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FINE TECH JAPAN 2015 – a popular trade show for advanced materials – was held at Tokyo Big Sight a couple of weeks ago. The three-day trade show began on April 8, and included two related events – Photonix 2015 and Advanced Material World 2015. Concurrent shows included Film Tech Japan, Metal Japan, Plastics Japan and Ceramic Japan. More than a thousand companies and organizations were represented at the show and used up all the available floor space. Most of the companies reserved mid- or small-sized booths, and the only foreign companies in attendance hailed from Taiwan and Germany.
The name of the trade show gives away the types of products on display – advanced materials. A few keynote speakers that represented larger material companies featured products that were supposed to be revolutionary, but this was not the case. Their presentations were regurgitated from last year. I remember thinking to myself that these companies have had no significant breakthroughs in technology or processes in the last few years. On the other hand, there were a few smaller companies that introduced a few innovative products that could have some practical use.
Flat panel displays and touchscreen panels used to be the predominant products at the convention; however, a lot of businesses from Japan have already shifted to Korea and Taiwan. For this reason, there was not too much promotional activity or presentations from this segment. Taiwanese companies were very state-of-the art with their displays. While their booths were relatively small, they exhibited completed display devices including OLED modules and touch panels.
Printable electronics and RTR (Roll to Roll) manufacturing were included in many sales presentations. A few years ago, many companies promoted this segment as the next greatest breakthrough for the industry. Nowadays, many companies that play in these areas no longer promote the segment this way, instead, they displayed some small but practical developments assuming actual applications.
Jujo Chemical rolled out a new transparent conductive paste for a screen-printing process earmarked for flexible optical devices. The basic materials remain the same as previous generations, but the new paste has improved process capabilities with improved physical performances. Asahi Chemical Laboratory introduced a couple of new screen-printable inks – fine silver paste and graphite paste. Mino Group, a major printing equipment supplier, demonstrated a hybrid process for screen-printing and transfer printing for fine printing on non-flat surfaces. And lastly, Nakanuma Art Screen introduced a new screen mask with a high dimensional stability made from a photo-etching process.
Toray Engineering, a major RTR equipment supplier, introduced a couple of new patterning processes using thermal in-printing and laser patterning for fine patterning during the RTR process. Ushio, a major photo device supplier, unveiled a new patterning system called VUV-Aligner for use in printing transistor devices. Fuji Shoko, a supplier of RTR machines, demonstrated a compact RTR stamping machine. There were no innovative technologies on display, but there were many new practical ideas brought fourth from experts who have been in the industry for many years. The machines on display were custom-made, and I am sure that these new RTR machines work with high reliability.
I may have missed a few newly rolled-out technologies and products because the convention was so big. I look forward to next year's show and the chance to discover that one technology that everyone can’t live without.
Headlines of the week
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1. Solar Frontier (Major photovoltaic cell supplier in Japan) 4/2
Has started the operation of the 4th manufacturing plant in Miyagi Prefecture for CIS thin film photovoltaic cells with a capacity of 150 MW per month.
2. Toshiba (Major electric & electronics company in Japan) 4/6
Has opened a new R&D center of hydrogen energy in Fuchu Plant targeting 100 billion yen revenue by the year of 2020.
3. DNP (Major printing company in Japan) 4/3
Has developed a new blue resist with high brightness for the manufacturing of the LCD color filters.
4. Toppan printing (Major printing company in Japan) 4/6
Has developed a new3D touch screen panel module with copper mesh for automobile displays.
5. Sony (Major electronics company in Japan) 4/7
Will increase the manufacturing capacity of CMOS image sensor devices in Yamagata Plant to 87000 wafers per month from 60000 wafers per month.
6. Yokowo (Electronic component supplier in Japan) 4/10
Has developed a new thin LTCC substrate with high heat radiation for LED devices. Thickness range: 0.075 ~ 0.15 mm.
7. Kyocera (Major electronics company in Japan) 4/9
Will commercialize a new end mil “MFH mini” with a new chip shape for various hard metallic materials.
8. Furukawa Electric (Major cable manufacturer in Japan) 4/14
Has agreed to found a new JV with Fanuc for the manufacturing of the high power lase diode modules.
9. Ricoh (Major electronics company in Japan) 4/14
Has started a quick delivery service of parts and tooling for the manufacturing plants using 3D printers.
10. Fuji Film (Major film material supplier in Japan) 4/15
Has developed a new high density recording technology on barium ferrite base magnetic tape with 220 TB per reel. (123 Gbpsi)
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Dominique K. Numakura, firstname.lastname@example.org
DKN Research, www.dknresearchllc.com
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