May 10, 2018 // 10:36 a.m.
Glass specialist Corning has officially opened its latest factory, manufacturing the largest LCD glass substrates in the world: Generation 10.5.
Best known for its Gorilla Glass and related families of products - extra-hard glass used as the upper surface on touchscreens to protect against scratches and chipping - Corning supplies glass to the majority of the liquid-crystal display (LCD) industry. Its latest plant, located in the Hefei Xinzhan Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone of the Anhui Province, China, is an indication of just how big both the company and the products it creates have become: The factory has been opened to build the largest LCD substrates in the world, suitable for building 75" displays more economically than the smaller competition.
'The Hefei Gen 10.5 LCD glass facility is the next milestone in the display business, enabling us to make the world's largest glass substrate to support the growing global demand for large size TVs,' claimed James P. Clappin, president of Corning Glass Technologies, during the launch ceremony. 'As the industry's innovation and market leader with the most experience in large Gen substrate production, we're proud to support the development of China's LCD industry.'
The generation numbers for glass substrates refer to panel size, rather than any underlying technology: The next largest size manufactured by Corning, Gen 8.5, measures 2,200 × 2,500mm; the new Gen 10.5 substrate sheets, by contrast, measure 2,940 × 3,370mm, making it perfect, the company claims, for 60" and larger TV production - and is the first Gen 10.5 substrate suitable for use in thin-film transistor (TFT) displays.
The Hefei facility was announced back in December 2015, and began shipping its first sample-production substrates in late 2017. This week's opening marks its shift into full-scale production. The factory's current output is earmarked for Chinese display maker BOE Technology Group, with which Corning has signed a long-term supply agreement.