Corning to build new smelting furnaces to meet LCD demand

Corning Glass Taiwan Co. announced recently that its U.S. parent is planning to set up at least six smelting furnaces worldwide in 2003, including one in Taiwan.
Corning predicts that demand for subs…

Corning Glass Taiwan Co. announced recently that its U.S. parent is planning to set up at least six smelting furnaces worldwide in 2003, including one in Taiwan. Corning predicts that demand for substrates used in thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal-displays (TFT-LCDs) will increase as manufacturers develop fifth generation TFT-LCD panels. Making the large-sized substrates for fifth-generation TFT-LCDs is more difficult than for smaller panels due to the higher processing error rate. The company said that the demand for large substrates is expected to rise rapidly in the global market beginning in 2Q of 2003. The company plans to set up new smelting furnaces to meet the increasing demand. According to Corning, the main obstacles to the expansion of large TFT-LCD substrate production are the shortage of smelting furnaces and the technical difficulty of the rear-section processing. In South Korea and Taiwan, Corning has already established rear section processing plants to make large substrates for fifth-generation TFT-LCDs. The Taiwan plant is located at the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park and supplies substrate to Taiwanese TFT-LCD manufacturers, including AU Optronics Corp., Quanta Display Inc., Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp., HannStar Display Corp., and Toppan CFI Taiwan Co. Although Corning faces a global shortage of large substrates its Taiwan plant will prioritise supplies to its contracted clients on the island. Corning is the world“s largest supplier of TFT-LCD substrates and also the major supplier to TFT-LCD manufacturers in Taiwan. The company now has some 20 smelting furnaces around the world. The new furnace in Taiwan is estimated to cost USD 100 million and will be the company“s first smelting furnace on the island. The furnace is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2003 and will officially begin operating early 2004.