How do you think the new GigE standards will influence the machine vision industry?
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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."