Corning, N.Y. — Corning said its board approved a $174 million capital expenditure for the expansion of a Generation 8 LCD glass substrate plant in Shizuoka, Japan.
The company plans to ship samples of its Gen 8 size LCD glass (2,160mm by 2,400mm) from this facility in the second quarter. Commercial shipments of Gen 8 glass are expected in the third quarter, with additional capacity continuing to ramp up through late 2007.
In addition, Corning announced that it recently signed a supply agreement making Corning the majority glass substrate supplier for Sharp’s Gen 8 LCD manufacturing plant in Mie Prefecture, which is currently under construction and expected to open later this year.
Sharp’s new factory will be focused on LCD TVs that are 40 inches and larger. Corning’s new investment will add Gen 8 glass capacity to meet Sharp’s future supply requirements, the company said.
The Gen 8 substrates manufactured at the facility will be Corning’s new EAGLE XG glass, which it launched commercially in March. EAGLE XG is the first LCD substrate free of all heavy metals including arsenic, antimony and barium.
It is also free of halides, such as chlorine, fluorine and bromine, making it the most environmentally-friendly LCD glass on the market.
“Corning continues to be the leading supplier of large-size glass substrates for the LCD industry,” said James Clappin, co-president of Corning Display Technologies. “We are increasing capacity to meet the anticipated future supply requirements for high-quality large-size glass substrates to support the growing LCD TV market. We believe that LCD TV will continue to become more competitive in the 40-inch and larger-size range, especially with its exceptional HDTV performance,” he said. “We are closely monitoring consumer demand for LCD television and we will pace our manufacturing expansions accordingly.”
“Sharp is a very important customer for us here in Japan, and we are pleased to continue our strong, long-term relationship with them,” James Clappin, Coring Display Technologies president. “We are excited to announce both the expansion of our Gen 8 capacity at Shizuoka and the supply agreement.”
Corning predicts that the global LCD glass market will grow between 40 percent and 50 percent this year and that Corning’s volume will grow at a rate greater than the overall market.
The company also said that LCD TV penetration should reach 19 percent of the total television market in 2006. LCD TVs accounted for 11 percent of the global television market last year.
In response to the growing demand for large-generation LCD glass substrates, Corning has fully expanded its Tainan, Taiwan, facility.