Vol.1 CC-Link and CC-Link IE The Most Widely-Used Networks in Asia
CC-Link Partner Association &
China Optics and Optoelectronics Manufacturers Association LCD Branch
The Chinese FPD Industry Continues to Grow.
"CC-Link and CC-Link IE Will Meet The Challenge of Production Advancement"
For flat panel display (FPD) production, large-scale equipment and complex processes are required. Production lines for FPDs require the most advanced automation technology. How can automation technology including industrial open networks contribute to their advancement? Ms. Naomi Nakamura, the global director of the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA), interviewed Mr. Xinqing Liang, the secretary general of China Optics and Optoelectronics Manufacturers Association LCD Branch, which is a business organization for development of the FPD industry in China, which has a strong large-scale FPD sector. Mr. Liang is also the vice chairman of BOE Technology Group which has led the LCD industry from the earliest days.
Ms. Nakamura (hereinafter: N )I would like to hear about the general condition of the FPD industry in China.
Mr. Liang (hereinafter: L )First, I am going to explain the history of the FPD industry in China. Starting from around 2003, Chinese companies entered the FPD industry with LCD panels. This was ten years after the entry of Japanese and Taiwanese companies.
BOE Technology Group (hereinafter: BOE), which I work for, was one of the earliest companies to enter the FPD industry in China. Originally, BOE produced CRTs (cathode ray tube). But we quickly took notice of the movement of the industry shifting from CRTs to FPDs, and entered the FPD industry in 2003 by buying Hyundai Display Technology, an LCD panel manufacturer in South Korea. At the beginning, the 3.5-generation glass substrates were used in production lines at BOE. Then BOE constructed new LCD panel factories for the 5th-generation glass substrates in Beijing in 2005. About that time, Shanghai Electric Group Co., Ltd. and InfoVision Optoelectronics (Kunshan) Co., Ltd. also established their 5th-generation LCD panel factories. Hence this was the time when the Chinese FPD industry was getting established. NThe Chinese FPD industry is now such a large industry, isn't it? LYes, it is. Chinese central government and local governments regarded FPD as an important industry and have provided various supporting measures for FPD manufacturers. This is the reason why the FPD industry has grown greatly in the last decades. Now, there are 14 FPD production lines in China. In addition, six more are planned to be built. As of 2011, China contributes about 6% of the world's LCD production. However, with these new lines in operation, this will rise to about 20%.
Shifting to OLED displays changes production lines
NVarious factors are related to the LCD market growth during recent decades, and I think one factor is that the glass substrate size has been growing. That is, using the large glass substrates improved productivity and reduced production costs, which lead to expansion of the LCD market. Corresponding to this trend, large production equipment started to be used and production processes became more complex. Then even some production control problems emerged. To solve such problems, CC-Link technology contributes in various ways. However, this trend seems to have changed a bit lately, Mr. Liang?
LAs you pointed out, the technology to produce large glass substrates has given LCD panel manufacturers competitive strength. However, this trend is changing lately because producing the larger size of glass substrates does not always result in production cost reduction.
On the other hand, the Chinese FPD industry will take a new step, a shift to the OLED display field. Although most OLED displays in the current market are small or medium size, in the near future, large OLED displays will be produced and used for television receivers. Accompanying this trend, the mainstream of FPDs may be changed from LCD to OLED displays.
Actually, some parts of an LCD production facility can also be used for OLED display production. In other words, by replacing some equipment of the LCD production facility and changing the layout of the production line, OLED display production facilities can be set up. In the near future, this trend of production facility shift to OLED displays will be remarkable.
Many of the large FPD manufacturers have employed CC-Link
NI expect that CC-Link will have a greater opportunity to be used when many manufacturers shift their production facilities to OLED display production. CC-Link technology has been already used by many FPD manufacturers. In fact, I heard that CC-Link was used in 80% of the factories of the world's five main FPD manufacturers. I also heard that CC-Link was used in the factories of large FPD manufacturers which already started OLED display production.
CC-Link, which was born in Japan, has gained a large market share in Asia, especially in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, the capitals of the FPD industry. One of the reasons for the large market share in Asia is that the world-famous FPD machine manufacturers located their factories in Japan, where CC-Link was born. After those machine manufacturers had adopted CC-Link, the FPD manufacturers also started using CC-Link. That is why CC-Link is now widely used in Asia. LWhat would you say is the reason those machine manufacturers started using CC-Link? NI believe that it is because such manufacturers valued the high reliability of CC-Link. For example, in a network where CC-Link is used, various information can be transmitted together with control data, but control performance does not change depending on an increase or decrease of data quantity to be transmitted. This is an important point for FPD production systems which require advanced control accuracy to transmit a large amount of information such as recipe data.
CC-Link is an open standard, and thus any vendor can provide products which are CC-Link compatible. Any of those CC-Link- compatible products helps users to build a stable network because the quality of the CC-Link-compatible products is controlled strictly by CLPA, the association to promote CC-Link. I believe that this is also valued by those manufacturers.
Introduction of "CC-Link IE" － 1Gbps communication speed
LAs I mentioned before, I expect that some LCD manufacturers will replace their existing production lines with OLED display production lines. Would you think it is possible to introduce CC-Link technology into their facilities at the timing of the renovation? NOf course. I think that many manufacturers will desire to improve productivity during the renovation. I recommend for those companies to use CC-Link IE, which uses the physical layer of Gigabit Ethernet. Once production processes are highly developed, information quantity on the network will greatly increase. CC-Link IE enables data transmission at the high speed of 1Gbps. No other industrial network standard but CC-Link IE has achieved data transmission at such a high speed so far. Actually, this specification was developed based on the demand from the LCD industry. LTo produce high-quality FPD panels, an extremely clean environment where no human work is involved is required as much as possible. That is why the FPD industry is one of the industries which especially require automation technology. As FPDs and their accompanying production technology continue to advance, the demands for automation technology will grow more and more. I would like to ask CLPA, through promoting CC-Link technology, to improve the technology to meet such demands. NI promise that we, CLPA, will definitely respond expectations from the Chinese FPD industry. The Chinese market is important to promote the CC-Link Family, such as CC-Link and CC-Link IE. Our "Gateway to China" programme was created to accelerate the promotion of the CC-Link Family in China, and supports companies whose business is related to CC-Link to enter the Chinese market. I believe that the CC-Link Family will be more and more used in China as a result of this activity. Thank you so much for today's interview.
Mr. Xinqing LiangChina Optics and Optoelectronics
Manufactures Association LCD Branch
Ms. Naomi NakamuraGlobal Director
CC-Link Partner Association
- CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA)