flexstorm GmbH will present at this year’s CeBIT a completely new storage media product: the world’s first physically flexible CD. The flexCD is a flexible, lightweight, inexpensive, and quickly produced foil disc with the same storage capacity as a rigid CD. flexCDs operate in existing disc players with the aid of an adapter--two pieces of stiff plastic that fit over and under the 0.1-millimeter flexCD like a sandwich. The new storage media is wonderfully suited towards promotional, advertising, and direct marketing activites.
The concept and development of flexCD began in 1997. Under the direction of Sven Deutschmann, now the CEO of flexstorm, a small project group set out to create a physically flexible data carrier with high storage capacity. "We realized early on that all necessary resources could be found in-house, right here in Guetersloh, to successfully complete our project. All the expertise was here and the biggest challenge was to combine and direct our know-how towards a fully functional product," recalled Deutschmann about the project work. The most important resources are the technical expertise and experience contributed by the Bertelsmann Arvato AG subsidiaries Sonopress and topac Multimedia. Sonopress, the second largest CD replicator in the world, brought unparallelled knowledge in CD mastering to the project. topac, a leader in special packaging, print products, and holography, lent their years of experience in foil technic. With the help of specialists, including coating and materials experts, the product was conceived, further developed, realized as a prototype, and finally mass-produced.
Speed of production is one significant benefit of the flexCD. The cycle time for producing a flexCD is a mere 0.3 seconds, whereas the production of a rigid CD takes ten times longer. A further advantage of the flexCD: the production costs are lower than for a traditional CD. „Our innovative production process enables us to use rolls of polyester instead of polycarbonate. This is important because we save time and money when using polyester foil," said COO Ralf Rosowski. "This product will certainly open up new markets for storage media."
"The flexCD will be used as an advertising tool and data carrier for a range of applications. With relative ease, the flexCD can be inserted into magazines or wrapped around a soda can like a sticker," relayed Erik Hunter, vice president, business development, who is also responsible for marketing the flexCD. Hunter believes there are other important uses for the flexCD in direct marketing and promotion. "We are looking to reach markets where the costs and weight associated with the rigid CD have prevented its use," said a smiling Hunter as he showed a few thin books and magazines that until now could only include a maximum of one traditional CD.