Information Technology and Multimedia
Communication – telephone, fax, radio, television, sound reproduction – has been an analog process where special equipment was needed to convert signals from analog to digital and vice versa. Now, with convergence between communications and information technology, the initial signal is frequently digital, generated by directly sampling the analog world. Information stays digital all the way to the receiver, at which point it may or may not be converted to drive an analog device.
Through convergence, hardware and software have evolved to treat all communication as digital, as evidenced by the broadening acceptance of Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), where speech is digitized and transmitted as packets. Digital storage of visual information on DVDs has, of course, been around for a while, but with recent declines in the price of DVD players, we may expect conventional videocassette recorders (VCRs) to disappear from the market.
These changes have presented new challenges to equipment designers, and through them, to their materials suppliers. The miniaturization achievable with digital devices makes portability possible, and whether it’s a phone, a PDA, a music player or a camera, people really do want to take it with them. The twin drivers of portability and convergence are pushing equipment designers now more than ever to rely on plastic materials to provide the mechanical strength, the light weight, the insulating (or conducting), and the dielectric properties needed for proper function. Designers must also produce new concepts and designs at an acceptable and continuously shortening time-to market.
This dynamic environment presents a challenge that Ticona is helping its customers meet effectively. With its range of high performance engineering thermoplastics, including Vectra® liquid crystal polymer (LCP), Fortron® polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), Celanex® polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and Hostaform®/Celcon® acetal copolymer (POM), Ticona is well placed to meet the needs of equipment designers today and also tomorrow. Ticona’s engineering thermoplastics are reprocessable, unlike thermoset resins that end up in the waste stream. Furthermore, Ticona offers several materials that can withstand the higher reflow soldering temperatures seen with safer lead-free solder.