Spending on TFT LCD manufacturing kit will hit $13.2 billion this year, with many manufacturers expanding their capacity or building new glass fabs.

Displaysearch said in a report that most of the LCD panel makers are seeking to grow capacity as fast as possible and vying with each other to make sure they can secure the equipment they need.

Demand for TFT-LCD panels has been strong through the first calendar quarter of this year and LCD TVs are rapidly pushing out older cathode ray tube (CRT) systems, said Charles Annis, Displaysearch VP of manufacturing research.

He said: "Many of the expansions and new fabs being built this year will continue to install equipment well into 2011, but as all this capacity ramps to full production, demand will have to continue to grow at high rates or the industry could be setting itself up for the next major over-supply and down side of the Crystal Cycle in 2012."

TFT-LCD
LCD Manufacturing Equipment Market
Source: Displaysearch Q1 2010, Quarterly FPD Supply/Demand Capital Spending


Fab utilisation is now close to full capacity, he continued. There's strong demand from China.

Displaysearch thinks that Korean manufacturers will account for the majority of kit bought in 2010, but in 2011 China will become a major player, along with Taiwan and Japan.

He said: "The rapid growth of the China market creates a variety of both challenges and opportunities for capital equipment companies. The opportunity of an expanded customer base is attractive for all suppliers and in particular for Korean equipment companies that are very cost competitive