Fri, Aug 30, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Willow Glass to feature in touch, solar and lighting products from next year

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Corning Inc, the world’s top LCD glass supplier, yesterday forecast its flexible Willow Glass would feature in touch sensors, solar and lighting products next year.

Harrison Smookler, a commercial director for Willow Glass, said customers including touch sensor makers and display manufacturers are testing Corning’s bendable product.

As touch sensor makers use roll-to-roll processing technology, which is similar to the manufacturing process used to make Willow Glass, it would be easier for touch sensor makers to reach optimal yield rate, Smookler said.

However, display makers produce displays using sheet-to-sheet processing technology and they have to overcome this technological change, he said.

Smookler said the product would be a cost-saving touch sensor solution. The glass can be used even in low-cost applications aimed at emerging markets, as well as in automotive displays, helmets, or other wearable devices, but Smookler declined to disclose which device will be the first to be equipped with touch sensors using the glass.

James Hollis, director in charge of Corning’s Gorilla Glass sales and engineering, yesterday said more than 30 consumer electronic brandshave adopted Corning Gorilla Glass.

Though some analysts blamed expensive touch modules for the lower-than-expected penetration rate of touch-enabled laptops, Hollis said that from the touch module’s standpoint, Corning did not bring a large incremental factor to the cost of the functionality.

He said Corning’s glass only accounted for 2 percent of touch-enabled notebooks’ selling price.

Hollis was optimistic about the demand for Gorilla Glass NBT as according to market research, touch-enabled notebooks represent the next wave of growth in the touch market with the potential to nearly triple in unit volume over the next several years. “With this opportunity, unit growth and increase in screen size for the handheld market, we believe that the demand for Gorilla® Glass in terms of square area could more than double by 2016” Hollis added.

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