Important input is provided by the customers who manufacture liquid crystal displays (LCDs) in China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Because the global production of LCDs is concentrated in these four countries, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has set up its own facilities there. This allows local teams to quickly supply the customers’ varied needs. “Customers typically give us just ten days’ time to develop individualized new product samples,” says Verrall. Customers may have special requests regarding the color brilliance, for example, or the switching speed of the liquid crystals. To meet such requests, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany relies on its broad range of in-house developments and production capabilities. As a result, the company can deliver its own components for eight of the up to ten layers contained in a modern liquid crystal display.
More demanding future-oriented projects are managed from Central Research in Darmstadt, where specialists conduct a more thorough search for solutions at the material and technical levels. Here, interdisciplinary teams of chemists, physicists, and engineers work hand in hand, adapting new chemical formulations to specific display technologies so that they can offer the client a choice of different possibilities. As was the case with the development of the UB-FFS technology, this process typically takes two to three years.