Unaxis to set up manufacturing, R&D center in Taiwan

Nov 03, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Quincy, CENS
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Taipei, Nov. 3, 2003 (CENS)--Unaxis Displays of Switzerland, a leading supplier of coating systems for thin film coatings needed for the flat panel display industry, recently decided to set up a manufacturing, R&D and logistics center in Taiwan.

Su Shih-jieh, vice president of Unaxis' Greater China display business division, said his company plans to invest over NT$1 billion (US$29.41 million at US$1: NT$34) in the proposed center in Taiwan. Su said the center will be located in northern Taiwan's Hsinchu area, the island's high-tech R&D and production citadel, and will supply the core plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) and physical vapor deposition (PVD) equipment for local thin film transistor-liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panel makers.

According to Su, the PECVD and PVD equipment for the production of sixth-generation TFT-LCD panels are too big and heavy to be transported by a B-747 cargo airplane, so they have to be locally assembled or produced.

Su said Unaxis decided to set up the center on concerns that Taiwan is a key global TFT-LCD panel production base and that makers in the line are expected to funnel over NT$500 billion (US$14.71 billion) into their 5.5th-, sixth- and seventh-generation panel facilities.

Just as done by other major global panel material suppliers, Su said that Unaxis' scheduled manufacturing, R&D and logistic center in Taiwan is expected to further strengthen the island's supply chain integration in TFT-LCD panel line.

In addition to Unaxis, AKT of the United States, the world's largest TFT-LCD equipment supplier, recently also announced plans to set up a R&D center in Taiwan to jointly develop niche equipment products for upgrading the island's panel industry competitiveness and prodding the development of Taiwan's precision machinery and parts industry.

At the just-ended 2003 FPD (flat panel display) International show in Yokohama, Japan, industry sources said, top executives of major local TFT-LCD panel makers, including AU Optronics Corp. , Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Ltd., Quanta Display Inc., Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. and HannStar Display Corp., were busy going around at the booths of major equipment suppliers. The sources said that as LG-Philips of South Korea has decided to place equipment orders soon, local panel makers are forced to make final equipment procurement decisions so as not to lag too far behind their major South Korean rival in next-generation product deployment.
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