News Releases 2006

Kuraray to Expand Production Capacity of Optical-Use Poval Film for Polarized Film
-Responding to Sharp Rise in Demand for Liquid Crystal Displays-

March 14, 2006
Kuraray Co., Ltd.

Kuraray has announced its decision to expand production of optical-use poval film, which serves as a base ingredient for polarized film, an essential component of liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Kuraray plans to add 30 million m² to its annual poval film production capacity by June 2007, for a total capacity of 91 million m² per year.

Owing to a huge rise in demand for large-screen LCD TVs and LCD monitors, the LCD market has experienced exponential growth. Though Kuraray nearly doubled its optical-use poval film production capacity in 2005, the Company has deemed necessary further investment in production capacity expansion to meet the steep rise in demand, which has surpassed initial expectations.

Through these efforts to enhance production capacity of optical-use poval film for polarized film applications, Kuraray is building a production structure capable of precisely responding to heavy demand, equal to 1.5 times its current capacity, by June 2007.

Production Capacity (million m² /year)
  Current Capacity Planned Increase Completion Date Capacity After Completion
Kuraray Saijo 31     31
Kuraray Tamashima 30 +30 June 2007 60
Total 61 +30   91

The new production line equipment will add 30 million m² per year, equivalent with equipment installed at Kuraray Tamashima in 2005, and will be capable of producing the wide poval film that is needed for larger LCD sizes. The new equipment is also suited to meet demands for high quality through its ability to manufacture new VF–PE optical-use poval film, which was developed last year and offers significant improvements in optical performance.

Polarized film absorbs light running in a molecular axial direction and transmits light only at a perpendicular angle, functioning like a shutter. It is a vital LCD component, made primarily of optical-use poval film. Polarized film is manufactured by first staining optical-use poval film with iodine and colorants, followed by a process of oriented stretching.

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

Outline of Facility Expansion

Location Kuraray Tamashima Co., Ltd.
Otoshima 7471, Tamashima, Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture
President Katsuhiko Nishiguchi
Capital ¥10 million; A wholly owned Kuraray subsidiary
Equipment capacity 30 million m² /year
Planned completion June 2007
Capital investment approx. ¥6.0 billion