Jan.30, 2006

Minebea Co., Ltd.

Development of High-Performance Color Wheel for DLP™ Projectors

Minebea Co., Ltd.(Minebea) has developed a high-performance, long-life color wheel for DLPTM (*1) projectors that combines the optical thin film filter technologies Minebea has accumulated in relation to image displays and the brushless DC motor technologies the Company has cultivated in HDD spindle motors.

Purpose of the Product Release

Projectors are widely used these days -- not only in companies' main conference rooms but also for presentation purposes in small conference rooms or as educational tools at school. In ordinary households also, they have been gaining wide acceptance as home-theater projectors or large-screen projection TV sets.

The markets are calling for high-luminance, high-definition projectors to meet this need.

The DLPTM projector, a projector format, uses a DMDTM (Digital Micromirror Device: *2), an image display device, and the single-panel format is the widely accepted technology. A color wheel is an absolute must for colorization in the single-panel DLPTM format.

The characteristics of an optical thin film filter used in this color wheel are the key to realizing high colorization and high color rendition of images. The color wheel needs a high-performance, long-life motor because of rotation at high speed.

Minebea has developed a high-performance optical thin film filter that permits high colorization and high color rendition -- by applying its built-up optical thin film filter technologies. The Company has also realized integrated production of the optical thin film filter necessary for the color wheels and the motor -- by fusing these optical technologies with the brushless DC motor technologies Minebea has cultivated in HDD spindle motors, one of its core products.

This Color Wheel uses Minebea's special glass ultra-precision machining technologies, assembly skills, etc. -- in addition to unique optical thin film filter and brushless DC motor technologies. The Company has started trial and mass production at its Hamamatsu plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan since May 2005.
Minebea also will transfer all the manufacturing processes overseas in January 2006, embarking on mass production at its Lop Buri plant/Bang Pa-in plant in Thailand.

Features of the New Product

The new Product realizes:

  • (1) A high-color, high-rendering filter with the unique optical thin film technologies.
  • (2) A filter segment anti-scattering structure (*3) at high-speed rotation with a unique design.
  • (3) High longevity and high reliability that endure high temperatures within projectors.
  • *1 The DLPTM (Digital Light ProcessingTM) is a projection format using a Digital Micromirror Device.
  • *2 The DMDTM (Digital Micromirror DeviceTM) is an image display device providing several hundred thousand micro mirrors on a silicon circuit board.
    DLPTM and DMDTM are trademarks of Texas Instruments, Inc. in the United States.
  • *3 Eight related patents are patent pending.

Reference Specifications

6 Segment Color Wheel

6 Segment Color Wheel

Optical Thin Film Filter Characteristics (Reference)

Optical Thin Film Filter Characteristics (Reference)

Item Specifications
  Color wheel outside diameter   35 - 65
  Motor outside diameter   14, 20.5
  Motor RPM   7,200rpm - 10,800rpm
  Motor life   MTTF>20,000H
  @80 - 7,200rpm
  Filter specifications   Customer specifications

For inquiries, please contact:
Minebea Co., Ltd.
Masaki Ishikawa
Corporate Communications Office
Corporate Planning Department

ARCO Tower, 19th Floor,
1-8-1, Shimo-Meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8662
TEL : 81-3-5434-8637 / Fax: 81-3-5434-8607
E-Mail : mishikaw@minebea.co.jp
URL : http://www.minebea.co.jp/

Information in the press releases is current on the date of the announcement.
Product information, contact and other context are subject to change without prior notice.

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