Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd. of Tokyo has formed a California subsidiary to manufacture as many as 800,000 plastic screens annually for rear-projection television sets.
The unit, DNP Electronics America LLC, will use an ultraviolet-light-curing process, subsidiary President Masanori Sakoda said in an e-mail.
The parent firm started the project with a 2 billion yen ($16.1 million) investment. The 90,000-square-foot plant in Chula Vista, Calif., is to start production in April.
Dai Nippon will sell the 43- to 73-inch-diagonal screens to makers of consumer-market, rear-projection TV sets in the North American market.
An automated line will pour epoxy acrylic, three other monomers and a photo initiator into a metal mold to form the grooved Fresnel lens surface. Separately, an imported base plate of polymethyl methacrylate, styrene copolymer and butadiene provides structural support for the lens. The entire package of materials is cured with a UV light.
Each of two UV-curing machines in Chula Vista will have capacity to make 400,000 screens per year, said Michael Derr, sales and marketing account manager.
Dai Nippon claims a 60 percent share of the global market for rear-projection TV screens involving Fresnel and lenticular lenses, with plants in Mihara, Japan, and Karlslunde, Denmark. The California plant will bring Dai Nippon's annual capacity to 3 million screens.
Dai Nippon entered the rear-projection screen market in 1981 and, in August, disclosed plans to begin production in Mihara of a new, enhanced-contrast screen with a high-resolution lenticular lens for TVs using cathode-ray-tube projection. Dai Nippon said worldwide industry demand is 3 million sets this year and should grow to 5 million units in 2005, reflecting more interest in digital broadcasts and large screens. Kuraray Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, also makes the screens.
Dai Nippon had sales of 1.29 trillion yen (US$12.2 billion) for the fiscal year ended in March 2000.