Corning Inc. recently announced an expansion of its LCD glass and Gorilla glass manufacturing in response to strong market demand.
At a construction cost of $800 million, the new facility will be located in the Beijing Digital TV Industry Park within the Beijing Economic Technological Development Area. Groundbreaking is planned for September of this year, with production slated to begin in the first half of 2012.
The manufacturing plant will have up to Generation 8.5 glass-melting and finishing capabilities. Corning's investments will also include construction projects in other regions to expand capacity for two of its flagship products: EAGLE XG LCD glass substrates and Gorilla glass.
As previously announced, the company has restarted an expansion project at its Taichung (Taiwan) LCD glass facility and is ramping up idled capacity at its facility in Shizuoka, Japan to produce Gorilla glass for various applications. The company now intends to expand further in Taichung under the new capital expenditure plan, with additional capacity projected to come on line in the first half of 2012.
Corning expects Gorilla glass sales to exceed $200 million this year in its Specialty Materials segment, and estimates that sales could reach approximately $1 billion annually by 2011. Gorilla glass is a protective cover glass that provides superior damage and scratch resistance on hundreds of models of handheld devices and smart phones.
"The need for additional Gorilla glass capacity is based in part on the product's new application as a TV cover glass," Wendell P. Weeks, CEO explained. "Gorilla glass has already been embraced by information technology and handheld device makers, and the addition of the TV cover glass application creates a tremendous opportunity for further growth."
The company is also forcasting strong growth for LCD glass for the next several years. "This growth will be driven primarily by continued market penetration of LCD televisions, with significant gains in Asia and South America, and an accelerated technology replacement cycle in more mature global markets. Therefore, we are making the appropriate capacity investments to take advantage of this projected demand," said James P. Clappin, president, Corning Display Technologies, Asia.
"China is not only one of the world's leading consumers of LCD televisions; it is also poised to become a major producer of LCD panels for TV applications within the next several years,"Clappin added.