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Sharp Kameyama Mie Plant No. 3 -, Japan




Key Data


Sharp's Kameyama Mie Plant No. 3 integrates production of LCD TVs, from the LCD panels themselves right through to final product assembly. With a site area of about 330,000m², the plant started production of "System LCDs" in June 2003, four months ahead of schedule. Production of large-screen LCD TVs began in January 2004.

A second production line for large-format LCDs has been installed to meet the high demand for large-screen LCD TVs, digital still cameras, mobile phones, PDAs and mini-notebook PCs. The expansion nearly doubled the substrate input capacity from 6.5 million to 12.2 million units per month (15,000 to 27,000 substrates/month).

The Kameyama (Mie Prefecture, Japan) plant is vertically integrated to streamline material flow, production and inspection/testing. It uses very large mother glass substrates (1,500mm x 1,800mm), approx. 4.5 times the surface area of the substrate used at the company's Mie No.2 Plant. Each substrate yields eight 32in wide-format panels.

Sharp spent approximately ¥100 billion during phases 1 and 2 of the Kameyama Plant, followed by an additional ¥50 billion for the new 2004 phase 3, giving a total investment of around ¥150 billion.

MOBILE PRODUCTS FUEL DEMAND

Initial predictions were that LCD TVs would dominate screens sizes up to 30in, with plasma TVs taking over above that. Larger format LCDs are now available, however, and Sharp has even introduced a 45in model. The company has replaced all its conventional CRT TV sets in Japan and Europe with LCD-based models, and aims to do the same in the US by the end of 2006.

The LC Line of Sharp LCD TVs and video displays ranges from 13in to 45in with brightness levels from 350cd/m² to 450cd/m² (twice as bright as a CRT TV) and long life light bulbs. The displays can be operated on 12V making them perfect for mobile video LCDs. The super thin LCD TVs can also be wall mounted using optional mounts.

Sales of mobile phones with small- and medium-format colour LCDs are also growing fast, and Sharp is selling around 400 million units annually. Demands are continuing for higher display resolutions offering more functions.

The Kameyama plant uses a CG-silicon (Continuous Grain) based core technology. CG-Silicon has properties similar to those of single-crystal silicon, but with significantly higher carrier (electron) mobility than ordinary amorphous silicon or low-temperature polysilicon.

The process can integrate display and associated electronics onto the same glass substrate, greatly reducing the area required for parts mounting and external component count. Products equipped with these System LCDs can be made more compact with a thinner profile, lighter weight and improved reliability, while still adding features. Sharp has for example developed a new display that delivers both images and sound by integrating audio circuitry on the same substrate as the LCD panel. Substrates can hold such audio circuits or an 8-bit CPU together with a 2.6in VGA (300ppi) ultra-high-resolution display for watching TV on a mobile phone.

INTEGRATED PLANT REDUCES PACKAGING NEEDS AND TRANSPORT EMISSIONS

By eliminating the transport of LCD panels between different plants, the Kameyama Plant reduces the need for packaging material, with lower CO2 and NO2 emissions emitted from transport vehicles.

A cogeneration system supplies the plant with about one-third of its electricity needs, with waste heat being used for air conditioning. This reduces CO2 emissions by about 40% below previous levels. LNG (liquefied natural gas) is supplied through pipelines, eliminating the need for tanker truck transportation.

Sharp has also installed a solar power generation system, with about 600 photovoltaic modules incorporated into the factory walls. The plant collects all the wastewater from the production process (max. 9,000t per day) and 100% recycles it with water purification techniques using micro-organism treatment. The plant reduces discharges by reusing and recycling as much process waste as possible.

These design features won the plant the first 'Super Green' Factory in 2003. It also received a 2004 Pearl Japan Sustainable Management Award. The Kameyama Plant also received the grand prize at the 1st Nikkei Monozukuri Awards 2004, sponsored by Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc.

SYSTEM LCDs PRODUCED AT OTHER PLANTS

Leading Sharp brands include AQUOS Liquid Crystal Televisions, 1-Bit audio products, the SharpVision line of projection products, Viewcam camcorders, Sharp Carousel microwaves, Imager digital multi-functional systems, the Notevision line of multi-media projectors, and the Zaurus Personal Mobile Tool.

The Kameyama and Japanese Tenri plants work closely together. Tenri has a production capacity of 2.5 million 50mm units per month (the mother glass at Tenri is 620mm x 750mm).