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August 27th, 2007
3M Offers a New View
A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece explaining how 3M (NYSE: MMM) was great at doing the little things -- like applying nanotechnology to make existing products better. At the time, I explored how the company was applying the science to improve dental fillings, ceramic materials, and, potentially, even radio frequency identification (RFID) tags.
Recently, 3M announced the release of a new window-treatment film -- the Prestige Ultra Safety & Security film -- that relies on advances in nanotechnology.
The film is noteworthy because of the many qualitative improvements it provides over existing products. For starters, because it doesn't use any metals, the film is transparent. This means that if customers prefer not to have windows with a shiny metallic finish, they don't have to. The lack of metal also makes it much less susceptible to corrosion and helps it last longer. (The new product comes with a lifetime warranty for homeowners and a 15-year warranty for commercial customers.) And as an added benefit, the lack of metal cuts down on cell-phone interference. With more homes and buildings going wireless, this is an increasingly important characteristic, and it is likely to gain 3M more than a few customers and give it a leg up on competitors such as BASF (NYSE: BF) and DuPont (NYSE: DD).
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