During the field trip to Japan, the committee visited the glass, chemical, printing, and machinery industries that support the LCD industry, as well as the Japan Electronics Show '91, where new consumer products were seen. It was clear that there exist within Japan the elements of the complete business cycle--display panel material; display production machinery; factories for LCD, EL, plasma, and so forth; and an end-use market. Additionally, almost all the peripheral electronic and display-based product electronics are made in Japan. The only exceptions of note are that approximately 70% of the basic LC materials are manufactured in Europe, and approximately 90% of the a-Si TFT glass substrates and EL glass substrates are manufactured in the United States by Corning. Corning has announced that it will build a glass factory in Japan.

The end-use products for HIC FPDs include hand-held televisions, word processors (Often used in Japan as translators from Roman and Japanese Kana characters to Kanji characters),computers, (Sony) Data Discman (Sony sold 60,000 units in the first six months of the product, and picture telephones. Each complete product is made in Japan.

Additionally, the production of FPDs is not completely vertical within a company. A typical example is the a-Si TFT AMLCD made by Sharp. A schematic diagram of the display fabrication/assembly process is shown in Figure 1.1. The TFT substrate is made at the Sharp factory in Tenri. The color matrix substrate is made by an unidentified Japanese printing company and is shipped to Sharp, where it is combined with the TFT substrate and filled with LC material. The large-scale integration (LSI) drivers on tape-automated bonding (TAB) are made at another Sharp factory. The completed panel and drivers are shipped to subcontractors for final assembly. The completed display, for example, may then be shipped to Hitachi for assembly into an end product such as the Sony Watchman and shipped to Sony for distribution and sales.

Figure 1.1. Major Elements of Color Active Matrix LCD

Published: June 1992; WTEC Hyper- Librarian