March 17, 2005 – Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co. will begin mass-producing liquid crystal panels with touch panel capability next fall, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. This new product, developed by the company last December, has sensors built inside a 3.5-inch liquid crystal panel that can detect the movement of fingers touching the screen.
Ordinary touch panels contain touch-input components that are attached to the outside of the display. Because the touch feature is built inside this new panel, the equipment can be thinner and lighter.
Plans call for production of 10,000 to 50,000 units per month at a plant in Fukaya, Saitama Prefecture. The plant’s production lines have been equipped with special masks and other supplies to facilitate production of the panels.
However, the Fukaya plant makes liquid crystal panels for mobile phones and is already operating at full capacity. As a result, when output has to be increased to meet growing demand for touch panels in mobile devices, the plan is to shift production to a new building slated to open in April 2006. The building is located at the company’s plant in Kawakita, Ishikawa Prefecture.