Corning, NY--The board of directors of Corning Inc. has approved a capital expenditure of approximately $180 million to expand the company's Harrodsburg, KY manufacturing facility. The expansion will provide additional capacity for Corning's surging Gorilla glass business, as well as the company's entry into the growing thin-film photovoltaic glass market.
Gorilla glass is currently used in or designed into more than 200 mobile devices (phones and laptops, for example) and is planned for about 100 others. Gorilla glass is an appealing solution for the emerging slate-computing environment, as well as the edge-to-edge glass design of LCD televisions, says James Clappin, president of Corning's Precision Glass businesses. He notes that Corning is on track to reach sales in excess of $250 million this year, with sales possibly approaching the $1 billion mark in 2011.
Glass for thin-film photovoltaics
Corning also will build capacity in its Harrodsburg facility to begin producing specialty glass for thin-film photovoltaics. The company will use its fusion manufacturing process to produce the thin-film photovoltaic glass. Corning says its new specialty thin glass can improve the energy-conversion efficiency of solar modules and reduce weight while maintaining product strength and long-term reliability.
Corning's Harrodsburg facility is currently undergoing its third major product transformation since opening in 1952. The facility originally manufactured various ophthalmic products, including photochromic glass. In the mid-1980s, the plant became the focus of its nascent LCD glass business, continuing to produce small-generation substrates until recently shifting into Gorilla and photovoltaic glass production.
The Harrodsburg investments are included in Corning's previously announced capital expenditure expectations for 2010 and 2011.
Assistance for this expansion project has been offered by the state of Kentucky and Governor Steven Beshear's office through the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority in up to $4.5 million in Kentucky Business Investment incentives, and up to $1 million in tax rebates related to construction costs.