You can't tell whether the people behind the masks are smiling, but they probably are: LG has just brought in a new production method at its A3 plant in Gumi, South Korea, allowing it to get eight screens out of a single sheet of glass rather than the six it achieved previously.

The new '8-up' production method allows the company to handle sheets of substrate 2.2x1.95m, rather than the old 1.65x1.95m. That may not sound much, but it means two extra screens can be obtained from each sheet of substrate.

It also answers those who saw the recent closure of the company's oldest A1 plant as a sign that demand for plasma screens may be falling. Far from it: this new, more streamlined process boosts the company's output to 440,000 panels a month, up 22 per cent and greater than that achieved before the A1 shutdown.

It's now clear the company's strategy is one of concentration on modern, high-efficiency production while closing down less efficient facilities.

The company also announced that it has now started mass-production of 50in panels, as part of a focus on premium products in the flatscreen market.

More after the break