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TFT LCD Manufacturers Move Notebook and Mini-Note Panel Production to Gen 5

Wed, 12/16/2009 - 5:56am
General Electric
AUSTIN, TEXAS, December 16, 2009—Driven by increased competition and taking advantage of new fab capacity, TFT LCD panel makers have increased the use of Gen 5 fabs to produce mini-note (netbook) and notebook PC panels. According to the latest DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area Production Strategy Report, 93% of mini-note panels were produced in Gen 5 fabs in Q4’09, up from 69% in Q4’08. Other than CPT and Toshiba, who produce mini-note panels in Gen 4 fabs, most panel makers are now producing mini-note panels in Gen 5.

Table 1: Mini-Note Panel Production by Fab Generation

 

Q1’08

Q2’08

Q3’08

Q4’08

Q1’09

Q2’09

Q3’09

Q4’09

Gen 4

23%

32%

28%

31%

20%

10%

10%

7%

Gen 5

77%

69%

72%

69%

80%

90%

90%

93%

Source: DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area Production Strategy Report

According to Shawn Lee, TFT LCD Analyst at DisplaySearch, “Because top-tier panel manufacturers have multiple generations of LCD fabs, they have the flexibility to modify panel production to produce panels with the highest efficiency. An increasing amount of LCD TV panel production is being transferred to Gen 7 and 8 facilities, and monitor panel production is shifting to Gen 6 and 7; even Gen 8 accounts for 5% of monitor panels produced in Q4’09.”

As new generation fabs are used for TV and Gen 6+ fabs are used for monitor panel production, panel makers have shifted production of notebook and mini-note panels to Gen 5. This allows for higher efficiency, as more panels can be produced on each substrate. These panel makers are dedicating Gen 3 and 4 capacity to small and medium panel production. To compete and survive, second-tier panel makers will produce small and medium panels in Gen 5; for example in Q4’09, 33% of HannStar’s Gen 5 capacity is being used for small and medium panels, and medium panels take up 15% of InnoLux’s Gen 5 capacity.  

Sharp’s Gen 10 fab in Sakai, which started production in Q3’09, is focused on 40-65” TV panels, including 46” HD and 56” 21:9 aspect ratio panels. Sharp is selling its Gen 6 Kameyama fab to CEC Panda in China, but since 26” TV panels are a very important product for the company, Sharp will use its Gen 8 fab to produce these panels—making it the first company to produce 26” panels on Gen 8.

Panel makers expect strong demand in Q1’10, and they are planning to increase production volumes to meet this demand. The total area input is forecast to grow 1.7% Q/Q, and unit volumes of panel output will grow 1.6% Q/Q. Notebook panel output will increase 4.5% Q/Q, monitor panels will grow 1.1%, and TV panels by 0.7%.

The DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area Production Strategy Report tracks TFT LCD manufacturers’ production strategies in each generation fabs by applications by sizes and by aspect ratio, includes forecasts by size, by aspect ratio, by panel manufacturers and by each fab through 2010. This unique report is the most comprehensive way to track panel maker capacity allocation and production strategy, as well as each panel makers’ utilization in each fab. For more information, contact Charles Camaroto at 1.888.436.7673 or 1.516.625.2452, email contact@displaysearch.com, or contact your regional DisplaySearch office in China, Japan, Korea or Taiwan.

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