Kuraray has announced its decision to expand production facilities for optical-use poval film, which serves as a base material for polarized film, an essential component of liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Kuraray plans to add 15 million m² to its annual poval film production capacity by mid 2008, for a total capacity of 136 million m² per year.

The LCD market is undergoing extraordinary growth on a global scale. Against this backdrop, and particularly owing to the general overall trend toward larger LCD TVs, signs are emerging that poval film demand expansion will further accelerate.

Kuraray currently boasts a total annual poval film production capacity of 61 million m² at two manufacturing bases, namely Kuraray Saijo Co., Ltd (Saijo City, Ehime Prefecture) and Kuraray Tamashima Co., Ltd. (Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture). Ongoing production facility expansion, scheduled for completion during 2007, will also effectively double this capacity, with an additional 60 million m² planned. In order to steadily address the expected increase in future demand, Kuraray has decided to promptly commence further expansion of production facilities. Having determined that Kuraray Saijo is the most appropriate site for facility expansion, Kuraray will bolster its twin-pillar production structure with the aim of securing stable supply to meet the ongoing needs of the global LCD market.

Production Capacity (million m² / year)
  Kuraray Saijo Kuraray Tamashima Total
Current Capacity 31 30 61
Mid 2007 31 90 (+30) 91
End 2007 31 90 (+30) 121
Mid 2008 46 (+15) 90 136

The new production line equipment will utilize the same technologies applied to equipment currently being installed at Kuraray Tamashima as a part of facility expansion work in progress. This new equipment is suited to meet stringent quality requirements through its ability to manufacture new VF-PE optical-use poval film, which was developed in 2005 and offers significant improvements in optical performance. In addition to the aforementioned facility expansion at Kuraray Saijo, Kuraray plans to upgrade processes to satisfy more sophisticated quality requirements. The Company will first secure poval film supply capacity through further production expansion, and then methodically pursue its process upgrade plan.

Kuraray will continue to actively pursue new technological developments and quality enhancements as the leading manufacturer of optical-use poval film for polarized film, thereby contributing to LCD market expansion.

Outline of Facility Expansion

Location Kuraray Saijo Co., Ltd.
892 Tsuitachi, Saijo City, Ehime Prefecture
President Yasuhiro Hirose
Capital ¥10 million; A wholly owned Kuraray subsidiary
Equipment capacity 15 million m² / year
Planned completion Mid 2008
Capital investment Approx. ¥4.0 billion