A polarizer is composed of layers of different types of sub-films. Among these sub-films, the demand for acryl film, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film and cyclo-olefin-polymer (COP) film, which protect against moisture and temperature extremes, is rapidly growing alongside the increasing size of LCD TVs and the expanding the business model of open-cell technology.
Polarizer production capacity and demand is expected to increase, as investment in large LCD fabs increases. Global polarizer supply should be balanced with demand well until 2022, but there are growing concerns polarizer sub-films could grow much more slowly than the growth in polarizer supply.
While polarizer supply and demand is stable, acryl, PET and COP film supplies are expected to remain low, falling 13 percent short of total demand in 2019. Four new production lines are planned, which will prevent film supply from declining even further, but the supply will remain 10 percent lower than demand in 2022, according to the latest "Display Optical Film Market Tracker" from IHS Markit.
Another shortage issue involves ultraviolet- (UV-) process capacity. To make polarizer with acryl, PET and COP film, UV facility is required. However, because the polarizer supply is tight, polarizer makers cannot afford to modify their lines to accommodate the UV process. Since a shortage of sub-films and UV facilities would lead to a downturn in polarizer production, further investment in acyl, PET and COP subfilms — and a modified UV process — will be needed.