It is one of Corning’s hottest products with sales likely to be $ 1 billion this year and new markets planned beyond electronics into cars and apartments.
But the Corning site tells a fascinating story of “Chemcor” invented over 40 years ago “which withstood 100,000 pounds of pressure per square inch and could be bombarded with frozen chickens at high rates of speed and not so much as chip, let alone crack and break.” mostly hibernated. A forecasted market for autos and space never blossomed.
Fast forward to 2005 - “The project began with phone calls and some basic research in 2005. By 2006 it had become a formalized project moving full speed ahead as an innovation project driven by market demands for not just cell phone covers – which had been plastic (easily scratched) or soda lime glass (easily chipped and then broken) – but also for notebooks, GPS devices, portable music players, smart phones and more.”
“In order to get to that combination of high volume, Hollywood-esqe thinness and sheet quality, the team had to develop a new composite of the glass formula that would allow them to do the fusion-draw production in Harrodsburg, Ky., instead of the slot-draw production the project had started with in Danville, Va. From February of 2007 to May of 2007 the team sprinted through trials and research to develop the new composition that, amazingly, worked on the first try”