News | October 10, 2007

3M Provides High-Volume Touch Sensor Production To Help Meet Increasing Cell Phone Demand


San Diego, CA - 3M Touch Systems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of 3M and a leading innovator and manufacturer of capacitive touch screen technology, recently announced the commercial availability of MicroTouch Flex Capacitive Touch Sensors, a polyester-based projected capacitive touch screen solution ideal for high-volume mobile display products, such as cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, and personal navigation systems.

"We are very excited to provide the mobile handheld industry with a high-performance touch screen solution that will enhance its product offering and brand image," said Chris Tsourides, Mobile Products Business Unit Manager. "With global demand exploding for touch-enabled mobile devices, 3M's high-volume roll form production of MicroTouch Flex Capacitive Touch Sensors should help address the increasing demand for touch screen sensors."

Leveraging over 20 years experience in touch technology development and commercialization, 3M's MicroTouch Flex Capacitive Touch Sensor is uniquely manufactured in a roll-to-roll process by applying a variety of patent-pending Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) patterns on lightweight, cost-effective polyester film (PET). The result is an incredibly thin, optically clear projected capacitive touch sensor available to device manufacturers in rolls containing up to 72,000 sensors, depending on size. The roll configuration provides manufacturers with optimal scalability for fluctuating product volumes and production flexibility for changes in product design, component stack-ups and compact integration requirements.

"Since Flex Capacitive Sensors are manufactured through a continuous, roll form production process, this helps device manufacturers manage their component supply chain from the prototype phase to pilot scale and full scale-up," said Kelly Devin, Flex Capacitive Business Development Manager. "Our ability to produce touch sensors on rolls means our customers can get the quantities they need when they need them."

Devin also stated: "A film-based sensor like Flex Capacitive allows product designers to explore new and unique industrial designs beyond the limitations of traditional square or rectangular touch sensor shapes. As personal mobile devices continue to converge, touch sensor design freedom helps provide product manufacturers a greater ability to differentiate their products."

Easily customized into a variety of shapes and sizes, MicroTouch Flex Capacitive Touch Sensors can also be designed for touch applications ranging from simple button operation to full X,Y touch screen capabilities. Various material thicknesses are available to meet compact design requirements, currently ranging from 2mil to 5mil in thickness. These ultrathin touch sensors can be optically laminated to glass or polycarbonate lens for optimal surface durability with touch sensitivity "projected" through the lens. Or, by using hard-coated polyester these sensors can work directly as lightweight touch screens for devices requiring a more economical and thinner touch profile.

The MicroTouch Flex Capacitive Touch Sensor joins an innovative touch product family from 3M that includes the MicroTouch ClearTek II Capacitive Touch System for public-use, self-service applications and the MicroTouch DST Touch System for large-format interactive LCD displays.

SOURCE: 3M Touch Systems, Inc.