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3M Launches Expanded Beam Ferrule and Connector System

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3M’s new system

In a press release on March 5, 3M (MMM) announced that it unveiled its new Expanded Beam Optical Connector System. The system is designed to enable the industry to meet the demands of the next generation data center. 3M claims that the system is more cost effective with a single scalable mode and multimode interconnect system, which is suitable for data center applications.

The new system uses non-contact optical coupling compared to traditional contact technology. As a result, the system reduces the sensitivity to dust, which will likely bring down the maintenance cost and maintain signal integrity. 3M’s Expanded Beam Optical Connector System has two versions—single mode and multimode. The single mode has an insertion loss specification of less than 0.70db and a return loss greater than 55db. The multimode has an insertion loss specification of less than 0.30db and a return loss greater than 25 dB. The scalable connector can accommodate 12–192 fibers.

Dr. Nick Stacey, a manager at 3M’s global laboratory, said, “We’ve reimagined fiber optic connectors. Our ferrule and connector technology are designed to reduce cleaning requirements, to provide design flexibility and to enable the performance necessary for next-generation optical deployment.”

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Stock update

Despite positive developments, 3M stock fell ~1.5%. The speculation that President Trump could walk away from a trade deal with China resulted in a flat market. 3M has gained 7.6% year-to-date, while its industrial peers Stanley Black & Decker (SWK), Caterpillar (CAT), and Deere (DE) have gained 12.9%, 9.2%, and 11.1%, respectively.

Investors could hold 3M indirectly by investing in the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA), which has invested 5.4% of its portfolio in 3M as of March 5.

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