In September, it was an earthquake in Japan that shut down one of Corning’s glass factories. Last weekend, the gremlins struck again, this time at the company’s Central Taiwan Science Park plant. A power outage caused an unspecified number of the plant’s glass melting tanks to shut down, possibly damaging them in the process.
The outage is likely to reduce the supply of Gen 6 and Gen 7 glass substrates for Taiwan LCD manufacturers in November and December. This should not have any impact on prices as we enter the holiday sales season, because the panels for those products were made last summer or earlier. The shortage could cause prices to hold steady or even rise next spring, however, if consumer demand grows.
Once again, events like these help underscore how small the flat panel TV industry really is, and the outsize impact that can result from what might seem to be relatively minor incidents.