SHENZHEN, China -- TCL's China Star Optoelectronics Technology Co., Ltd (CSOT) launches a new model of a high-end, small-sized low temperature poly-silicon (LTPS) display at their new research and development center in Wuhan, China on February 10th. The launch of the new model marks TCL's success in grasping the core technology of the 6th generation of LTPS and the early phase of its capability to produce high-end small-sized LTPS displays.
The assembly line of the 6th generation LTPS (oxide) LCD/AMOLED display panel built and invested by CSOT is the first such generation assembly line in China to adopt the LTPS technology. Compared to traditional TFT-LCD panels, LTPS can increase the electron mobility rate by a large increment, enabling the display to achieve a faster reaction speed, a higher level of brightness, increased stability, a decrease in weight, a thinner form factor, longer life and a reduced consumption of energy.
CSOT has also initiated cross-industry collaborations whereby the firm has joined forces with professional medical research organizations such as Beijing Tongren Eye Hospital and Sun Yat-sen University of Medical Sciences, among other specialized medical research institutions, to found the world's first nationwide innovation-based alliance focused on visual health. Currently, the alliance is advocating the establishment of an international standard for health and fatigue measurement through the deployment of a circular polarization technique, as well as overall improvements in the design of outdoor displays.
Backed by a strong portfolio of intellectual property patents, CSOT was able to launch the product ahead of schedule. In 2015, Wuhan CSOT applied for 620 patents in China, 614 of which were invention patents and six were utility model patents. During the year, the firm also applied for 167 patents through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), and 85 patents in the U.S. The research combined with the strong patent portfolio not only offers the company the technical wherewithal to launch the product ahead of schedule, but also the strength to successfully compete in the international arena.
With the goal of placing the model into mass production and of providing partners with more competitive products and solutions, CSOT's next step is to accelerate the product yield and output of the production line, while ensuring reliability of product quality. In time, CSOT expects to be able to produce 88 million display panels for high-end smart phones and mobile PCs every year.
CSOT's smart factory in Wuhan, China, is based on the deployment of a highly integrated communication network infrastructure. In the factory, automated conveyor belts, overhead trolley conveyors as well as automated cassette loading and unloading conveyors can be seen everywhere. The equipment transports the cassettes containing the glass substrate between production lines, enabling the automated transfer of the glass substrate upon completion of each of the four main processes in such a way that the processes that form the production of the LCD panels are connected by artificial intelligence. The automated transfer of the cassettes between processes is not only fast and efficient, but also guarantees the final quality of the product.
In the clean factory environment, the manufacturing system integrated with artificial intelligence is able to collect and analyze production data in real time, provide a visual presentation of the status of production as well as automatically run and, as necessary, modify the actions of the production equipment. More than a thousand robots can be seen at work in the massive front-end manufacturing rooms, handling the array, color filter (CF) and cell segments of the LCD production process. Human workers are few and far between. The few human workers among the robots are there only to conduct basic inspections of the workplace. Such a production environment ensures maximum efficiency.
Wuhan CSOT plans to automate the warehousing of the materials and the end products, the scheduling of the production, and, eventually, even the repair and shipping of products, by standardizing each production process module, instituting of a logic-based decision-making process through the analysis of big data and automating the management and control of the production modules, leading to the creation of the fully-automated factory and taking the lead in inspiring other manufacturers across China to do the same.