Latest Expansion to Meet Surging Demand for Polyimide Film Used in Thin Panel Televisions
TOKYO, August 7, 2006_Ube Industries, Ltd. today announced that it had begun the tenth and eleventh expansion of its production facilities for polyimide film, which it sells under the brand name Upilex™. These latest expansions are driven by surging demand for polyimide film used in thin-panel televisions, including LCD and plasma televisions and the expanding market for mobile devices, including mobile phones, and digital appliances. The expansion will take place at the Sakai Factory in Osaka Prefecture, and is expected to go online in fall 2008. Once completed, the latest expansion will increase Ube's production capacity for Upilex™ by 35%. The company will also build new facilities for the production of the monomer raw material used for polyimide film.
Polyimide film is used in circuit boards for electronic and information devices. The company expects future demand for polyimide film to grow by more than 15% a year, driven by the increasing sophistication of mobile phones, PCs and digital appliances and the growth of these markets.
Ube Industry's Upilex™ polyimide film holds a dominant market share and is a rising industry standard in the tape automated bonding (TAB) segment, with major applications for LCDs and plasma displays. Upilex™ is also highly sought after in the chip-on-film (COF) segment, as the method gains ground for use in large, increasingly high resolution LCDs.
Upilex™ is also highly sought after for its outstanding dimensional stability, even when used for flexible printed circuits (FPC) that form high-density circuits. Ube Industries plans to aggressively expand this market in the coming years.
The eighth expansion of production facilities for polyimide film, slated to go online in September this year, and the ninth expansion of production facilities, slated to go online in October 2007, are currently being built. Ube Industries determined that it must aggressively enhance its production capacity and ensure a stable supply system based on the rapid growth of the LCD and PDP markets in recent years and the expected huge rise in demand for use in FPCs.
Along with enhancing its polyimide film facilities, the company will build a new facility on adjacent land to increase production capacity for BPDA, a raw material used in making Upilex™. This new facility will account for a considerable amount of the increased production of polyimide film, but the company will also be incorporating enhancements into its twelfth or later expansion of polyimide film production facilities.
The expansion will take place at the Sakai Factory in Osaka Prefecture in order to further dilute the risk posed by having the production base concentrated at the Ube Chemical Factory in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The company also expects that local efforts, such as Osaka Prefecture's High-Tech Bay Plan, Sakai City's Industrial Development Vision 21, and the revitalization of the Sakai-Senboku Coastal Industrial Zone, will favorably influence production and improve the facilities. The expansion will attempt to enhance and expand the company's business foundation as a second base for its polyimide business.