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LCD brightness improvement films demand to grow 30% by area in 2009, says DisplaySearch

Post Time:Apr 14,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:825

The demand for brightness improvement films used in TFT-LCD backlights will grow by 30% on year to 116 million square meters in 2009 from 89.6 million square meters in 2008, according to DisplaySearch. The growth is driven by expansion of LCD TV area, which is expected to grow by 19% in 2009. Looking forward to 2012, the market is expected to grow by double digits annually, representing a good business opportunity for more film makers to participate and to improve the technology.

Brightness improvement films are films or sheets that are used in TFT-LCD backlight units (BLUs) to improve the luminance efficiency inside the BLU or to recycle the luminance in the backlight system, the research firm noted.

Prism sheet is a micro-replicated prism-structure film used in LCD BLUs to enhance luminance by directing light from the light source (CCFL or LED). The most common prism sheet is 3M's BEF (brightness enhancement film). Leading backlight prism sheet suppliers include 3M, Mitsubishi Rayon, LG Electronics, MNTech, Shinwha, DNP, LGS, Gamma, E-fun, Suntech, SKC Haas and Samsung Cheil, DisplaySearch added.

Multi-functional prism sheet is an advanced film that combines the prism and diffuser functions by using beads, doping or surface micro-lens structures to direct the light with higher efficiency than normal prism sheet. Suppliers of multi-functional prism sheet include 3M, Shinwha, MNTech, Samsung Cheil, E-fun and LG Electronics. DisplaySearch observed that Korean TFT-LCD makers have been faster than Japanese or Taiwanese panel makers in switching from normal to multi-functional prism sheets, although Taiwanese panel makers have been faster in reducing the number of CCFL tubes in backlight units.

Micro-lens film combines diffuser and prism functions in one film by using a micro-lens array structure. Many LCD TV panel makers replace conventional prism sheets with micro-lens films. LCD makers have successfully used two micro-lens films in place of a prism sheet and up/down diffusers in some mainstream sizes like 32-inch, 37-inch and 40-inch LCD TVs. Most micro-lens film suppliers are Korean companies, such as MNTech, SKC Hass, Shinwha, LG Chemical and LG Micron, said the research firm.

Reflective polarizer, or DBEF (dual brightness enhancement film), is a 3M proprietary technology that reflects light that is not properly polarized back into the BLU. After reflection inside the backlight, the light may be properly polarized and thus passed by the film. This has the effect of "recycling" light that would otherwise be absorbed by the LCD polarizer, a major source of efficiency loss in LCDs. A reflective polarizer can increase the brightness by more than 30% and is the most efficient among the alternative film solutions. 3M is the dominant supplier; however, there are new similar films and providers emerging such as NPRF from MNTech in Korea, CLC film from Shinwha in Korea, Zeno film from Zeonor in Japan and Woongjin from Korea.

"Films that improve the brightness of the backlight and the LCD module are very important for cost reduction and green panel design," noted Brian Chen, DisplaySearch research director. "However, while the area demand is growing, revenues for these films will decline by 15% in 2009 due to pricing pressure and film cost reduction. As this trend is likely to continue for the next few years, it is critical for film makers to continue making technical improvements to reduce production and materials costs."

Demand forecast for brightness improvement films (million square meters)

Film Type

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Normal prism sheet

48.7

52.1

58.6

65

72.2

Multi-functional prism sheet

5.3

9.0

11.1

14.8

18.2

Micro-lens film

25.3

44.4

52.2

61.8

67.4

Reflective polarizer

10.4

10.7

10.8

11.2

12.3

Total

89.7

116.2

132.7

152.8

170.1

Y/Y

 

30%

14%

15%

11%

Source: DisplaySearch, compiled by Digitimes, April 2009

Source: DIGITIMES Author: shangyi

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