Albert Podell's  Instablog

Albert Podell
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Graduate of Cornell University, 1958. Graduate Fellow, Univ of Chicago 1958-60. Received Doctor of Laws degree from New York University School of Law, 1976. Have practiced litigation from 1976 until retirement in 2010. Have been an active stock investor since 1964,and active theatrical investor... More
  • Dispatch From .U. Mass Symposium: UNXL Looks Green To Go 11 comments
    May 16, 2013 1:20 PM | about stocks: UNXL

    Dateline: May 16, 2013 University of Massachusetts, Amherst National Materials Research Science & Engineering Center on Polymers Symposium:"Materials and Processes for Flexible Devices & Electronics"

    On Lunch break. The Symposium is being attended by the top 150 scientists on the world conducting research in the field, including scores of university professors and IBM Research, GE Global Research, the U.S. military, Kodak, Madico, Micro Chem, FRX Polymers, Pnasonic Boston Labs, E Ink, Henkel, Pix Elligent, and Argotec.

    Most of what they are discussing will not be commercialized for five years or so, and much of it is far over the head of your correspondent, who abandoned his serious scientific pursuits after studying two years of chemical engineering and organic chemistry at Cornell, so please do not expect any detailed discussion here of scalable atomic-level deposition or the use of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or use as organic interfaces in constructing wire conductors on polymer substrates. (For that, wait a month or so for the publication of the Kodak presentation in the Applied Physics Letters, and others elsewhere in scientific journals, although I may attempt as larger SA article if I find the courage),

    What I can tell those of you interested in UNXL and its competitors and the touch-screen industry in general, and with a high degree of certainty, is the following:

    • All the panelists whose presentations I attended agreed that ITO is obsolescent; most of them spoke about it like a cantankerous old friend who was on her deathbed.
    • Metal conductors are far superiors for cost, conductivity, ease of workability, scalability, and a host of other benefits. Best are silver, copper, aluminum, and zinc oxide.
    • Continuous, high-sped, roll-to-roll printing of electronics on flexible substrates is the best commercial process for easy, inexpensive, high-quality, low-cost production.
    • Run rates exceeding ten meters a minute were easily obtainale in some labs with less than 1% defects, although printingg conditions must be carefully controlled with regard to cleanliness, temperature, and keeping the deposition flat and even.
    • The UNXL production partner, Kodak, is held in high regard by the entire industry and is looked upon with awe by many as the world leader in the printing of materials on flexible substrates

    In short, UNXL seems to be doing everything correctly and its processes are the state of the art:

    In private discussions with Kodak researchers, I was told that they see no benefits whatever for touch screen makers to reduce the size of their lines from the 5-6 microns that UJNXL is using to the nanotech level, upon which the conference focused. Thus, the UNXL technology should be able to prevail and endure into the far future.

    I was also assured by the Kodak researchers that if the partnership with UNXL is a scam, as the shorts have alleged, then this is all news to them. They told me that the building in Eastman Industrial Park is being prepared for the Pixie, that they anticipate the plating and printing lines to be up and running by late September-October, and that Kodak is heavily counting on its partnership with UNXL to help it come roaring out of bankruptcy and resume its former position as one of the world's leading manufacturers of film product.

    In sum and substance, UNXL looks green to go. And I gotta go back to the conference.

    Disclosure: I am long UNXL.

    Stocks: UNXL
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Comments (11)
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  • JBird61
    , contributor
    Comments (294) | Send Message
     
    Great update.
    THANKS for everything, Al.
    16 May 2013, 01:41 PM Reply Like
  • Albert Podell
    , contributor
    Comments (115) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Do bear in mind that the Kodak people I spoke to are working on future projects. They did meet the UNXL people when they toured the facility in Rochester, and were very impressed with Petcavitch, but they will not be running the UNXL facility,so whatever they sasy about it is secondhand.. They will be creating the technology that will run it five years rom now.
    16 May 2013, 03:54 PM Reply Like
  • Chris Hofmann
    , contributor
    Comments (756) | Send Message
     
    Excellent update Al, I particularly like the updates from Kodak. Thank you.
    16 May 2013, 01:58 PM Reply Like
  • big mountain photo
    , contributor
    Comments (20) | Send Message
     
    Thanks Al for the update. I am envious; I would love to have attended.
    16 May 2013, 04:19 PM Reply Like
  • SamsaricSufferer
    , contributor
    Comments (54) | Send Message
     
    The resolution of the human eye is only 50 microns. The myth of the mesh being visible is exactly that. There is no reason to have to print at less than 5 microns EVER. The cost of materials given the process is negligible. The PET film is the biggest chunk of the COGS. Kodak's ability to manufacture high quality PET film potentially decreases defects and raising yields. Every additional touch screen produced beyond the modeled 70% yields stated by management drops almost 100% STRAIGHT to the bottom line. Every 1% increase in yield at 1M units per month printed will result in 10,000 additional units or $200,000 per month or $24,000,000 per year, virtually all net profit. The Kodak deal was a great deal for both companies. The JV is an vertically integrated manufacturer of touchscreen film which gives UNXL and Kodak the best of both worlds. The one of the best things IMO is that they will manufacture in the USA and reemploy a highly skilled Kodak workforce in an economically depressed part of the country.
    16 May 2013, 05:26 PM Reply Like
  • dacama1
    , contributor
    Comments (221) | Send Message
     
    Thanks Al.
    16 May 2013, 06:11 PM Reply Like
  • Jason_K
    , contributor
    Comments (28) | Send Message
     
    Thanks. Looks like UNXL wont have products on shelves for September though if thats just when printing lines are expected to be up and running?
    16 May 2013, 06:12 PM Reply Like
  • Chris Hofmann
    , contributor
    Comments (756) | Send Message
     
    Jason, that is the Kodak facility. The shipments for "Dell" are going to be coming from the lufkin facility which is already up and running and is expected to have a minimum of 200k units per month of capacity by the end of June. The Kodak facility will mostly be used for 2014... possibly for new holiday products as well.
    16 May 2013, 10:09 PM Reply Like
  • netmore
    , contributor
    Comments (37) | Send Message
     
    THREE GIANTS!
    16 May 2013, 06:24 PM Reply Like
  • 9407171
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
     
    Thanks - useful information!
    16 May 2013, 06:32 PM Reply Like
  • MarketSite11
    , contributor
    Comments (35) | Send Message
     
    Thanks for taking the time to update us Al.

     

    The comments by Kodak puts to rest for me the notion that the sub 5 micron lines achieved by ATML and LG are qualitatively superior to the 5-6 micron lengths achieved by UNXL.

     

    Also, KODAK seems to have this vision of UNIBOSS providing the kickstart into a whole new line of business called "functional printing". It makes you wonder if there is more to this partnership than what we know at the moment..
    16 May 2013, 06:33 PM Reply Like
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