PDP's are the new generation of (wall-mounted) large screen TVs, which are increasingly being used in home-environments. The coated PET film has high visible transmission to maintain optical clarity of the PDP and is electrically conductive to provide EMI shielding of the display panel. At the same time, the film is highly reflective in the infrared to block infrared generated in the plasma of the display from interfering with infrared-based remote controls of these devices. For the first part of this year, Southwall Technologies worked with one of its existing customers, Mitsui Chemicals Inc. on the development of this new film. The product has now been developed to a level where pre-production quantities are being shipped to MCI on a monthly basis.
"We were very fortunate to be able to work with Mitsui Chemicals on this product," said Dr. Sicco W. T. Westra, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Chief Technology Officer. "Their knowledge in the area of film requirements and coating design for this specific application, combined with Southwall's expertise with high volume production of electrically conductive, infrared blocking films allowed us to quickly design and produce a product that meets the stringent requirements of the PDP filter market."
The structure of the new coating is similar to the company's patented XIR© coating. Over the past year, Southwall has shipped over 35 million square feet of its XIR© film for solar control in automotive windshield applications.
"This new product fits extremely well in Southwall's product offering, " said Thomas G. Hood, President and Chief Executive Officer of Southwall Technologies. "It allows us to participate in a fast growing segment of the Display Products market, while leveraging our experience with high volume production of our XIR© film. In addition, we believe that having MCI, who already is a key supplier, co-developer and customer for this product, will allow us to quickly gain a significant share of this market segment."
According to a recent study by Stanford Resources, the PDP market is forecasted to have an average annual growth rate of close to 60% over the next three years and will reach sales of over 2.5 million units in 2004.
About Southwall Technologies Inc.
Southwall Technologies (www.southwall.com) designs and produces technologically advanced thin film coatings that selectively absorb, reflect or transmit electromagnetic radiation. Southwall products are used in a number of architectural, automotive and electronic products to enhance optical and thermal performance characteristics, improve user comfort and reduce energy costs. Southwall exports advanced thin film coatings to over 25 countries around the world for use in products manufactured by such companies as Audi, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Renault, Peugeot-Citron, Volvo, Saint-Gobain Sekurit, Pilkington, and Mitsubishi Electric.