It sometimes takes a while for a new technology to really come into its own. Fifty years is rather a long time - but that's how long Corning's Gorilla Glass has taken to find its niche.
The super-strong glass - first developed in 1960 - is ideal, says Corning, for the new generation of display screens, and it plans to ramp up its manufacturing.
The glass hung about without many applications until a year or so ago, when companies including LG and Samsung started using it for mobile devices. But it's now perfect, says Corning, as a strong thin screen for HD and 3D TVs.
"The need for additional Gorilla glass capacity is based in part on the product's new application as a TV cover glass." says Wendell P Weeks, chairman and CEO.
"Gorilla glass has already been embraced by information technology and handheld device makers, and the addition of the TV cover glass application creates a tremendous opportunity for further growth."
Gorilla Glass is an alkali-aluminosilicate thin sheet glass which the company says is thinner and lighter-weight than any other protective glass. It comes as thin as 0.5mm. It's produced by a proprietary fusion-draw process, then given a chemical strengthening process.
"Its pristine surface and high optical purity fulfills the demanding requirements of high-definition and 3-D TV and permits seamless edge-to-edge designs," says Corning.
Corning expects Gorilla glass sales to exceed $200 million this year in its Specialty Materials segment, and estimates that sales could reach approximately $1 billion annually by 2011.
The company plans to invest around $800 million to construct a new LCD glass substrate facility in China. The construction is scheduled to start in September of this year, with production slated to begin in the first half of 2012.