3M is probably best known for inventing two of the most ubiquitous products of the 20th century: Scotch® Transparent Tapes and Post-it® Notes. However, 3M is much more. As a diversified technology company, 3M has developed products in a variety of markets, including aerospace, transportation, graphic arts, pharmaceuticals, entertainment, and textiles. The diversity of 3M’s products illustrates its commitment to using its technologies to develop practical solutions that help customers succeed.
Since 1964, 3M has been the leader in the graphics market, creating the first vinyl film that replaced paint for automobiles. 3M’s glass bead technology sharpens colors and makes graphics more durable. Today, Scotchprint® Graphics are seen in stores and on buses and cars, advertising some of the world’s favorite brands.
3M’s nonwoven technology has contributed to the development of several of the company’s well-known products, including Scotch-Brite® Scour Pads, 3M™ Nomad™ Floor Matting, a family of surgical tapes, and Filtrete™ Filters. Also using nonwoven technology, in the 1960s 3M began developing super-lightweight fabrics to help keep people warm and dry. Within 10 years, Thinsulate™ Insulation was introduced.
3M has also succeeded by combining dissimilar materials, like ceramics and polymers, for practical applications. Using nanotechnology, 3M developed a dental composite that has aesthetic properties almost identical to a tooth’s natural structure. These nanocomposite fillers provide strength and wear-resistance, and yet have a more natural appearance than traditional fillers. Today, 3M supplies more than 2,000 products to the dental market.
In its 100-year history, 3M’s products have followed a similar path — from challenges to opportunities to discovery to practical applications — using technology to change everyday lives of people around the world.