Samsung Display’s ongoing extension of flexible OLED line is highly expected to move to the gen 7 production line.
An OLED specialized research company, UBI Research CEO Choong Hoon Yi(senior analysis) analyzed the names of Samsung Display’s plants have changed by generation so A4 line will be able to increase to the gen 7.
The OLED plants owned by Samsung Display consist of A1, A2, and A3. A1 line is the gen 4 plant, A2 is the gen 5.5, and A3 is the gen 6 plant. LCD’s 7-1 line that is being recently converted is reportedly named A3E which is the follow-up of A3.
Therefore, the CEO Choong Hoon Yi forecast A4 will become the gen 7 line, in light of this trend.
To this end, he looks squarely at some issues to overcome. Firstly, it needs to secure excimer laser, the prerequisite for LTPS-TFT and doping apparatus because production equipment still remains the gen 6. But, Yi thought there is no problem in securing equipment and developing process up to the gen 7, as Samsung Display has been operating the gen 8 LTPS-TFT to produce 55-inch OLED panels for TV.
In addition, he analyzed it would be also possible to manufacture the FMM of the gen 7 half, required for the OLED deposition process. Samsung Display’s sole supplier of FMM, DNP made an investment in manufacturing facilities last year. Although the details of investment haven’t been well-known, it already has a stepper that can manufacture a mask of gen 7 half.
Lastly, when it comes to the validity of investment in Samsung Display’s gen 7, a differentiated production strategy is a key issue, according to Yi. Recently, companies that got into the business late are investing in the gen 6 OLED line, and in a few years their equipment productivity will be as good as Samsung Display’s. In his point of view, it is very meaningful to invest in the gen 7 line in order to stand out from new comers once again.
Samsung Display is already building various portfolios such as foldable OLED, COP(chip on plastic)OLED, and OLED with 800ppi high-resolution even at the R&D stage. The addition of the gen 7 production strategy to its R&D strategy incomparable with late comers will further raise its competitiveness.