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Headquarters News

Nov 2, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:
Akira Kadota, International PR
  Tel: +81-3-3578-1237  Fax: +81-3-3436-6766
Panasonic News Bureau
  Tel: +81-3-3542-6205  Fax: +81-3-3542-9018

Panasonic Becomes World's First to Eliminate Lead
In Display Panel for All Plasma TVs



Osaka, Japan - Panasonic, the leading brand for which Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is best known, has become the first company in the world to achieve the elimination of lead in Plasma Display Panels (PDPs) used as the central picture component in its Plasma TVs and Plasma Modules(*1). Non-use of lead content for manufacturing Plasma Display Panels (PDPs) began with Panasonic's new Plasma-TV lineup launched in Europe and U.S. in Spring 2006. With the recent introduction of the world's largest Plasma HDTV, the 103-inch PDP-TV, Panasonic has avoided the use of lead in all of its Plasma TV models for 2006.

In conventional manufacturing processes for Plasma Display Panels, lead oxide glass is used as a key component for the dielectric layer(*2), electrodes(*3), seal frit(*4) and other structural elements to form the panel. Until now, lead oxide glass was essential for adjusting the softening points(*5) of several different materials to build dielectric layers. If no lead oxide glass were used for PDP manufacturing, it would be hard to optimize the softening points of each material for stable production yields and quality. Also, development of an alternative material for lead oxide has been considered to be extremely difficult.

Panasonic has now successfully completely avoided the use of lead oxide glass with the application of the following innovative methods;
(1) Development of new materials for the dielectric layer, electrodes and other parts whose characteristics and reliability are similar to those of lead oxide glass. This has been made possible by the use of uniquely developed additives(*6) for certain elements(*7) with characteristics similar to lead oxide glass, and refined material composition of the non-glass components(*8).
(2) In the Plasma Display Panel manufacturing process, heating conditions(*9) in every process have been optimized, thus enabling secured stable production yield and quality levels.
 
These new methods have been introduced at every Plasma Display Panel manufacturing plant and all of Panasonic Plasma TV models for 2006 are made with lead-free Panels.
   
In addition to becoming the first to avoid the use of lead in Plasma Display Panels, Panasonic has aggressively taken the following environmental initiatives in the manufacturing of its Plasma TVs and other electronic devices.
   
(1)

Environmental Initiative at the state-of-the-art "Amagasaki" Plasma Display Panel manufacturing Plant

 
  • Reduction of energy consumption and improvement of production efficiency in the manufacturing process.
  • Use of rainwater (for watering the lawn)
  • Use of natural energy sources (including energy generation with the solar/wind power generator "Kazekamome"
  • Purification with photo-catalyst. (outer-wall of the plant coated with photo-catalytic material, which contributes to the reduction of harmful substances such as Nox and Sox)
  • Tracking and management system for disposing waste and refuse by using GPS and video information.
(2) Improvement of packaging and transportation efficiency for Plasma TVs. (*10)
 
  • Reduction of packaging materials (14% reduction by weight)
  • Optimization of packaging size and style based on trailer capacity. (7% reduction in package capacity)
(3) Improvement in product development and design of Plasma Display Panels
 
  • Large reduction of glass material for panels (weight of panel reduced by max 23% compared to the previous model)
  • Number of components has been reduced by 30% (compared to the previous model) (*10)
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions per unit Plasma Panel by 48% (at "Amagasaki Plant" compared to other Panasonic Plasma Display Panel plants)
(4) Reduction of Power Consumption (*10)
 
  • Reduced annual power consumption by max 45%(compared to our previous model, 37PX300)
  • Reduced standby power consumption to 0.1W.
(5) Long Life
 
  • Approximately 60,000-hour lifetime (over 20 years of normal viewing) for Plasma panels, ensuring beautiful picture quality for years to come.
In addition to the superb picture quality and outstanding performance, Panasonic's VIERA Plasma-TVs lineup is manufactured using eco-friendly materials, manufacturing process and facilities.

(*1) Including commercial applications and modules for OEM sales.
(*2) Dielectric layer: Transparent glass layer which covers electrodes
(*3)

Electrodes: Composed of transparent electrodes and silver electrodes. In the past, the silver electrodes used to contain lead.

(*4) Seal Frit: Parts where two glass substrates are sintered together in the edge.
(*5) Softening Points: Temperature at which contained glass material starts to soften.
(*6) Additives: Metal oxide
(*7) Certain Elements: Metal elements such as bismuth.
(*8) Material composition of the non-glass components: Solvent, flux and others.
(*9) Heating conditions: Highest temperature setting, heating time and others.
(*10) Japanese models only

About Panasonic
Best known by its Panasonic brand name, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic products for a wide range of consumer, business, and industrial needs. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded consolidated net sales of US$76.02 billion for the year ended March 31, 2006. The company's shares are listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York (NYSE:MC) stock exchanges. For more information on the company and the Panasonic brand, visit the company's website at http://panasonic.net.


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