Corning Inc. is planning to expand its Harrodsburg, Ky., manufacturing plant at a cost of more than $186 million to boost production capacity as its glass business sees surging demand.
Corning, the world's biggest maker of liquid-crystal-display glass, said the expansion is prompted by a surge in its Gorilla glass business, and it also plans to enter the thin-film photovoltaic glass business.
Gorilla glass, used as cover glass for smart phones, is being used or designed into 200 mobile devices. Corning said Gorilla glass is ideal for LCD television sets as well.
Corning also is developing a thin-film photovoltaic glass designed for use in solar panels that makes energy conversion more efficient. Corning said it's lighter than what's currently being used in other solar panels.
James Clappin, president of Corning's precision glass businesses, said sales for Gorilla glass should exceed $250 million this year and could come close to $1 billion in 2011.
The expansion will create 80 jobs. Kentucky is offering up to $4.5 million in business investment incentives and up to $1 million in tax rebates related to construction costs.
Shares of Corning, based in Corning, N.Y., fell 23 cents to $18.92 in afternoon trading.