For fabricators, the LCD picture lacks high definition

Jan 01, 2009 | 11:36 AM |

The liquid crystal display (LCD) market is a relatively bright spot for indium fabricators despite a recent slowing after four years of incredible growth.

That means orders received by fabricators from LCD manufacturers and everyone in between should stay positive, given that indium is used in a transparent conductive indium-tin oxide coating that LCDs simply can't do without. As such, indium supply for LCDs is expected to remain positive for decades, although it could be somewhat volatile, fabricators say.

Almost 90 percent of indium consumption is accounted for by LCDs, which make up nearly half the global television market, according to AIM Specialty Materials USA, a Cranston, R.I.-based alloyer. Almost all consumer electronic devices require an LCD. Indium also is used in solar and battery applications. AIM believes that indium-tin oxide demand will rise to 2,193 tons in 2009 from 1,755 tons in 2008.

Another factor driving indium demand is the enlargement of LCD screen sizes for such electronics as the Apple iPod and growing incorporation of touch-screen interfaces into LCDs, which could lift the amount of indium used per panel. Small LCD screens can even be found under kitchen cabinets.

While the economic crisis is impacting the LCD industry, the dent doesn't appear to be anywhere near as deep as in other sectors. LCD glassmaker Corning Inc., Corning, N.Y., recently revised its growth estimates in the glass market for 2009 to 15 to 25 percent from 20 to 25 percent previously.....

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