CEC-Panda of China has started work on a new fab in Chengdu, China that will use a G8.6 (2860 x 2290mm) fab that uses IGZO oxide TFT technology that the company has licensed from Sharp. It will use a copper conductor process (a process that was pioneered by LG) and will also use UV alignment for high contrast.
The company hopes to be in production in the first phase in the beginning of Q2 2018 and IHS told us that it was likely to start with 50″ panels and then moving to larger sizes. A second production line will be introduced at the end of 2018 of around the same size, so in total, the input capacity will be 120K substrates per month once the ramp is complete by mid 2019 or a bit later.
Of the $4.2 billion investment, split between the two phases, and CEC is putting in almost 30% of the money for the first phase, with the balance from the regional government. Funding for Phase 2 may come from other sources.
Licensing from Sharp is a good way to go – switching to IGZO and other oxides has proved much more difficult than many thought when the concept was proposed. However, the push to higher resolutions reduces aperture ratios, so to make more efficient panels, you have to make the transistors smaller. CEC Panda already has a G8.5 fab in Nanjing. (CEC Opens IGZO Line)
Separately, Orbotech said that it had received orders for inspection equipment for the fab (CEC Panda Places $40 Million Order with Orbotech) and Korean analysts have suggested that Vessel Ltd of Korea will win business from this development. (BR)