MANHASSET, N.Y. LCD glass demand is expected to triple by 2007 as LCD TVs continue to boom, according to James Flaws, vice chairman and chief financial officer of Corning Inc.
During a keynote presentation at the Needham Investment conference earlier this week, Flaws said,
"Glass is on a 41 percent compound annual growth rate between 2004 and 2007."
Glass is the hardest and most sensitive component of the LCD TV manufacturing operation. In order to obtain and maintain flatness and surface consistency, the glass needs to maintain the required flatness, the equivalent of which would be "less than a four-foot wave in a 12,000-foot deep ocean," said Flaws.
Corning invented the proprietary fusion-forming technology that produces glass substrates, requiring no secondary polishing prior to entering the LCD manufacturing process. The technology also ensures a clean-sheet tolerance of no more than a single one-micron particle per surface area.
On Wednesday, Corning opened its LCD glass substrate facility at the Central Taiwan Science Park in Taichung, Taiwan. Corning said the plant, costing $1.5 billion, is its largest capital investment announced for a single manufacturing facility worldwide.
When complete, this facility will be among the largest LCD glass substrate fabs in the world and is designed for further expansion. The Taichung facility will ultimately manufacture Generation 5.5, Generation 6, Generation 7.5 and larger glass substrates for desktop monitors and the LCD televisions.
During the plant opening, Eugene A. Verdon Jr., president, Corning Display Technologies Taiwan, expressed his appreciation to government officials, saying that "not only do we expect Taiwan’s market to grow, but we also anticipate that the innovations and technological advances made in Taiwan will shape the global LCD industry."
Corning expects to hire and train hundreds of engineers, skilled technical workers and commercial staff for Taichung as well as its Tainan facility, established in 2001.
The plant is one of a global chain of glass plants that Corning has for LCD TV and notebook products.