TOKYO (AP) — Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., the Osaka-based maker of Panasonic-brand products, said Tuesday it will boost plasma panel production capacity a further 10 percent at its second plant in Amagasaki in 2008 to meet surging demand for the product.
Matsushita now plans to increase capacity at its Amagasaki No. 2 plant to 6.6 million units next year instead of 6 million units as originally planned, company spokesman Akira Kadota said. The plant, which began operation in June, currently has capacity of 2.16 million unit a year.
The expansion plan calls for the company to increase production by boosting efficiency at production lines to be installed later this month and next year, Kadota said. It will not require additional capital expenditure over the original 180 billion yen (US$1.6 billion; euro1.1 billion) set aside for the plant, he said.
The decision to increase the plant's capacity is to ''meet the surging demand for the thin TV panels,'' Kadota said.
Matsushita will start construction next month on plasma panel plant Amagasaki No. 3, which at full capacity will give the company the ability to produce 23 million plasma panels a year. An earlier press release says the Amagasaki No. 3 plant will be the world's largest plasma panel plant in the world, able to produce 1 million 42-inch panels a month.
Matsushita now has five plasma panel plants — two in Amagasaki, two in Osaka and one in Shanghai. An older facility at Ibaraki is now used to make prototypes, Kadota said.
Matsushita has proved successful in both of the two major technologies in flat-panel TVs — liquid-crystal displays and plasma — and has generally fared better than Sony Corp., a rival in many categories like televisions, camcorders and digital cameras.
Amagasaki is 410 kilometers (250 miles) southwest of Tokyo.