Starting production of ultra-wide retardation film for VA mode at an energy-efficient plant with latest equipment, contributing to efficient production of 40 inch+ LCD TVs
April 21, 2011 — FUJIFILM Corporation (President and CEO: Shigetaka Komori) has announced that it began operating a new production line for “ultra-wide FUJITAC” located in the Ashigara Site of its Kanagawa Factory (Flat Panel Display Materials Production Division) in early April. The new facility, which is the company’s 15th production line for FUJITAC, produces “retardation film for VA mode”, which improves television’s viewing angle and contrast when used in large-screen LCD TVs running in one of the display modes*1 called VA (Vertical Alignment). It is capable of manufacturing retardation film with the width of 2,300mm, which is up to 1.7 times wider than conventional films. These “ultra-wide FUJITAC” will contribute to efficient production of LCD TVs with the screen size of 40 inch and above.
The declining prices and increasing performance of LCD TVs are rapidly expanding their demands in industrialized nations as well as emerging economies. The shipment volume of larger LCD TVs of 40 inch or above, in particular, is growing at the rate of over 30% per year. By 2011, TVs of 40 inch or above are expected to account for over 50% of all televisions in circulation in terms of screen area. This has created a surging demand for “ultra-wide FUJITAC”, which enables efficient production of large-screen LCD TVs. Since last year, Fujifilm has been reinforcing its production capacity for “ultra-wide FUJITAC”. In addition to this new production facility that has just gone operational, production began at Line 4 of Fujifilm Kyushu’s*2 No.2 Plant in October last year, and is also scheduled to start at Line 7*2 of Fujifilm Kyushu’s No.4 Plant in October this year. When all planned facilities go operational, Fujifilm will have the total production capacity of 245 million square meters for “ultra-wide FUJITAC”, representing over 30% of all FUJITAC production.
The latest facility is operated with electricity generated on-site, using natural gas co-generation equipment*3. It has successfully halved the amount of energy used per unit area of the film through enabling the production of ultra-wide film, increasing the line’s production speed, and implementing energy-saving measures including thorough reusing of steam generated in the production process.
Fujifilm will reinforce the standardization of ultra-wide films, and provide “ultra-wide FUJITAC” that supports various LCD modes such as “retardation film for VA mode”, “Plain-TAC” and “retardation film for IPS mode”, thereby contributing to the improvement of production efficiency for large-screen LCD TVs.
* 1 LCD TVs can be divided 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. TVs smaller than 32 inch mainly use (1), while TVs at 32 inch or larger use (2) or (3).
* 2 Item produced at Line 4 of Fujifilm Kyushu’s No.2 Plant: Ultra-wide Plain TAC (1960 – 2300mm)
Item produced at Line 7 of Fujifilm Kyushu’s No.4 Plant: Ultra-wide Plain TAC, ultra-wide retardation film for IPS mode (both 1960 – 2300mm)
[Plain TAC] TAC film with no optical compensation and other functions. It can be used as a protective film for polarizers
[Retardation film for IPS mode] A film used for a polarizer in the IPS mode to reduce color fluctuations when the screen is viewed diagonally
* 3 A combined heat-and-power system uses steam or water to capture and utilize by-product heat from power generation