This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

The Digital Skeptic: Patience Is the New Black in Domestic Manufacturing

Stocks in this article: MN

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Joel Domino has the secret to making money while making things that screen and device giants such as Samsung and Apple (AAPL) don't.

"What I learned is, the regulations have an effect. The expertise is part of it. The right vendors are important," Domino told me a few weeks back, as we talked over his company's radical new liquid crystal display. "But at the end of the day, you have to have patient investors."

"We are in the heart of a new ecosystem for screens in Ohio. The story of what it took to get that all in place has not been told," he said.

The technology
Domino is president of tiny Kent Displays, the Kent, Ohio-based interactive LCD maker. No, friends, that's no misprint. Domino really does make real money building world-beating displays, not in Chongqing, but 35 miles southeast of Cleveland. In mid-2012, Kent announced a second production line for its interactive LCDs. And a Kent spokesman, Kevin Oswald, confirmed to me that the 100-person firm makes about a million screens a year and that growth in "the past few years has averaged about 50%."

Domino sketched out for me what makes Kent unique on the back of a piece of scrap graph paper. The company pioneered a process that avoids the billion-dollar infrastructure needed to cut stiff screens from large plates of glass, as Samsung might. Kent engineered a simpler method in which two plastic substrates are fed continuously off separate rolls and pressed together. Liquid crystal is then spread inside this substrate/liquid crystal sandwich, sealed and cut into screen slugs by a laser.

"We have one person at the front of the line, one person at the back of the line," Domino said. "And that is pretty much it."

Analysts confirm that Kent defines a new generation of radically lower-cost screen technologies that can display and store hand-drawn information, making tiny Kent a rare bit of good news in the huge -- but surprisingly profit challenged -- global screen and device business.

"Emerging display companies like Kent are a drop of rain compared to Samsung," Sweta Dash told me over the phone. Dash has spent 25 years studying the screen market as the senior director of display research and strategy at IHS iSuppli, based in El Segundo, Calif. Dash says that screen giants such as Samsung may sell $85 billion to $125 billion worth of screens a year, but "those plants have been losing money for the last six to eight quarters ... which makes new technologies like Kent's attractive."

A key product has been the cool Boogie Board paperless writing tablet. "We were careful not to compete with Samsung or Apple to start," Domino said. "But eventually this process will be in a much wider variety of displays."

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,053.71 +23.50 0.13%
S&P 500 2,088.77 +6.89 0.33%
NASDAQ 4,806.8590 +33.3870 0.70%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs