Apple’s patent covering the making of the Milanese Mesh Apple Watch band, details how its decorative, yet flexible structure (sometimes called a “carpet”), is different from regular mesh structures typically made from multiple metallic spiral wires threaded together (via Patently Apple). Apple explains how a spool containing a straight wire material is set into a machine, which runs the wire material into a mandrel apparatus that forms the wire material into a spiral.
The spiral is then forced forward and cut off at a certain length. After this, the machine makes the next spiral. Once the mesh carpet is formed, it is cut into various shapes depending on the end product. Typical manufacturing process for Milanese mesh devices do not allow mesh carpets that are created to be flexible without the crimping of the mesh and or introduction of the intervening binding and locking coils discussed above. Thus, there is a need for a improved method for forming a Milanese mesh product.
Apple’s invention generally covers apparatuses and methods for forming a flexible mesh carpet. In one embodiment, a flexible mesh carpet may include a first wire coil. The first wire which makes up the coil may have a first surface and a second surface which oppose one another. The first surface and the second surface may be connected by surfaces that substantially form partial arcs.
The first wire coil and the second wire coil may form two rows of the mesh carpet. In one example, the first surface and the second surface in the first wire coil may be opposing flat surfaces positioned at an acute angle from one another. Alternatively they may be positioned at an obtuse angle from one another. In another example, the first surface and the second surface may be concave surfaces.
Apple notes that the finishing process may include compressing the mesh carpet between two restraining plates such that the restraining plates contact the mesh carpet decreasing the bend radius and thereby improving the flexibility of the mesh carpet.
Apple’s patent application was originally filed in Q1 2016.