Touch technology drives the success of smart phones and tablet PCs in commercial market, and is a very important man-machine interface. However, limited by cost and yield, the penetration of large display usage has been difficult to exceed. Therefore, under intense competition in smart phone market, when China brand mobile phones, relying on the advantages of capital and labor costs, monopolize and push electronics supply chain and electronic manufacturing to take up the market, the rise of China supply chain threatens the entire touch panel manufacturers in Taiwan. In the past two years, the market and opportunities have been shrinking, touch panel makers in Taiwan have been through a great suffering. If a company does not move forward, it will be the end of the road.
General Manager of Twinwill Commutech Inc. (TCI), David Liu, probes the direction of change of the industry. In touch panel area, TCI has achieved a number of production technology and solutions, from the current Glass-Glass (GG) and Glass-Film-Film (GFF) to One Glass Solution (OGS), and single ITO film technology (Glass-Film, GF) of different structures of projected capacitive touch panel products. In addition to the original mid- and small-size products, TCI more actively involves in the promising large ones, and plans to launch 84-inch touch panel products in the near future, showing ambitions of entering into new industries and applications.
Liu has clearly pointed out the solution of solving the problems Taiwan touch panel makers are facing is to focus on the issue of cost competition, among which the development of new materials is the key. Liu has showed great enthusiasm of material development from school time and career. During the entrepreneurial process, he achieved great positive results of new conductive materials development for touch panels. In addition to increasing the reaction speed, this new material is suitable for Metal Mesh structure of large-size touch panel to meet the cutting-edge trend of ultra-thin, narrow-frame, low-cost, and simple process of touch products. For the first phase, TCI worked with partners to design and manufacture control IC, plus software drivers, and the result was a saving of nearly 50% of the total cost; the second phase will start in 2016, through process improvement, TCI expect to reduce 50-60% of the total cost. From the exceptional results of operating profits of its parent company, Twinwill Optronics Inc. (TOI), in the first two quarters in this year, we see a great result of gradual transformation.
David Liu stressed that, with the successful development of new material, next TCI needs to focus on new applications and expand the business overseas. After attending Digital Signage Expo (DSE) in Las Vegas, as well as several discussions with significant system integration clients in the United States, TCI chooses to enter two important application areas. The first one is the touch-type electronic whiteboard project required by North American education market. The touch-type electronic whiteboard system can integrate the Surface Hub system recently launched by Microsoft and, together with the 84-inch panel product, is easy to use either by finger(s) or stylus and therefore highly applicable for educational purpose. This product is expected to open a new era of interactive learning in the classroom. Moreover, if it goes with the new remote video conferencing systems, which can be connected to the Cloud, it can also be used as a surprisingly effective handwriting whiteboard and an outstanding application to OA (Office Automation). Even president Perng of Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) deliberately used similar touch whiteboard for presentations in the press conference in June this year. In the conference, he highly praised the function and efficiency of the product.
The second new application is the touch control panel market of MFP (Multi-Function Peripherals). MFP integrates functions of print, scan and network. With the rise of cloud applications, the traditional button-down menus have been insufficient for today’s usage. With the increasing numbers of human-computer interaction, single touch panel integrating network applications will introduce a completely new style of OA. For this application, Liu stressed that he would initiate early contacts with Japanese customers, and through bilateral technical cooperation developed further business opportunities.
Liu surely has another big plan of touch panel applications in the future; that is, for large appliances such as refrigerators, and washing machines touch panel applications. In the area of consumer electronics application covering all aspects of life, after the development of IoT (Internet of Things), and Big Data, through integration with Cloud, there will be more human-computer interaction interfaces those can be integrated through touch technology, and can win consumers’ favor for improving UX (User Experience). This is also a demand that the home appliance manufacturers have been expecting to breakthrough.
According to these core dimensions, TCI attempts to explore brand new touch applications. In addition to original deep-rooted development of laptop and the Tablet PCs for industrial and military use, undoubtedly new application will bring critical opportunities of transformation, and set up the blueprints for the company’s future growth. Through these new engines of growth, Liu expects to create a benchmark of transformation. Under the firm conviction of “escaping existing patterns, and embracing internationalization,” it is believed that in the near future, TCI will successfully lead the trend of international touch applications.