Shortages continue on hectares of LCD glass

Supplies of glass substrate for use in the TFT LCD manufacturing market continue to be tight and the situation won’t ease until the fourth quarter of this year.

That’s according to market research firm Displaysearch, in a report that shows demand for the substrate continues to exceed supply.

But the picture is different in Taiwan, Korea and Japan, said Tadashi Uno, director of materials and components research at Displaysearch.

This table from Displaysearch shows TFT LCD glass substrate supply and demand, with the figures representing thousands of square meters a month.

17,024 19,074 20,549 21,000
15,098 18,958 19,603 19,225
Glut 11.3% 0.6% 4.6% 8.4%

“The economic crisis that hit in October 2008 impacted Taiwanese TFT LCD makers the most, due to currency differences and customer relationships. In Q4 2008 and Q1 2009,  TFT LCD makers consumed glass inventory and reduced glass orders, especially Taiwanese panel makers, so glass makers stopped tanks to avoid losing money.”

This was a miscalculation because demand for panels caused TFT LCD makers increased. In Q2 2009, said Uno, “TFT LCD makers began rapidly ramping up production, and are placing full capacity orders to glass makers. However, it takes one to two months to bring a stopped tank back to mass production, leading to glass substrate tightness.”

A number of glass makers are suppliers to the TFT LCD panel makers with Corning and a JV called Samsung Corning Precision (SCP) ruling the roost, as the following Displaysearch table shows.

Corning SCP AGC NEG AvanStrate
China 36% 18% 15% 31% 0%
Japan 34% 0% 60% 5% 1%
Korea 0% 59% 11% 22% 7%
Singapore 0% 0% 0% 22% 78%
Taiwan 43% 0% 36% 16% 6%
Total 17% 35% 23% 19% 6%