What does Generation Mean in LCD Panel Manufacturing?

When reading the headlines, you may have wondered what ‘Generation’ actually means in LCD panel manufacturing, when did this concept start, what the cutting size of each generation, and what field of application.

What is the concept of “Generation”

To fully understand the concept of “Generation”, we should first understand the process of how display panels are made.

The LCD panel is composed of two thin glass substrates with a layer of liquid crystal molecules in between. During production, the glass substrate used has a fixed size, and then cut to various sizes of panels.

learn more about LCD manufacturing: “Basic Manufacturing Knowledge and Product Concepts of LCD – Tailor Pixels

This involves a problem: how to cut the glass substrate will make the utilization rate of raw materials higher and the economic benefit of the final product better. Therefore, the LCD panel production line is divided into different generations.

The higher the generation of the panel, the more screens will be cut. The glass substrates that are the foundation of panels are called ‘Mother Glass’. Generation is determined based on the size of the mother glass. We use ‘G’ for ‘Generation’ after the latest number to name each generation. For example, “Generation 4.5” is written as “G4.5”.

Initially, the LCD manufacturing process was affected by technology and could not produce large-sized glass substrates. Therefore, the average size of glass substrates at that time was about 270×360mm, and this size was the G1.

That is, there is no strict definition for the number of lines of LCD panel generations, and just a conventional term in the industry. Generally, the generation is represented by the size of the glass substrate used in the production line. 

For example, G5 is 1100x1300mm or 1000x1200mm, G6 is 1500x1850mm, and G8 is 2200x2500mm. Because the purpose is different, it is not possible to illustrate which is the best.

The mainstream size of glass substrate

With the development of display panels, each generation of mother glass has increased significantly in size. Usually, the size has doubled with each successive generation. 

There are mainly two kinds of panels on the market: LCD and OLED. Because of the difference in display mechanism and production process, there are also differences in the generation of production lines. 

At present, LCD can achieve G10.5 (G11), while OLED only G6.

It is unreasonable to say that the OLED of G6 is inferior to the LCD of G10.5. The higher the generation number, the more advanced the technology is not necessarily.

In general, the higher the generation is, the larger the glass substrate size and output are. The technology can only be said to be relatively mature and advanced. As for product quality, it is more related to selection of raw material, production process and quality inspection requirements.

The below figure is the size of mainstream glass substrate of LCD panel generation line, the optimal panel cutting size and number of pieces.

The size of mainstream glass substrate of LCD panel generation line scaled
Figure 1. The size of mainstream glass substrate of LCD panel generation line

In general, the number of economic cutting pieces recognized by the industry is at least 6, that is, a glass substrate must be cut into 6 or more screens, so that the production line has the minimum economic effect.

The cutting pieces of each mother glass will be controlled above 6:

The cutting pieces of each mother glass scaled
Figure 2. The cutting pieces of each mother glass

Application market of each generation glass size

The generation of production line is closely related to the size of glass substrate. In the past decades, with the continuous development of LCD technology, the size of LCD panels are also growing. From the original G1 to the current G11 , the size of the base plate has grown to 3000x3320mm.

At present, the common high generation glass substrates in the market generally refer to cutting size of 55 inches and above, that is, large size glass substrates of G8.5 and above.

The following table shows the cutting size and common application market corresponding to each generation.

Generation lineSize of glass substrateCutting size/piecesApplication market
1320*400/Mobile and dedicated products below 9-inch
2370*470/Mobile and dedicated products below 9-inch
3550*65015-inch/4 pcsMobile and dedicated products below 9-inch
4680*88015-inch/6 pcsMobile and dedicated products below 9-inch
4.5730*92015-inch/8 pcsMobile and dedicated products below 15-inch
51100*130027-inch/6 pcsMobile, notebook, monitor and TV in 8~32-inch
5.51300*150027-inch/8 pcs/
61500*185032-inch/8 pcs、37-inch/6 pcsMonitor and TV in 32~42-inch
71950*225042-inch/8 pcs、46-inch/6 pcsTV in 32~42-inch
82160*246046-inch/8 pcs、52-inch/6 pcsTV in 32~60-inch
8.52200*250055-inch/6 pcs/
102880*313065-inch/6 pcs、60-inch/8 pcsTV in above 42-inch
10.52940*337065-inch/8 pcs/
113000*3320 70-inch/8 pcsTV in above 50-inch
Table 1. The cutting size and common application market corresponding to each generation

At present, the mainstream TV sizes in the market: 32 inches (716x415mm), 43-inches ( 961x550mm), 49 inches (1090x621mm), 55 inches (1230x707mm), 60 inches (1351x781mm), 75 inches (1675x954mm), 86 inches (1922x1093mm).

The mainstream monitor sizes in the market: 21.5 inches (480 x271mm), 23.6~23.8 inches (521x296mm), 27 inches (602x340mm), 31.5 inches (697x392mm), 34 inches (800x335mm).

The mainstream notebook sizes in the market: 11.6 inches (256x144mm), 13.8 inches ( 281x208mm), 15.6 inches ( 344x194mm).

Therefore, panel manufacturers have to consider the panel size favored by consumers when building new production lines and selecting the generation. The generation can be determined only after the market demand is predicted and the glass substrate size with the best cutting efficiency is calculated.

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