Gas shortage halts some Sharp LCD panel production

Supplies of industrial gases used in panel production have been disrupted by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan

Sharp has halted production of LCD panels for televisions in Japan because last month's massive earthquake and tsunami has disrupted supply of industrial gases.

The company has decided to suspend manufacturing of larger panels for televisions, but said it can secure enough gas to maintain production at two factories that make small and medium-size panels for devices such as cellphones and laptop PCs.

Sharp didn't say which gases are in short supply, but production of LCD panels typically uses common industrial gases such as argon and nitrogen, as well as more specialized gases including nitrogen trifluoride and sulphur hexafluoride.

The production halt affects two of Sharp's LCD factories in west Japan: the Kameyama plant in Mie prefecture and the Sakai plant near Osaka. Sharp expects to resume production after the week-long Golden Week holiday that takes place during the first week of May.

Production of flat-screen televisions will continue because Sharp has a one-month inventory of panels, said Miyuki Nakayama, a company spokeswoman. A drop in demand for flat-screen TVs after the quake influenced the company's decision to prioritize production of smaller panels, she said.

The Sakai plant, which was opened in 2009, has a maximum monthly capacity of 72,000 sheets of motherglass -- the large sheets on which several LCD panels can be made. Each sheet of glass used in Sakai can accommodate six LCD panels in the 60-inch class, eight panels in the 50-inch class, or 15 panels in the 40-inch class.

The Kameyama plant was opened in 2005 and processes smaller glass sheets, but it can handle 100,000 of them per month. Each of the glass sheets processed in Kameyama can be used to make eight 40-inch class or six 50-inch class LCD panels.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesconsumer electronicssharp

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?