David Kirkpatrick

August 6, 2010

Flexible display news

Filed under: Business, Media, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:37 am

The latest step in flexible displays is looking toward large-scale production a la roll-to-roll printers (think newsprint) to get costs down. I can’t wait to see the applications of bendable displays once they become relatively cheap and innovators, inventors and artists can start playing around with the material.

From the link:

Applied Materials is trying to solve this problem–and get an early foothold in a potentially huge market–by standardizing equipment that makes flexible displays. The company, the world’s dominant maker of equipment for manufacturing computer chips and liquid-crystal displays, is developing a process that could print flexible transistor arrays that perform just as well as those on rigid substrates. That would be required if flexible displays are to be viable.

Flexible and rugged electronics with plastic displays are likely to entice consumers. Nick Colaneri, head of the Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University, points out that devices like the iPad could be bigger, and take on new functions, if they could shed their breakable glass screens. But there’s also an appeal for manufacturers. Flexible displays could cost much less to make. They could be produced on roll-to-roll machines that operate continuously at high volumes, which is more efficient than the batch methods used to make conventional electronics.

September 18, 2008

Solar cell manufacturers in Taiwan see almost 70% increase in revenue

The press release hit my inbox this morning:

Taiwan Solar Cell Revenues Soar in First Half of 2008

Revenues Jump 69.6 Percent From Same Period in 2007 on Strong Demand From Europe and Increases in Average Selling Prices

TAIPEI, Taiwan and SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ — Taiwan’s manufacturers of solar cells used to generate electricity reported revenues in the first half of 2008 that soared by 69.6 percent from the same period a year ago on strong demand from European nations such as Spain and Germany.

Six of the solar cell makers listed on Taiwan’s stock exchange reported first half 2008 revenues of NT$35.6 billion (US$1.1 billion) compared with NT$21 billion in the same period a year ago, based on information the companies provided to the stock exchange authorities.

The companies are Motech Industrial Inc., Gintech Energy Corp., E-Ton Solar Tech, Sino-American Silicon Products Inc., Sinonar Corp. and Green Energy Technology. Motech, Gintech and E-Ton are among the world’s ten largest solar cell makers by revenues.

Demand for solar cells and other sources of alternative energy has taken off after prices of oil soared the past 12 months.  Governments in Europe and Japan have subsidized the installation of solar energy facilities.  Demand for solar cells in the first half of this year has helped to boost average selling prices (ASPs), according to analysts who cover the companies.

“There has been an increase in ASPs due to supply constraints and strong demand from Spain,” said Daiwa Securities analyst Pranab Kumar Sarmah.  “There has also been a strong output ramp for a few new entrants such as Gintech.”

Sarmah expects the next U.S. president to decide on a new Federal Income Tax Credit (ITC) for solar systems, which expires at the end of this year. Residential users may delay purchases until the new ITC is in place, and pent-up demand has the potential to explode from the second half of 2009, assuming the new president provides similar or better federal incentives, he adds.

Still, demand may slow during the rest of this year if some European nations cut subsidies, analysts say.

“While many seem to recognize the potential market impact from the reduced subsidy in Spain, industry players are still optimistic on the long-term growth prospects, which we agree with,” says Citigroup Global Markets analyst George Chang.

This year, the solar cell manufacturers have been the best performing segment in Taiwan’s high technology industry, which includes companies making everything from semiconductors, flat-panel displays, computers, mobile phones and digital music players, analysts say.

The strong outlook for the industry is attracting more investment and manufacturers in Taiwan’s solar cell business.

Green Energy Technology, which makes silicon wafers that are used as a basic material in solar cells, announced on Sept. 1 it won annual orders worth of euro39.86 million (US$58.77 million) to supply thin-film solar modules to Germany and Spain next year.  The company has been cooperating with Applied Materials of the U.S. to develop a new 8.5 generation thin-film solar production line in Taoyuan that can produce large 2.2m x 2.6m thin-film modules with a power output of 343W per unit.

Applied Materials is the world’s largest supplier of equipment used to make semiconductors, flat-panel displays and solar cells.  The company in July broke ground for expansion of its Taiwan Manufacturing Center to meet demand for flat-panel display and solar cell manufacturing equipment.  The company estimated the investment to be worth about US$17 million.

Taiwan Glass Industrial Corp. said earlier this year that starting in August, it would invest US$11.9 million to start production of special glass used in the production of solar cells.  By 2012, the value of Taiwan’s solar industry production may reach NT$500 billion as the government promotes the use of sources of energy alternatives besides oil, according to Taiwan Premier Liu Chao-shiuan.

Taiwan should endeavor to develop green environmentally friendly industries and high value-added knowledge-intensive industries, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration said in a statement on its website. The government has helped to fund investments in solar cell research and technology as it aims for foster development of this new industry.

  Motech Industrial Inc.

  Gintech Energy Corp.

  E-Ton Solar Tech

  Sino-American Silicon Products Inc.

  Sinonar Corp.

  Green Energy Technology

Please visit http://www.taiwantrade.org.tw/ or http://www.brandingtaiwan.org/ for more information.

Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA)

The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) was founded in 1970 to promote Taiwan’s foreign trade and competitiveness in world markets. Over the past 38 years, TAITRA has played a key role in the development of the Taiwan economy. TAITRA is jointly sponsored by the government and commercial associations and is viewed by all as the business gateway to Taiwan for the international business community.

Source: Taiwan External Trade Development Council

Web site: http://www.taiwantrade.org.tw/

August 13, 2008

Applied Materials makes over $5M gift to UC Berkeley

The University of California at Berkeley is doing some interesting work in nanotechnology (such as this “cloak of invisibility”) Applied Materials, the Santa Clara-based nanotech company is making that progress easier to achieve to the tune of more than $5 million.

Here’s a press release outlining the gift:

Applied Materials Advances Semiconductor Research at UC Berkeley With Significant Equipment Donation

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Applied Materials (Nasdaq:AMAT) is advancing semiconductor research with an equipment and service donation to the University of California, Berkeleys Nanofabrication Laboratory in the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). CITRIS is a center of excellence for graduate students, faculty and industrial researchers to create nanotechnology solutions for many of the worlds most pressing social, environmental and health care issues.

In order to accelerate breakthrough technologies, we believe it is important for students to work on advanced equipment and gain hands-on experience working on semiconductor devices,said Om Nalamasu, Deputy CTO and Vice President of Advanced Technologies at Applied Materials. We are pleased to be part of CITRIS and look forward to working together with students and faculty, and to a stronger affiliation with the University.

Applied Materials gift consists of processing equipment and a service contract valued in excess of $5 million. The systems complement Applied Materials equipment that was donated to the university in 2002.

These advanced systems will be used by our engineering students to accelerate groundbreaking research in semiconductor and related nanofabrication technology that may fuel an array of new discoveries,said Shankar Sastry, Dean of the College of Engineering. We thank Applied Materials for its continued support as these tools will be valuable to the Universitys programs.

CITRIS will foster work on novel semiconductor devices and their integration with nanowires/nanotubes, microelectomechanical systems (MEMS), optoelectronics, and bioelectronics. The systems donated by Applied will be used to deposit two of the most critical thin films that are part of next-generation integrated circuits: epitaxy and gate dielectrics.

In addition, as a result of Applied Materialsinvestment and continued support, UC Berkeley will dedicate a collaborative laboratory within CITRIS, known as a Collaboratory,to Applied Materials and it will be devoted to energy research. The Collaboratory is a key feature of CITRIS, providing faculty, students and industrial researchers with spaces for project-driven collaboration. The capability of The Collaboratory combines well with Applied Materials solar strategy to bring significant change to the industry by developing new technologies that enable lower cost-per-watt solutions for solar cell manufacturing with the goal of making solar power a significant alternative source of global energy.

Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq:AMAT) is the global leader in Nanomanufacturing Technologysolutions with a broad portfolio of innovative equipment, service and software products for the fabrication of semiconductor chips, flat panel displays, solar photovoltaic cells, flexible electronics and energy efficient glass. At Applied Materials, we apply nanomanufacturing technology to improve the way people live.