In a bid to start full operation early next year, Samsung Display has invested in adding production facilities for flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays in earnest. Starting with Samsung Electronics, the demand of flexible OLED displays is increasing in the smartphone market. Market watchers believe that the company has made such a decision considering the supply of panels for Apple’s iPhone, which will begin in 2018.
According to industry sources on March 2, Samsung Display has started making the second investment in its existing A3 flexible OLED lines in Tangjeong in South Chungcheong Province. The company recently placed an order with 10 OLED equipment producers for production facilities worth 400 billion won (US$325.73 million).
The equipment manufacturers said the production capability of the A3 flexible OLED lines will be doubled from the current 15,000 pieces of mother glass per month to over 30,000 pieces when they complete the supply of the production equipment. Accordingly, it will become the largest flexible OLED production base of Samsung Display.
The A3 lines are highly likely to start operation early next year. Considering the fact that major equipment producers, such as AP Systems and Rorze Systems will supply the OLED production equipment by Oct. to Dec., the lines will go through the test operation by the end of the year and start producing panels next year in earnest. The eBEST Investment & Securities Co. forecasts that the company’s total flexible OLED panel production capabilities will be increased by more than two times from the current 39,000 sheets per month to 90,000 sheets per month next year with the latest investment.
Many say that Samsung Display has made the investment in a bid to meet the supply of flexible OLED panels to Apple. Apple has decided to use an OLED display in its next-generation iPhone 8, and is cooperating in research with major display producers, including Samsung Display, Japan Display Inc. (JDI) and LG Display.