AUFLEX lowered the production cost of the hinge component of foldable phones to less than half compared to its competitors. Securing their own production facilities for metal injection molding (MIM), which is key to hinge production, and their long history of researching foldable phone hinges, which is the longest in the industry, has paid off for the company. AUFLEX will be listed on the Technology Special Listing in the second half of this year based on the competitiveness provided by its world-class hinges.
Early versions of foldable phones in the past failed to become commercialized due to hinges being mounted on both edges where the screens folded. The hinge itself got in the way of the overall design of the smartphone, by causing the device to become heavy, and making the bezel too thick.
AUFLEX developed the world’s first structure for smartphones where the hinge is mounted underneath the foldable phone panel. It has even completed the registration of its original patents in the U.S. and South Korea. Most recently released foldable phones adopt this hinge structure. AUFLEX holds over 100 patents related to hinges, making it the largest holder of hinge related patents.
The company improved the design of foldable phones by moving the hinge underneath the panel to enable a much thinner bezel. By reducing the amount of stress on the panel, it minimized the issue of wrinkling. Foldable phones can be made much thinner and lighter by adopting the hinge structure developed by AUFLEX.
The production cost has also been drastically reduced. Most of the Chinese producers of the latest foldable phones use the hinges from Amphenol, an U.S. company. AUFLEX reduced its production costs to less than half of that of Amphenol. They are still able to create the same motions, even with the number of parts reduced by 10~20%.
This is the result supported by metal injection molding (MIM). MIM is a technology optimized for mass producing ultra-precise parts that require high strength in small spaces.
The parts that make up a hinge is smaller than a grain of rice and requires ultra-high precision and high durability. The MIM technology is important in creating ultra-precise hinge parts with complex forms out of metal powder. AUFLEX is the only company in the industry to possess both the blueprint for hinges and MIM production technology.
The results are also visible. AUFLEX is continuing discussions on supply with several global panel companies, including various key Chinese smartphone producers and CSOT.
With the rapid growth of the global foldable phone market, the growth of the hinge industry has also received the green light. Although Samsung currently occupies most of the market, Chinese, and North American smartphone producers are also joining in on the foldable smartphone market.
The CEO of AUFLEX, Park, said, “With the growing foldable market causing a growing interest in hinge technology, we are considering business strategies using patent rights in the future,” and went on to say, “Starting from the second half of the year, we will begin the process to be listed on the Technology Special Listing and maximize our competitiveness on our differentiated hinges.
By Staff Reporter Sora Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)