[Experience] Close Communication and Listening Lead to Customer Satisfaction

2019. 2. 22. 10:59

General Manager Kim Kyeong Su, Film Development Team 2, Hyosung R&DB Labs

 Communication and listening are part and parcel of R&D!

“A number of companies are involved in the production of optical films for polarizing films. They are broadly divided into companies that use optical film to make polarizing film, companies that assemble polarizing films to make panels, and electronics companies that connect panels and electronic parts.

Close communication with our customers, as well as with our customers’ customers, really matters. It is necessary to set the direction of our research and development based on communication with panel firms and electronic firms, and then to secure and supply the most suitable process and quality for polarizing film firms through close communication. As raw materials are designed with raw materials companies from the development stage, communication with such firms is also important. And good communication is based on good listening. Close interaction leads to effective solutions.”

 Behind story of the stylish display panel

Polarizing films are not only applied to LCD TVs, laptop monitors, and mobile displays but also the displays of other home appliances such as cookers and stylers. Usually, a polarizing plate is composed of three layers: core device, PVA film, and two layers of protective film covering the PVA film, which is vulnerable to heat and moisture. The Optical Film PU develops and supplies protective films used in polarizing films. So far, robust TAC films have dominated the market. Hyosung's flagship product is itself a TAC film.

“As TVs became increasingly large and slim, customer needs changed somewhat after 2013. Unlike in the past, when TVs were exported as finished products, price competition became very fierce and local assembly lines were set up. And as TAC films are strong but vulnerable to moisture. protective films that are resistant to moisture, such as acrylic and PET films, were required for long-haul and cross-border transportation.”

A burgeoning sense of crisis was the motive behind the development of a “water-resistant protective film manufacturing technology for polarizing films based on the solvent casting process”. General Manager Kim Kyeong Su of Film Development Team 2 at Hyosung R&DB Labs tried to come up with a method of manufacturing acrylic protective films using the existing TAC film production facility.

Generally speaking, the most common protective film manufacturing methods are melt extrusion or solvent casting. Melt extrusion has mainly been used to manufacture acrylic films, whereas solvent casting has largely been used to produce TAC films.

 Focus on acquiring original technology based on customer needs

“I was quite afraid. I was not sure whether it would be possible to achieve better competitiveness than melt-extruded acrylic films or PETs by using Hyosung’s independent technology. At that time, I accompanied the representative of the Optical Film PU to a meeting with customers. By getting in touch with our customers, I could feel their desperation. That is why I focused on acquiring original technology based on our customers’ needs.”

It took three years for Film Development Team 2, under the leadership of General Manager Kim, to develop a new water-resistant protective film manufacturing technology for polarizing films using the solvent casting process for the first time in the world.

With the attitude that “success is a must”, General Manager Kim concentrated on enhancing his team’s research capacity and cooperated closely with other departments. The acrylic film thus created showed next to no defects in terms of its appearance and delivered powerful coating capability, making processing easy. Unlike existing products that break when folded, its high malleability minimized cracking during cutting or transporting. It also increased the yield rate of production, i.e. the amount of complete material available after finishing a given processing procedure, which was well-received by the manufacturer. Furthermore, the successful mass production of high-quality water-resistant protective films has earned General Manager Kim the Proud Hyosung Employee Award. According to him, “It’s just the beginning.”

“The market response has been favorable, but there’s still a long way to go. First, we must improve productivity to ensure price competitiveness while advancing and differentiating performance.”

Written by Yi Mi Seon

Photographed by Park Hae Ju (Day40 Studio)

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