Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal U.S. subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE: MC), confirmed that Panasonic-branded Plasma TVs are the first in the U.S. market to feature lead-free Plasma Display Panels. The Display Panel is the Plasma TV’s glass-sealed image display device, equivalent to a cathode ray tube in a conventional television. In addition to the elimination of lead in the panel, Panasonic has made significant advances in enhancing the performance of the phosphors used to render colors on the screen.
In conventional manufacturing processes for Plasma Display Panels, lead oxide glass is used in the dielectric layer, electrodes, glass sealant and other structural elements. Lead oxide glass was valued for its ability to stabilize production yields and quality. Now, as a result of advances Panasonic has made in material sciences and manufacturing processes, stable production yields can be secured without the use of lead oxide. In this way, the company has been able to eliminate all of the roughly 70 grams (0.15 pounds) of lead used in a 37-inch plasma panel.
“Panasonic is committed to achieving a sustainable future through the development of environmentally conscious products,” said David Thompson, Panasonic Corporation of North America’s director of environmental affairs. “Now with this achievement, we believe that Panasonic plasma displays have outpaced our flat panel TV competitors in an important area of environmental performance: the elimination of hazardous heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, mercury — commonly used in backlit LCD TVs and in projection TV lamps. In fact, we estimate that worldwide the elimination of lead from our Panasonic plasma panels will mean a reduction of close to 300 metric tons of lead — the approximate weight of two 747 commercial airliners — that would otherwise have been used in their manufacture each year.”
Noah Horowitz, a Senior Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), commended Panasonic for being the first in the industry to eliminate lead in its new plasma TVs and for significantly reducing the energy consumed by their new models. “NRDC is very supportive of Panasonic’s longstanding record of consistently delivering some of the most environmentally friendly products in the market,” said Mr. Horowitz. “Panasonic’s leadership in this area is noteworthy and we challenge the rest of the TV industry to implement similar improvements to their products.”
“Panasonic is also making progress on reducing the amount of energy each Plasma TV consumes,” said Mr. Thompson. “There is an inaccurate but persistent myth that Plasma TVs consume much more energy than other types of digital television The truth is that large screen TVs consume more energy than the smaller screened CRT-based TVs they replace. Our research indicates that energy consumption by large-screen Plasma, LCD and DLP TV sets is on average comparable. But as a relatively new technology, compared with LCD, Plasma is capable of becoming considerably more energy-efficient, and Panasonic plans to lead the way to this goal.”
Panasonic’s advanced phosphor technology is estimated to deliver 60,000 hours of use — more than 25 years at seven hours of viewing a day — before reaching half brightness. Phosphor improvements have also led to the virtual elimination of the burn-in phenomenon in Panasonic Plasma TV. Long-life products translate into lower use of environmental resources for the simple fact that they need to be replaced far less often.
Based in Secaucus, NJ, Panasonic Corporation of North America markets a broad line of digital and other electronics products for consumer, business and industrial use. The company is the principal North American subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE: MC) of Japan, and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. branding, marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. Information about Panasonic and its products is available at www.panasonic.com.