TOKYO Canon Inc. plans to invest about $200 million to establish a surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) R&D center to increase the competitiveness of SED panels among other flat panels, such as plasma and LCD displays.
The R&D center, which will be wholly owned by Canon, will be located in the neighborhood of the company's Hiratsuka plant in Kanagawa Prefecture, the base of Cannon's SED development and pilot production.
Canon and Toshiba Corp. formed a joint venture company called SED Inc. last October. Later this month, the SED company is set to begin pilot production of SED panels roughly 50 inches in size. The joint venture will have a monthly capacity of 3,000 panels at the Hiratsuka plant. Toshiba will assemble the panels into TV sets, which will be sold under the Canon and Toshiba brands in Japan next spring.
Canon entered into the TV market with the SED TV that the company has positioned as one of the mainstays for its future business.
Meanwhile, Toshiba is investing about $1.7 billion (180 billion yen) to remodel its Himeji plant in Hyogo Prefecture for SED volume production. The plant is scheduled to begin operation in 2007, with expected monthly production of 75,000 units.
SED panels have to compete with competitively priced when the format hits the market. Canon hopes to establish production technologies and equipment focused on lowering cost at the R&D center, according to a Canon spokesman.
The R&D center is scheduled to open next July with about 150 staff members.
The SED, originally developed by Canon, makes use of field emission phenomena. The panel basically has the same structure and uses the same phosphors as CRTs. But SED technology uses electron emitters, as opposed to the electron gun used in CRT technology. SED panels are said to feature high brightness, high color productivity and high-speed response, according to Canon.