Right now the big name in toughened glass is Corning, whose Gorilla Glass is found fronting devices such as Dell's Streak and Samsung's Galaxy Tab, but it seems the company has some competition ahead. Asahi Glass Company is launching Dragontrail, a chemically-strengthened glass that's supposedly six-times stronger than regular soda-lime glass.
It's also said to be "highly resistant to scratches" and have a clearer finish than resin panels. Dragontrail should also tick a few eco boxes, with the company claiming it's free of environmentally-harmful additives as well.
AGC reckons it could well take a $360m global market share supplying cover glass for smartphones, tablets, TVs and other gadgets, though we can't imagine Corning will take that challenge lying down. No word on what products we can expect to see AGC protecting first.
AGC Unveils Damage-Resistant Dragontrail™ Glass for Smartphone, Tablet PC, TV Makers Worldwide
Tokyo, January 20, 2011 - AGC announced today it will launch worldwide sales of Dragontrail™, a glass material that is highly receptive to chemical strengthening, to respond to surging global demands for high-quality cover glass used for screens on electronic devices. By 2012, AGC expects to achieve sales of over 30 billion yen (about 360 million USD) in the global market for chemically strengthened cover glass used in smartphones, tablet PCs, TVs and similar devices.
Chemically strengthened Dragontrail is six times stronger than conventional soda-lime glass, highly resistant to scratches and features a beautiful, pristine finish compared with resin. Dragontrail, developed from market-proven raw glass for chemical strengthening, is free of environmentally harmful materials
AGC uses a highly efficient float process to manufacture Dragontrail by utilizing the company’s extensive technical expertise in producing specialized glass for electronics acquired through manufacturing TFT glass substrates. The superior production efficiency of this manufacturing process ensures stable supply of cover glass for the growing global mobile device market. AGC will also proactively respond to growing demand for cover glass used in televisions.
“Dragontrail is a a strategic product that will build new foundations for growth under Grow Beyond, our management policy,” said Yoshiaki Tamura, Deputy President of AGC’s Electronics Company unit. “We will continue to explore new applications for this versatile product as we expand its global market.”
The demand for cover material is growing in parallel with the rapid proliferation of smartphones, tablet PCs and other devices, many of which feature designs where touchscreen panels cover the majority of their surfaces. These mobile devices require protection against shocks and grazing resulting from touch operation, accidental drops and scraping inside a pocket or bag. AGC’s Dragontrail offers a superior substitute to conventional cover material, such as soda-lime glass, which lacks strength, and resin, which is prone to scratches and limited by poor texture quality