A pioneering British company plans to construct the world's first factory to manufacture flexible display modules for versatile ``read anywhere'' electronic products.
Plastic Logic Ltd., an enterprise spun out of Cambridge University in 2000, will begin turning out the thin, light, robust active-matrix display modules next year at a plant in Dresden, Germany. The site's initial capacity will reach more than 1 million modules per year, the firm said.
Plastic Logic, based in Cambridge, will produce large flexible PET substrate sheets on which electronic circuits will be printed. Plastic chips will be used as the control circuits behind flexible electronic-paper displays.
The devices can store the text of thousands of books or newspapers and eventually could replace paper, according to their advocates.
``Our displays will enable electronic reader products that are as comfortable and natural to read as paper, whether you're on the beach, in a train or relaxing on the sofa at home,'' said Chief Operating Officer John Mills.
``Wireless connectivity will allow you to purchase and download a book or pick up the latest edition of your newspaper, wherever you are and whenever you need it. The battery will last for thousands of pages, so you can leave your charger at home,'' Mills said.
The company has high expectations for its product, based on research into how consumers want to access information.
``Even in this age of pervasive digital content, our research shows that consumers are very reluctant to read on laptops, phones and [personal digital assistants],'' said Simon Jones, Plastic Logic's vice president of product development.
``We still carry around enormous amounts of paper. However, people are making less room in their lives for the weight and bulk of paper, and are becoming more sensitive to the environmental impact of printing to read.''
Cambridge, England-based Plastic Logic has raised $100 million in equity finance, led by Oak Investment Partners of Westport, Conn., and Tudor Investment Corp. of Greenwich, Conn.
Plastics industry investors include BASF AG of Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich.