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Magnetic fluids, or ferrofluids, were developed in the 1960's through the sponsorship of NASA, to address the unique requirements of moving liquid fuel in a gravity-free outerspace environment. Recognizing the potential for commercial applications using ferrofluids, Ferrofluidics Corporation was founded in 1968.

After several years of research and development, and applications engineering, the company introduced the first commercial application of ferrofluids, a 100% leak-free, no-wear vacuum rotary seal for use in the manufacture of semiconductor wafers and other vacuum processing applications. Today, Ferrofluidic® sealing technology is used in the manufacture of the majority of semiconductor wafers, the heart of all high-tech products.

Ferrofluidics' early 1970's efforts to identify new applications for ferrofluids also led to the successful synthesis of ferrofluids that enabled loudspeaker manufacturers to improve audio speaker performance. In this application, which takes advantage of a ferrofluid's heat transfer property, the fluid is magnetically positioned in the air gap of the driver assembly. This protects the speaker voice coil from thermal failure. Today, Ferrofluidic technology is used in ~100 million loudspeakers per year, of which approximately two thirds are automotive speakers.

New applications for this unique sealing technology continued to be found, and in the late 1970's the company pioneered a leak-free sealing system for computer disk drives that prevented contamination, increased memory capacity and improved processing throughput. Today, many sealed computer disk drives have a Ferrofluidic technology-based exclusion seal.

In the late 1970's the company also developed a ferrofluid based viscous damper that improved the performance of stepper motors. These applications require a high degree of precision, quiet operation, and minimum transit time between the various work functions. When attached to the motor, a Ferrofluidic damper reduces settling time and significantly increases accuracy.

In 1981, in response to its wide acceptance in the global marketplace, Ferrofluidics became a public company (NASDAQ: FERO).

In the same year it acquired the product line of a major semiconductor crystal growing manufacturer. For the next 15 years, Ferrofluidics was at the forefront of crystal growing technology and was responsible for many developments and innovations in this business. This division was divested in 1998.

By the late 1980s, Ferrofluidic sealing technology was expanding from its semiconductor roots into other sealing applications. In 1989 the company produced a large diameter, low power-consumption, hermetic seal that permits smooth operation of airborne targeting cameras despite the harsh environments of military aircraft. The product has since been integrated into major helicopter lines and fixed wing aircraft

This continued in the early 1990s with the company's expansion into industrial sealing applications where the inherent hermetic qualities of a Ferrofluidic seal make it ideal for hydrocarbon processing, nuclear and other hazardous environments.

In 1997, Ferrofluidics developed a "value added" program with its extensive customer base, offering fully integrated Ferrofluidic sealing sub-assemblies. Today, The company is providing outsourcing services to a growing number of top-tier semiconductor equipment manufacturers.

In the 1990s, Ferrofluidic seals also became widely used in optical coating applications, and by the late 1990s Ferrofluidic seals were being developed for use in the rapidly growing area of DWDM filter coating processes.

In 1998, the company entered into another market - supplying ferrofluid for use in DVD optical pickup actuators where the ferrofluid damping greatly improves the actuators settling time and vibrational characteristics.

In addition to these products, over the years many additional applications for ferrofluid have been developed by the company and in conjunction with other individuals and companies. These include technology ranging from power transformers and materials separation and reclamation to ferrofluid bearings, quiet solenoids, sensors and switches. New applications are always being examined, and the company is happy to partner with other organizations on a confidential basis to develop new uses for ferrofluid.

In early 2000 Ferrofluidics merged with Ferrotec Corporation and on July 16, 2001 Ferrofluidics changed its name to Ferrotec (USA) in order for the company to present a common identity worldwide.

Ferrotec Corporation is a Japanese company which was a former subsidiary of Ferrofluidics until a management buyout in 1987. Since then, Ferrofluidics maintained its position as market leader in the US and Europe, and Ferrotec became one of the leading suppliers of magnetic liquid feedthroughs and audio fluids in Asia. Ferrotec also diversified in to non-ferrofluid-based products such as thermoelectic modules and contract manufacturing.

The merger has brought together 2 companies with complimentary products, capabilities and distribution networks. This will lead to better ferrofluid technology globally as R&D and engineering knowledge of the two companies are combined, as well as truly worldwide sales, service and technical support.

The global company has over 1800 employees and over 1 million square feet (100,000 m2) of design, manufacturing, sales and service area. With sales offices over 3 continents and an ever increasing range of innovative high quality products, Ferrotec is well positioned to serve you now and in the future.

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