Ube Industries,Ltd. (President: Kazumasa Tsunemi) has decided to carry out an eighth expansion of its production facilities for polyimide (trade name: Upilex), based on the readily apparent growth in demand for use in IC package materials for LCD drivers, and flexible printed circuits (FPCs).
Polyimide film, which has outstanding resistance to heat, is widely used as materials for electronic circuits in electronic components for information technology equipment. Looking forward, we expect that demand will continue to grow at annual rates of 15% or more, fueled by expansion and increasing sophistication in markets for mobile phones, personal computers, digital home appliances and similar products.
Thanks to its outstanding dimensional stability, Ube's polyimide film sets a de facto standard for the industry, and enjoys an overwhelming market share in Tape Automated Bonding (an automated method for mounting ICs) in the LCD (liquid crystal display) segment. In the future, as the resolution of LCD panels increases, chip on film (COF) applications are expected to take off; customers have a high opinion of Ube products in this segment as well.
Also, as mobile devices and digital electronic appliances become increasingly sophisticated and those markets continue to expand, Ube expects to enjoy increased demand for flexible copper-clad laminate (CCL) base film.
In the FPC sector, as trends toward multilayered and modular products advance, we have high expectations for Upilex, with its outstanding dimensional stability and appropriate degree of elasticity.
Ube launched its seventh expansion phase in this area in December 2003, but already we are again at full capacity utilization, thanks to robust demand. In order to respond to further increases in demand in the future, we have determined we must actively strengthen our production capacity once again, and make efforts to ensure continued stable supply, so we have decided to embark upon an eight expansion of or the production works at our chemicals plant in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Completion, scheduled for the summer of 2006, will mean a 30% increase in our production capacity.
We regard specialty products, of which polyimide is a part, as a core business at Ube Industries, and we are aiming for a robust expansion of this business. We are actively developing our business in sales of varnishes and monomers used as raw materials in making polyimide, as well as downstream products in the polyimide realm such as dual-layer CCL and COF. In addition, we are focusing our energies on new business areas such as highly heat resistant polyimide composite materials for aerospace applications, temperature-control film and porous polyimide membranes.