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Flat Panel Display Glass

AGC boasts leading shares in flat panel display glass

From smart phones to large flat-screen televisions to mobile phones, computer monitors and digital signage, flat panel displays (FPD) are indispensable for a wide range of popular products.
FPD come in many different sizes and varieties varying by application, and AGC enjoys the number two and number one global market shares in glass substrates for thin film transistor liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD) and plasma display panels (PDP) respectively.

AGC is the first to manufacture FPD glass substrates using the float process

In the fields of sheet glass for architecture and automobiles, glass is made using the float process, which involves forming glass in a large furnace by being stretched horizontally – a process AGC has honed through many years of accumulated experience to supply markets with high-quality glass. However, glass substrates for electrical components are most often manufactured using the fusion process, which involves vertical stretching in a small furnace to form glass. This process was primarily developed by other glassmakers for making small lots of diverse glass types. Conventional logic dictated that the large furnace used for the float process was unsuitable for the precision required of FPD glass substrates.
AGC, on the other hand, recognized the future potential for growth in the FPD market, and through trial and error, was able to successfully mass-produce and market FPD glass substrates using the float process, becoming the first company to do so. Although AGC was late in entering the TFT-LCD market, our unique manufacturing processes have helped us secure the number two global market share in this field.

Environmental conscious TFT-LCD glass substrates

TFT-LCD glass substrates are equipped with transistors on the surface that drive liquid crystal. For this reason, unlike regular glass, alkalis must be eliminated from TFT-LCD glass. This is because alkali-ions contaminate LC materials and even unfavorably affect the characteristics of the TFT. Additionally, during the production of regular glass, air bubbles form during melting, and must be removed using arsenic and antimony. Under the Substance Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) guidelines, arsenic is considered a Class 1 Designated Chemical, meaning it is a harmful substance that is feared to have negative effects on the human body and the environment. AGC has developed alkali-free glass technology that does not utilize any of these harmful substances, and our environmentally friendly FPD glass has garnered much praise.

Our PDP glass substrates have become the de facto industry standard

Since PDP production processes operate at high temperatures, manufacturers demand PDP glass substrates with high thermal stability that are resistant to deformation at such temperatures. AGC aims to develop new glass structures and production technologies, and has pioneered in producing PD200, a glass substrate with a higher strain point than that of conventional soda-lime glass. As with TFT-LCD glass substrates, we have also introduced the float process in the production of PDP glass substrates, enabling low cost mass-production. Other manufacturers are now designing peripheral components that take advantage of AGC’s PD200 glass substrate characteristics, making it the de facto industry standard for PDP glass substrates

AGC technology supporting "thin," "light weight," and "large size" panels

As TFT-LCD and plasma televisions continue to become larger, the demand for compact products and high-resolution are also on the rise – the expectation is for thinner, lighter screens and higher levels or performance from glass substrates. AGC’s long-term approach in this area is to increase our R&D efforts, while implementing more environmentally friendly production processes. Large or small, AGC possesses the technological prowess to produce display glass for a wide range of needs.
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