1972 Electronics Expansion
DuPont purchased Berg Electronics Inc., maker of electrical connectors, as part of its effort in the early 1970s to increase its activity in the promising electronics market. Inventor/entrepreneur Quentin Berg founded Berg Electronics Inc. in 1950. DuPont acquired Berg Electronics’ manufacturing assets in Pennsylvania and the Netherlands. DuPont expanded the business worldwide through the 1970s and 1980s. Then, early in 1993 DuPont sold Berg Electronics as part of a strategy to exit non-core businesses.
DuPont’s involvement in electronics and computer technology reflects its commitment to targeting new technologies and expanding markets. The company’s involvement in the electronics industry began in the early 1950s when DuPont’s Pigments Department became the nation’s first commercial manufacturer of semi-conductor grade silicon. By the late 1950s, electronics companies like Texas Instruments had developed an improved silicon process and DuPont withdrew from that market, but during the 1960s, researchers in the Photo Products Department applied their expertise in films and photopolymers to the emerging field of microcircuitry. In 1967 Photo Products introduced Riston photoresist film for the etching and plating of printed circuits. Five years later, DuPont formed the Electronic Products Division and purchased Berg Electronics, a manufacturer of electronic connectors and interconnection devices used in computers, telephone systems and other industrial electronic equipment.
During the 1970s, DuPont developed new image transferring materials for printed circuit boards and photopolymer pastes used in the construction of hybrid conductors. The company also moved into electronic biomedical instruments with the purchase of the analytical instruments division of Bell & Howell in 1970, an acquisition that made DuPont a leader in the development of the automatic clinical analyzer for testing body fluids. The recession in the early 1980s spurred the company to move away from consumer production and concentrate on industrial electronics. In 1982 DuPont bought Solid State Dielectrics, a major supplier of materials used in the manufacture of capacitors. The subsequent acquisitions of Tau Laboratories Inc. and Nanomask, S.A. made DuPont a leader in photomask products for the European and American semiconductor industries. Through a series of joint ventures DuPont also developed components for fiber optic systems and optical data storage disks.
During the 1990s, DuPont focused on supplying materials for semiconductors, selling its analytical instruments and electronics connector businesses. The acquisition of Philips photomask operation in Germany and a joint venture with Shanghai Precision Photomask strengthened DuPont’s position in the photomask market for high-density computer chips. In 1999 the company unveiled DuPont iTechnologies, a new division committed to developing high-quality electronics and computer components for the global information market.