Bridgestone Expands Electronic Paper Production at Iwata Plant
Bridgestone Corporation is to expand its electronic paper operations with the installation of a new production line in its Iwata Plant (Iwata City, Shizuoka Prefecture). According to the company, the new line will entail an investment of approximately ¥1.0 billion ($11.8 million), and will triple the company's production capacity of electronic paper to 15,000 A3 sheets per month, compared to the current capacity of 5,000 A3 sheets per month. Production at the Iwata line will begin this month.
Previously, Bridgestone produced electronic paper at its Tokyo Plant, but will now consolidate all of its electronic paper production at the Iwata facility. The plants that were producing electronic paper are scheduled to be used as research facilities. Bridgestone began sales of its electronic shelf labels using electronic paper in fiscal 2009. Currently, over 1.5 million labels are in place on store shelves in over 200 supermarkets and other retailers throughout Japan and Europe.
Bridgestone expects demand for this technology to grow as the uses of electronic paper expand beyond electronic shelf labels and organizations strive to achieve paperless operations by employing electronic paper in the display boards of plants and logistics departments.
Bridgestone developed its “electronic liquid powder” to replace LCSs in 2002. In 2004, the firm utilized this new material to successfully develop electronic paper that can easily display letters and pictures and is able to maintain an image without electrical power. Bridgestone’s electronic paper is said to offer: excellent visibility, similar to that of actual paper; a wide viewing angle; the ability to display colour; and the ability to maintain an image without electrical power. Furthermore, it features fast display speed (30 times that of LCDs) and the ability to change the display instantaneously. It can also be used at low temperatures.