Research & Development
With our activities in Research & Development we are pursuing a simple goal: We want to improve the standard of living for people all over the world through innovative technologies. Therefore, we invest 6.5 per cent of our net sales in over 8,000 researchers and numerous research projects and facilities all over the world.
Linear optimization and quantum leaps
Basically, our research activities can be split up in two categories. First, we are consistently working on the enhancement of existing technologies and products – that is to say, we are pursuing constant linear optimization. Moreover, we are continuously breaking new ground as pioneers with our research projects. We develop and research innovative technologies and products which are the ”quantum leaps“ many further applications are based on.
Oxford – Tradition in innovation
Our central research facilities in Europe are the Sharp Laboratories of Europe (SLE) in the Oxford Science Park. Their research activities are focused on new technologies in the area of LC displays, information technology, semiconductor laser, voice and encryption software, and applications in bio-science. The European research facilities form part of an international network of R&D centres, e.g. in Japan and the USA.
Kameyama II – Dream factory in "Crystal Valley"
Kameyama II is a real masterpiece, not only in terms of production technology. The world’s first LCD factory of the 8th generation is a R&D centre and employs top scientists from all over the world. The high concentration of technology and know-how has had an impressive spin-off effect: Meanwhile numerous companies from the liquid-crystal industry are based in the vicinity of Kameyama II, therefore the region is called "Crystal Valley" nowadays. Also to the benefit of Sharp, since we can excellently use the synergies created here for R&D.
Sharp Manufacturing France SA (SMF)
Sharp Manufacturing France is a production center for digital B& W and colour laser multifunctional systems. Located in Soultz in Alsace, the site covers over 23,000 sq. metres and employs 200 people. Since its creation in 1989, SHARP Manufacturing France has produced over a million B&W and colour mulitfunctional laser printing systems. To meet customer requirements, SHARP Manufacturing France delivers custom made products directly, in a very short timeframe, to more than 1,500 destinations in 22 European countries.
Sharp Manufacturing UK (SUKM)
Located in Wrexham/Wales, the factory opened in 1984 and started with the production of video recorders and microwave ovens. Since 2004 it has been manufacturing solar modules, replacing the video recorder production. Of all Sharp’s solar module manufacturing plants around the world, Wrexham is one of the most technically advanced. Today it assembles highly advanced monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar modules for use in both residential and commercial installations.
These are not only supplied to the UK market, but exported throughout continental Europe, where there is a growing demand for the efficient solar technology offered by Sharp.
The plant won a prestigious ‘Green Apple’ award for best environmental practice, assigned by The Green Organisation.
Sharp Manufacturing Poland (SMPL)
Sharp Manufacturing Poland Sp.z o.o. is located in the north-central part of the country near the city of Torun, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated on the Vistula River. The factory began the production of LCD modules for LCD TVs in January 2007. After a construction period of only one year and an investment of some 44 million euro (six billion yen), since August 2007 the factory is also manufacturing Sharp AQUOS LCD TVs in addition to LCD modules. The Torun factory is a further expanding of Sharp´s global supply strategy, enabling it to service the demand for LCD TVs in the global target markets even faster and more directly. The core element of Sharp’s global supply strategy is integrated production, i.e. combining the production of LCD modules and the final LCD TV in one plant. The Polish LCD TV factory covering the European market now joins other plants in Mexico, China, Malaysia and Japan (Kameyama).
In Torun Sharp has built not only an LCD TV factory but an entire industrial estate. The Sharp Crystal Park in Poland, is the home for suppliers to the LCD TV production close to the Sharp factory and covers 177 hectares. Shorter transport distances mean faster supplies , lower CO2 emissions and shorter delivery times.
Sharp Electronica Espana (SEE)
Since more than 20 years, Sharp is producing Colour TVs in Barcelona, Spain. In 1986 the production facility was completed and started to produce CRT TVs. In 1995 the production reached three million units and in 2001 eight million units. With the first Sharp LCD TV launched in 1999, Europe became one of the key markets for this new tv technology. Consequently in 2002 Sharp decided to start the first European LCD TV production in Barcelona. Two years later, the last CRT TV left the assembly lines in Barcelona and LCD TVs took over the role as the future tv technology. Up to now more than 1,5 million LCD TVs were produced in the Spanish Sharp factory for the European market.
Sakai - first tenth-generation LCD plant and world’s largest solar cell plant
Since July 2007 Sharp is constructing the first tenth-generation LCD panel plant and the largest plant for thin-film solar cells in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture. With these factories Sharp combines both technology areas to set up an “industrial park for the 21st century”.
Besides the two state-of-the-art plants, the 1.27 million square-metre industrial park provides room for suppliers supporting the entire production process as well as further infrastructure; providing a time and cost advantage. Furthermore, CO2 emission will be reduced due to the vertically integrated method of production.
The new LCD production center will be the first of the tenth generation, capable of processing LCD motherglass panels in a size of 8.7 square metres (2,850 mm x 3,050 mm). This makes these motherglass panels 60 per cent larger than those in Sharp’s current eighth-generation LCD plant, Kameyama II. They can be used to manufacture, for example six 60-inch or eight 50-inch LCD panels. The LCD production will start in October 2009.
At the same time, the largest solar cell plant is being built next to the latest LCD plant. As one of the leading companies in the production of solar cells and modules for many years, with the new plant Sharp launches mass production of thin film solar cells and is planning a production volume of 1.000 megawatts per year.
Overview of the New Plants:
- Location: Sakaihama District of Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture (Chikko-yawata-machi, Sakai-ku, Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture)
- Site area: 1.27 million m2
LCD Panel Plant
- Amount of investment: Approx. 380 billion yen (including land acquisition costs)
- Start of construction: November 2007
- Start of operations: October 2009
- Main products: LCD panels for large-screen LCD TVs in the 40-, 50- and 60-inch class
- Glass substrate size: 2,850 mm x 3,050 mm (10th generation) Each substrate can yield 6 panels in the 60-inch class, 8 panels in the 50-inch class, or 15 panels in the 40-inch class.
- Input capacity: 72,000 substrates per month (initial capacity at start of operations: 36,000 substrates per month)
Solar Cell Plant
Details on investment and other factors are currently under review.
- Start of operations: By March 2010
- Main products: Thin-film solar cells