Corning Display Technologies, one of Taiwan’s largest foreign investors, played host on July 12 to an AmCham Taipei field trip to its high-tech glass manufacturing plant in the Central Taiwan Science Park in Taichung. A group of 25 AmCham members and staff got the chance to see the highly automated, continuous process in which glass for smart phones, computer screens, and TVs is formed, cut, washed, and packaged.
In a briefing prior to the tour, Daniel Tseng, president of Corning Display Technologies Taiwan, stressed the importance of constant innovation in enabling the New York-based parent company to be a technology leader throughout its 168 history. On the average, the company annually invests an unusually high 8-10% of revenue in research and development.
Highlights of the Corning history include production of the glass for the first electric lightbulb, invented by Thomas Edison in the 1870s; the first television picture tubes; breakthroughs in optical fiber that have made modern communications possible; and the ultra-strong Gorilla Glass that protects many mobile devices.
Corning has invested nearly US$5 billion in Taiwan, and about 10% of the company’s 45,000 worldwide workforce is located on the island. Corning Display Technologies is one of the few foreign-invested companies in Taiwan that include R&D, design, engineering, manufacturing, and sales and marketing in a fully integrated operation.
Besides the Taichung site, Corning Display also manufactures glass at facilities in the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan. It also maintains administrative offices and the Corning Advanced Technology Center in Taipei, as well as a research center on the campus of the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Hsinchu.
Future areas for the company’s development include glass and ceramics for the automotive, life science, and mobile consumer electronics industries.
Given the non-stop glass-making operation that works around-the-clock, 365 days a year, Tseng emphasized the importance for Corning Taiwan of a stable and sufficient electric-power supply.