GTAT Optimistic About Drive in ASF Demands By Non-LED Applications

The imbalance in sapphire substrate supply and demand is being overcome by increased demands in LED lighting applications and strong demands for non-LED applications. GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) is optimistic about the rapid growth in smartphone demands for sapphire substrates.  As a result, the company’s Advanced Sapphire Furnace (ASF) might grow and expand production capacity in the future.

Following the usage of sapphire substrate in smartphone applications by Apple and LG, sapphire substrate face supply shortages in high end application.  According to sapphire substrate company Monocrystal, sapphire substrate for high-end applications is facing a supply shortage of 20 to 30 percent and the rise in use of sapphire substrate outside of LEDs provides price increase opportunities. GTAT is also optimistic about sapphire substrate demand growth in non-LED applications and estimates proportion of smartphone usage in sapphire substrate production capacity to slowly increase.

GTAT predicts that sapphire substrate will be one of the growing markets in 2014. ASF currently produces 115 kg of the world’s sapphire. In regards to demand for LED and optical application, production capacity is already enough but sapphire substrate in non-LED applications including smartphone camera lens caps and home button covers, as well as the possible usage in smartphone displays by the end of 2014, demand for sapphire substrate is expected to rapidly increase. The company plans to increase sapphire furnace production to 200 kg. GTAT emphasized equipment purchased by clients can be directly upgraded, and thus reduce costs for clients as they do not need to purchase new equipments.

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