TOKYO Toshiba Corp. will convert a former CRT factory in Himeji, Hyogo prefecture to handle volume production of SED (Surface conduction electron-emitter display) panels under the SED Inc. joint venture with Canon.
Canon Inc. originally developed the SED panel, a self-emitting flat panel that claims to have better picture quality and lower power consumption compared to the plasma and liquid crystal display panels. Toshiba has been collaborating with Canon since 1999 to develop large panels for TV products, and last October formed SED Inc.
Pilot panel production will begin August at Canon's Hiratsuka plant with a startup capacity of 3,000 units a month. The first panel will be sized in the 50-inch diagonal range.
The Himeji plant, 45 years old, was long used to build CRTs until Toshiba moved CRT production to a Chinese joint venture in Dalian, China. Toshiba, Canon and SED Inc. will reconstruct the building, investing about 180 billion yen (about $1.7 billion).
Volume production of SED panels will begin at Himeji in Jan. 2007 with an initial capacity of 15,000 panels a month, expanding to 70,000 panels monthly later in the year.