fact that you are Windows PLEB!

    Do you have a single cell for a brain? I bet you all those nuerons to that one cell end up clogged up just as DRM has clogged up Vista.

    Boing Aircrafts are crashing a little too often these days seemingly without good cause (we don’t know). One crashed in the Congo last month whilst taking off admittedly in bad weather, It was six months old. The distress signal was picked up several minutes after the accident leading rescuers to start searching miles from the actual spot.

    The reason I write about that is because you equate the type of glue Apple Inc. have patented as similar to the glue that Boing uses on its aircrafts.

    Think about this if you can. The type of glue I expect Apple to use would have to withstand very high temperatures from the processor. It would have to have some form of magnetic shielding capability or at least enhance what ever material is to bonded for that purpose. It would have to be flexible enough to cope with pressure from storage, dropping or having things put on it.
    And finally, it would have to bond stronger when hotter and normally when cooler, that property would cope with the expansion and contraction of the two different materials.

    I wouldn’t expect an aircraft’s demand on glue to be exactly similar, would you?

    As for Trolls, I can visualize your single celled brain trying to process the human figure! especially if it doesn’t stand still long enough for you.

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