March 30, 2000 in Social Responsibility News

SAMSUNG Corning Specialty Glass Emerges as World's Largest Producer of Glass for TFT-LCD Substrates

Samsung Corning Specialty Glass is making a major expansion to production facilities in order to accommodate the rapidly growing demand for glass used in FT-LCD substrates. The company is investing W400 billion to add new smelting ovens over the next two years to secure the world's largest production capacity for this specialty glass product. In 1996, Samsung Corning Specialty Glass became the only operation outside Japan to start up mass production of TFT-LCD substrate glass. Two new smelting ovens were started up as the company's production facilities this past February, and another two will be installed this year, one in July and the other in September. This will result in a fourfold increase in smelting capacity. Two more ovens will be added next year as well. Company resources have also revealed that more facility expansion will follow in 2002. This dramatic increase in production capacity is aimed at responding to growing demand in Korea. It is also part of a global strategy by Corning Glass Inc. of the US to secure bases for supplying TFT-LCD substrate glass to Southeast Asia. In Korea, Samsung Electronics and LG-Philips LCD rank first and second, respectively, in the world for TFT-LCD production. Hyundai Electronics has also added a new TFT-LCD production line, which will make it one of the world's largest producers of these sophisticated displays as well. The three Korean companies combined exported over US$4 billion worth of TFT-LCDs last year and plan to raise that figure to US$6 billion this year. Thus, the TFT-LCD has joined the semiconductor as Korea's mainstay electronic products for export markets. Currently, Korea holds almost a 40% share of the world market. The rapid rise in demand for notebook PC and LCD monitors boosted the TFT-LCD requirement at least 70% last year. This growth surge is expected to continue in the future. All three Korean TFT-LCD makers plan to expand production this year. In the second quarter of this year, moreover, Samsung Electronics and LG-Philips LCD will be the world's first to start up mass production of the largest substrate sizes available (730mm2 x 920mm2 at Samsung and 680mm2 x 880mm2 at LG-Philips). After completed the first expansion phase this September, Samsung Corning Specialty Glass will be capable of turning out four times as much TFT-LCD substrate glass as it produced last year. The total capacity increase will be raised to six times in 2001, after the second phase of expansion is completed. At that time, Samsung Corning Specialty Glass will be able to satisfy all of domestic demand as well as make inroads into overseas export markets. The increased production of LCD glass will greatly boost the percentage of TFT-LCD parts and materials that are made locally in Korea. In addition this year, Samsung Corning Specialty Glass will be capable of producing glass for the world's fourth-generation TFT-LCDs, which will have substrates measuring 1,000mm2 x 1,100mm2. This company was established as a 50:50 joint venture between Corning Glass Inc. of the US and Samsung Corning in 1995. The venture managed to localize the production of TFT-LCD substrate glass for the first time in Korea, saving local producers at least US$200 million a year in import costs. This annual import substitution effect will jump to US$400 million in 2002. Samsung Corning Specialty Glass uses sophisticated fusion techniques to make its TFT-LCD substrate glass (product #: 1737). This method does not require glass polishing yet the surface quality and physical properties are outstanding. As a result, it is very well suited for use in substrates that are larger and thinner than ever before. Samsung Corning Specialty Glass has completed development of super-thin (0.5mm and 0.6mm) panel glass, where as the standard product made at Corning Glass Inc. is 0.7mm. A lighter, stronger next-generation glass called "Millenium Substrate Glass" (product name: Glass 2000) is now under development, and Samsung Corning Specialty Glass plans to launch it next year. Glass 2000 will help TFT-LCD makers to greatly improve their productivity and product competitiveness.


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