Applied Materials, Inc. reports that its flat panel display (FPD) and roll-to-roll coating systems are providing the advanced technology to enable more cost-efficient and scalable touch panel designs.
These systems, which include the Applied SmartWeb™ and New Aristo™ platforms, are delivering the speed and sophisticated process control to apply a wide range of films for all touch panel substrate configurations – including flexible, rigid or a combination of the two. The versatility of these systems has allowed customers around the globe to quickly ramp their new designs from development to volume production while meeting challenging cost targets.
“The touch panel industry is a dynamic, rapidly-growing business and we expect it to be a key driver of growth for the flat panel display equipment market,” said Jim Scholhamer, vice president and general manager of Applied Materials’ Display and Glass Products group. “We’re seeing an enthusiastic response from component manufacturers for our SmartWeb and New Aristo products, and have shipped multiple systems worldwide to optimize and differentiate customers’ advanced touch panel products.”
Touch panels are ubiquitous – from smartphones to ATMs, and tablet computers to information kiosks – with new applications continually emerging in both the consumer and public display market. According to market research company DisplayBank, touch panel revenues are expected to grow more than 45% year over year in 2010 and have a compounded annual growth rate of more than 25% over the next four years. This rapidly growing market represents an opportunity of more than $200 million for deposition equipment during this timeframe.
The production-proven Applied New Aristo system uses physical vapor deposition (PVD) technology to deposit ultra-thin conducting, insulating and optical enhancing layers on large glass sheets up to 5.7m2 in size, enabling customers to produce extremely sensitive layers for advanced touch panel technologies at low cost. The New Aristo system is the industry leader for indium tin oxide (ITO) and silicon dioxide (SiO2) thin film deposition for FPD production.
The highly-configurable Applied SmartWeb system allows up to 12 different thin films to be deposited simultaneously on rolls of flexible material up to 1.4m (4.6ft) wide, enabling complex touch panel structures to be created in a single pass. The system’s high productivity and unique versatility have revolutionized the production of flexible touch panel elements.