Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Market Synergies

Consumer Imaging Volumes Can Drive Down Technology Costs
The Kodak sensor fab in operation.
The Kodak sensor fab in operation.
The NVIDIA Quadro FX 5500 share technology and production efficiencies with the company's latest generation consumer graphics cards.
Two Kodak sensor silicon wafers, and various Kodak sensors including a medium format for camera backs (larger, square sensor), a long sensor for scanners/copiers, small square sensors for camera phones and rectangular sensors for machine vision. Manufacturing synergies cross market boundaries.
Mercury Computer Systems
The Cell Accelerator Board (CAB) is a PCI Express accelerator from Mercury Computer Systems card based on the Cell Broadband Engine (BE) processor. The CAB is designed to deliver 180 GFLOPS of performance in a PCI Express ATX form factor suitable for such applications as rendering, ray tracing, video and image processing and signal processing.
The Sony DFW-X710 (Industrial) IEEE 1394 camera shares both technology and production synergies with the PDW-F350 XDCAM HD Handycam (professional) camera.
PDW-F350 XDCAM HD Handycam (professional) camera.

By Keith Reid


Consumer LCD displays can be found in everything from an OLED screen on a mobile device to an 82" LCD television set. The total market is expected to reach $42 billion in 2007, according to IDC.

While the specialized commercial and industrial markets make up a marginal percentage of this total, they remain important markets that reap the full benefits of riding along on the consumer wave. However, this involves leveraging existing and previous generation fabricating plants (generally ranging from Generation 2 fabs to Generation 8 fabs) to produce essentially the same base component for both consumer and specialty markets. The LCD screen size increases with each fab generation, with the latest Generation 7 and 8 fabs currently producing screens centered on the needs of large-screen LCD TVs.

"To date, most of the drive is coming from the consumer side because the fab generations are accelerating so rapidly in how much money is required to install the latest production equipment," said Joseph Virginia, vice president, LCD business—Americas region, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. (San Jose, Calif). "From 2003 to 2005 you spent $1 billion on a new Generation 5 fab, and now you are looking at over $2.5 billion for a Generation 7 fab. It's three times the size, so you're getting three times the production efficiency, but at the same time you've at least doubled your fab costs so you know that you have to build your business initially around the mass market—the notebooks, monitors and television applications."

Virginia noted that using consumer screen sizes has not been an issue in the specialty markets, and that the trend is to leverage those existing sizes at the older generation fabs with upgrades to facilitate some of the more advanced features that come with the later-generation technologies.

"Gen. 4 and Gen. 5, which were state-of-the-art several years ago are now producing notebook and monitor displays as well as the specialty displays," said Virginia. "The specialty markets often require a more advanced feature set compared to what would typically be found on a standard notebook or desktop monitor. They usually require higher brightness, wider viewing angles, greater contrast ratios higher resolutions and other advanced characteristics. We are able to apply our wide viewing angle technology from our Gen. 7 produced commercial products to the smaller panels and also apply some of our high brightness technology. And, we can apply touch screens for applications or place a keyboard for a POS terminal or kiosk."

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