Corning (NYSE:GLW) is developing a new application for Gorilla Glass – the company’s market-leading cover glass for touchscreen consumer electronics like smartphones and tablets. Corning is looking to collaborate with markerboard manufacturers and designers to position Gorilla Glass as a markerboard surface material replacing traditional melamine/porcelain whiteboards and soda-lime glass-boards. The company contends that Gorilla Glass’ thinness, light-weight, scratch resistance as well as durability helps address many present day needs of markerboard manufacturers. In its pursuit of developing this new application for Gorilla Glass, Corning has tied up with two major markerboard manufacturers – Egan and Krystal.   These partnerships bring large existing customer bases, strong sales forces and distribution channels that will help Corning take Gorilla Glass to offices and classrooms as markerboard.
Currently, in its initial stages, if the company is able to successfully develop and market the use of Gorilla Glass as markerboard, then the growth in Gorilla Glass’ sales will be enhanced. This glass was launched in 2007, and it crossed $1 billion in annual sales last year driven by its adoption as a cover glass on many smartphones and tablets, coupled with their rising unit sales and larger screen sizes. Gorilla Glass is part of Corning’s Specialty Materials segment, which constituted around 14% of its top line in the first-half of 2013. 
We currently have a stock price estimate of $15.50 for Corning, around 10% ahead of its current market price.
Gorilla Glass Vs. Conventional Markerboards
Gorilla Glass is thinner and lighter compared to conventional markerboards which feature porcelain on steel or soda-lime glass. The weight savings realized from Gorilla Glass makes shipment and installation of markerboards simpler and cheaper for manufacturers. Additionally, soda-lime glass-boards due to their thickness require expensive rare earth magnets to be magnetized. Markerboards featuring Gorilla Glass, on the other hand, can be magnetized with traditional magnets. The soda-lime glass-boards also give rise to double imaging when viewed from the sides due to their thickness. No such visual distortions are observed in the case of Gorilla Glass. In June earlier this year, when Egan Visual showcased its EganAero line of markerboards featuring Gorilla Glass, the manufacturer contended that these new markerboards were up to 88% thinner compared to conventional markerboards. 
Gorilla Glass’ stain and scratch resistance also increases markerboard’s useful life. Melamine/porcelain whiteboards typically require replacement after every three to five years due to stains and damage. Gorilla Glass being non-absorptive does not incur stains from repeated use of certain types of markers. It also prevents scratches from dusters when being erased, which is an issue with soda-lime glass-boards. In all, the many benefits of Gorilla Glass makes it an attractive alternative to conventional markerboards.
A couple of months back, Corning had launched a specialized version of Gorilla Glass – Gorilla Glass NBT – for cover glass application in touch-enabled notebooks. (See Corning Aims To Dominate Notebook Cover Glass Market With Gorilla Glass NBT) Considerably, we see a dedicated effort from the company in expanding the applications for Gorilla Glass. In future, Corning anticipates to come up with more new applications for Gorilla Glass for markets that include automobiles, architecture and household appliances.Notes:
- Egan Visual premiers EganAero markerboards featuring Corning Gorilla Glass, June 12 2013, www.prweb.com [↩] [↩]
- Corning® Gorilla® Glass and Krystal™ Glass Writing Boards Deliver Creative Approach to Markerboard Market, September 3 2013, www.corning.com [↩]
- Corning’s Q2 2013 10-Q, July 31 2013, www.corning.com [↩]