It has been more than 35 years since the development of a Sharp electronic calculator incorporating an LCD screen. Since that time, the LCD has become the premier display unit in a variety of devices that are indispensable to peopleís lives. And now, LCD panels are installed in large, Full-HD TVs with about two million pixels. LCD panels are getting larger, and their quality is getting higher. Itís not an exaggeration to say that the evolution of LCD technology is synonymous with Sharpís history of innovation. Sharp engineers continue to take on the challenge as they come together at the Kameyama Plant to share their experience and wisdom.
Sharpís history of liquid crystal development
High quality LCD panels can only be achieved from the excellent actions performed during the production. Because of this, Sharp has developed proprietary technology for transporting large glass substrates and measures against dust.
Glass Transporting Technology
The eighth-generation glass substrate used at Kameyama Plant No. 2 in Japan are as large as 2,160 x 2,460 mm and only 0.7 mm thick. The substrates are extremely delicate - even the smallest excessive load can cause micro cracks, rendering the substrate unusable. Whatís more, the surface of the glass substrate is 2,000 times smoother than that of ordinary glass. If a substrate is carelessly touched, dust stuck to the surface will result in sub-standard products and, ultimately, will affect quality and yield rate. To transport delicate glass substrates without damaging them, Sharp has developed an original transporting technology. At the Kameyama Plant, driverless transport cars loaded with a number of glass substrates travel around the huge factory, ensuring the well-timed delivery of those substrates to the next process. The actual transporting, loading, and unloading is carried out quickly but gently with proprietary Sharp glass handling technology.
Measures against dust
Dust and dirt are the greatest enemies of LCD panels. Even the smallest speck of dust stuck to a panel in the manufacturing process will adversely affect the precision circuit, which activates the pixels. Full-HD LCD TVs have about two million pixels, and every single pixel must function without problems. The clean room at the Kameyama Plant boasts a high level of cleanliness, allowing only a few grains of pollen to penetrate an area the size of, for example, a baseball stadium. Although large glass substrates are continually carried in and out during the manufacturing process, Sharp keeps this level of cleanliness with proprietary technology.
Because glass is an insulator, it tends to take on static electricity and adsorbs dust from the air when transported. To counter this, Sharp has developed a proprietary anti-dust technology that keeps dust away from the glass substrate. This technology, born from coating technology, results in LCD panels that are free from dust-damaged pixels. It is an important technology that supports the production and quality of full-HD LCD TVs.