Tom Heraly portrait

By Tom Heraly, MATC electronic technology instructional chair

From the preliminary information about the Foxconn Technology Group’s facilities, it appears the company will be building three production plants. These production plants will include a final assembly plant for LCD televisions, a modular component plant for creating components for televisions and other products, and a glass panel plant to produce TFT-LCD (thin film transistor liquid crystal display) glass panels. The production plants will likely be built in close proximity to each other to reduce any transportation or packaging damage to the components. The order in which the plants are built will depend on the demand for the type of products that they will produce.

I think it is likely that the final production plant will be built first with the modular component plant to follow in short order. The final production plant will probably be the largest due to the large size of the components coming into the plant (TFT-LCD glass) and the large size of the products leaving the plant (large-screen LCD televisions).
The modular component plant will supply smaller components to the final production plant as well as smaller components for the other Foxconn products in the U.S.,  including LCD flat panels for automotive and construction equipment.  The size will probably be smaller, but the product mix in this plant will be greater.  This means that Foxconn will produce a large variety of products with smaller production runs of each part.

The TFT-LCD glass panel production plant will probably be the last of the facilities to be completed. This production plant will be the most sophisticated of the three plants. The quality control and automated equipment needed to produce these type of TFT-LCD glass panels will rival anything operating in Silicon Valley or Houston.

Compare the silicon wafer manufacturing cells producing small wafers for use in semiconductor integrated circuits (Figure 1) to the TFT-LCD glass panel manufacturing cells producing large glass (think six large-screen televisions in two columns and three rows). This will require a Gen 10 manufacturing cell (11½ feet x 10 feet) to produce the proper size glass for a six-panel piece of glass (Figure 2). This plant will have the least number of workers, but will demand the highest skilled technology workers.

Foxconn Source corner figure 1

Figure 1 RENA Silicon Wafer Mfg. Cell

Foxconn Source Corner Figure 2

Figure 2 Corning Gen 10 TFT-LCD Mfg. Cell Dr. Peter Bocko

In the next Source Corner, Heraly will write about the type of production jobs needed in the final assembly plant.

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