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Panasonic to expand image sensor plant

Panasonic plans to spend $860 million to expand a Japanese site for manufacturing image sensors, with a new facility opening in 2009.

Panasonic's newer L10 SLR uses the company's own image sensor. Panasonic

Panasonic plans to spend 94 billion yen, or $860 million, to add a new facility to its image-sensor manufacturing plant in Tonami, Toyama Prefecture, Japan, the company said Thursday.

The consumer electronics giant will begin construction in September and manufacturing in August 2009, the company said. It will use the plant to build sensors for digital cameras, vehicles, camcorders, broadcasting gear, and medical equipment, Panasonic said.

The 48,000-square-meter plant will be able to manufacture 30,000 200mm-diameter wafers per month. Silicon wafers are large circular crystals from which processors are made.