Sharp Plans New LCD Plant
TOKYO, July 31, 2007 -- Sharp Corp. said Tuesday it will build a new 380 billion yen ($3.2 billion) LCD panel and solar cell plant in Sakai City, Osaka. Corning Inc. also has plans to construct facilities at the center, according to the Nikkei Japanese business daily.
On Friday, Corning announced strong second-quarter performance for its LCD applications. (Wendell P. Weeks, Corning chairman and CEO, also said its environmental technologies business sales -- of both light- and heavy-duty diesel products -- and its automative buisness increased but that sales in its telecommunications segment were softer than expected. Corning also recently introduced a new fiber technology for the FTTH market; see: Bendable Fiber Optics).
Conceptual drawing of Sharp's planned LCD plant (Image: Sharp Corp.)
Dai Nippon Printing Co., which manufactures color filters -- a core component of LCD panels, and Japan's Asahi Glass Co. -- one of the largest makers of LCD glass substrates -- also plan to participate in the center, Reuters reported. The companies are expected to spend up to 200 billion yen ($1.68 billion), the Nikkei said.
Sharp, known for its Aquos brand of LCD TVs, said in a statement that the project, which will involve a total investment of $10 billion, will be a "manufacturing complex for the 21st century" that will be the first in the world to use 10th-generation glass substrates (2850 x 3050 mm), 60 percent larger than the eighth-generation substrates used at its Kameyama Plant No. 2. This 10th-generation substrate will yield six LCD panels in the 60-in. class, eight panels in the 50-in. class or 15 panels in the 40-in. class, making it possible to fabricate LCD panels for large-screen TVs with extremely high levels of efficiency, it said.
Having other manufacturer set up plants next to it will improve productivity, enable shared infrastructure such as gas and electricity, reduce distribution costs, help in production planning and promote collaboration, Sharp said. "The aim is to achieve vertical integration that transcends the barriers between companies by pushing the vertically integrated business model created at the Kameyama Plant -- from LCD panels to LCD TVs -- further upstream in the supply chain." In addition, it said, "the close collaboration of Sharp engineers working with material and equipment manufacturers who have superior technical capabilities can be expected to engender new technical innovations through the fusion of knowledge and know-how."
The factory will be built the city of Sakai, in the southern part of Osaka prefecture, about 400 kms west of Tokyo, and will begin operating in March 2010, it said. Work is expected to begin this November.
Sharp said it also plans to build a thin-film solar cell factory at the site that will also begin operations in March 2010, and that details are in the review stages.
For more information, visit: www.sharp-world.com