Acrylic and polycyclohexylethylene are nipping at the dominance of polycarbonate in optical discs, but a new trend may mean they'll be fighting for shares of a smaller pie.
Each disc uses 18 grams of PC, but the trend toward downloading digital content on hard drives might affect demand for engineering thermoplastics.
Optical media in various formats accounted for about 12 percent of U.S. demand for PC in 2001, according to Chemical Market Associates Inc., a Houston consulting group.
Use of physical media is decreasing, and use of digital media is increasing, Shai Ben-Moshe, managing partner of consultant View Ventures LLC in Malibu, Calif., contended in a speech to the Digital Content Delivery conference, held Feb. 4-6 in San Jose.
However, William Pence, chief technology officer for an online music subscription service called Pressplay, sees long-term use for physical media. Compressed audio, now allowing use of 15 tracks, gives new life to compact discs, he said.
There is a long life for PC as the most widely used and easily portable replication material, Pence said. Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group launched New York-based Pressplay in late 2001.
A trade group spokesman also took exception to Ben-Moshe's remarks.
``In the next few years, we can be looking at multilayer compact-size discs containing 100 gigabytes of memory,'' said Charles Van Horn, president of the International Recording Media Association of Princeton, N.J. ``At that rate, removable media is competitive with fixed hard drives,'' said Van Horn. Typical current memory capacities are 650 megabytes for a CD and 4.7 gigabytes for a basic digital versatile disc.
Separately, IRMA formed a coalition to address the needs of replicators and duplicators with annual sales of less than $75 million. Named to lead the new forum was Melodie Gee, vice president of manufacturing of Metatec International Inc. of Dublin, Ohio.
PBI Media LLC of White Plains, N.Y., organized the conference.