FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Shigehiro Nakajima) has announced that it commenced, on January 23, the operation of Line 8, a production line for “Ultra-wide FUJITAC*” used in large-screen LCD TVs, at No.4 Plant of FUJIFILM Kyushu Co., Ltd. (Kikuchi-gun, Kumamoto; President Satoshi Sakamoto).
Line 8 produces retardation film for VA mode** LCD panels, a type of Ultra-wide FUJITAC which achieves wider viewing angle and better contrast. VA mode LCD panels are most widely used for large-screen LCD TVs. Line 7, which is due to go operational in March this year, produces Zero retardation film for IPS mode** LCD panel used for reducing color fluctuations when the screen is viewed from an angle. Line 7 also handles Plain TAC, widely used in various types of LCD panels as protective film for the polarizing plates.
The LCD panel market has recently seen a rapid surge in demand for small and medium-sized panels for tablet computers and smartphones, but the demand for large-size panels, which have driven the market's growth, is also expanding at a stable rate. The introduction of LCD TVs with increasingly large screens has delivered a two-digit growth in screen area per annum, with further growth anticipated in coming years.
Ultra-wide FUJITAC will be manufactured at Fujifilm Kyushu No.4 Plant's Line 8, which has just launched its operation, and Line 7, which is due to start production in March, to contribute to efficient production of LCD TVs with a screen size of 40 inches or greater. Line 7 is capable of producing 2500mm-wide film, the largest-ever width to be manufactured thus far. No.4 Plant is a cutting-edge production site, running on electricity generated on-site with the new natural gas co-generation equipment*** in pursuit of efficient energy use in the production process. Line 8, in particular, uses half the amount of energy previously used*4 per unit of film area by producing ultra-wide film, accelerating the production line speed, and adopting energy saving measures such as extensive reusing of steam and heated water generated in the process of production.
One existing line at Kanagawa Factory's Ashigara Site (Flat Panel Display Materials Production Division) will become a dedicated facility for developing and producing products for small- and medium-sized displays. This factory began mass production of 25µm FUJITAC in January. The company also plans to manage one more line for developing and producing products for small- and medium-sized displays at FUJIFILM Opto Materials Co., Ltd. (Haibara-gun, Shizuoka; President Mitsuhide Sugiyama) This is part of a move to reinforce the business foundation for the development and production of new thin-type films including thin zero retardation film for IPS mode, to cater to the rapidly-expanding demand for tablet computers and smartphones.
Fujifilm will continue to aggressively pursue research and development of new technologies for stable supply of flat panel display materials and to contribute to the industry's growth as the leader in this business.
* Ultra-wide FUJITAC is protective film for polarizing plates, widened to 1900mm or greater as opposed to conventional widths of 1330mm (regular) and 1490mm (wide) films. It contributes to the efficient production of large-screen LCD panels
** LCD TVs can be divided mainly into the following categories according to the orientation of liquid crystal molecules: (1) TN (Twisted Nematic) mode, (2) IPS (In-Plane Switching) mode and (3) VA (Vertical Alignment) mode. Computer monitors and TVs smaller than 32 inches mainly use (1) TN mode, while large-screen LCD TVs, laptops, smartphones and tablet computers use (2) IPS mode, and large-screen LCD TVs and regular mobile phones use (3) VA mode.
*** A combined heat-and-power system that uses steam or water to capture and utilize by-product heat from power generation
*4 When compared with the production lines of VA mode film in regular width