The data-storage market doesn't want any static. That's where GE Plastics comes in.
Since mid-2004, Pittsfield, Mass.-based GE Plastics has seen its LNP-brand static-dissipative compounds used in three innovative applications by customers.
``Data storage is a very important market for us,'' Nitin Apte, GE Plastics-LNP general manager, said in a recent phone interview. ``The number of hard drives being produced is up and the need for data storage is going to continue to grow.''
The new static-free entries are:
* Polycarbonate-based Stat-Kon compounds used in a data-storage carrier tape by Entegris Inc. of Chaska, Minn. Both a transparent grade and a conductive, carbon-filled grade have improved tape productivity by allowing thinner gauges and increased crush resistance. The materials also offer more dimensional stability than competing materials such as polystyrene and paper, according to GE Plastics.
* A flame-retardant Stat-Kon compound used in data-storage hard-drive test systems by Xyratex of Havant, England. The material provides a lightweight alternative to metal and other heavy materials while minimizing the risk of damage to hard drives from static discharge.
* A PC-based Stat-Loy compound used in optical-media data-storage shells by Plasmon Data Ltd. of Melbourn, England. The materials have allowed Plasmon to increase storage capacity and dramatically lower archival storage costs.
LNP-brand compounds used by Plasmon and Entegris are made in the United States, while those used by Xyratex are made in Asia.
Two new grades of GE-LNP Lubricomp compounds based on a PC/ABS blend are aimed at reducing friction and eliminating squeaking noises from repeated movement in parts such as lens covers for mobile phones.
Apte said the compounds offer easy processing for thin-wall molding. They are being made in Europe and will be commercialized in the second half of 2005.