LG Display is going to operate Gen.6 Flexible OLED (organic light-emitting diode) Production Line in Gumi as two division processing method.
It is a same method as Samsung Display’s method where it supplied OLED panels mostly for Smartphones with 5-inch or bigger screens. It seems like LG Display has made such a decision to maximize ratio of producing area per panel and minimize time and cost to developing equipment for processes. It can be seen as a strategic move that has expansion of production through panels for TVs in mind.
According to industries on the 11th, LG Display is going to use two division method that divides panels into two at E5 Production Line that is currently being constructed in Gumi. As direction of production of next-generation Flexible OLED takes place, construction of lines in Gumi will speed up even faster.
E5 is a production line that has $870 million (1.05 trillion KRW) invested to produce Flexible OLEDs. LG Display is going to start mass-production in first half of 2017 and produce 7,500 Gen. 6 panels per month early on.
This is the first time when LG Display is preparing for Gen. 6 Flexible OLED Line. E2 Line for Flexible OLEDs that LG Display already has is current mass-production 20,000 Gen. 4.5 OLEDs per month.
<Panoramic view of LG Electronics Gumi Factories>
LG Display has been thinking and debating for a long time with a division method on the line. Since Samsung Display usually supplies for Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Smartphones, it was relatively easy to analyze size of panels of major product lines. However LG Display does not supply to LG Electronics that much. Because it needs to satisfy demands from variety of Smartphone manufacturers, it has contemplated on choosing a method that can maximize efficiency.
Samsung Display, which is a front runner in this business, had been using four division method at Gen 5.5 A2 Line and switched to two division (1500x925mm) method at a new Gen.6 (1500x1850) A3 Line. As 5-inch displays are becoming popular among Smartphones, businesses can save production time and cost by dividing a mother-glass into two rather than four. Two division method can also produce panels for TVs.
It seems that LG Display is also using two division method to its Gen.6 Flexible OLED Line as 5-inch Smartphones are becoming more popular.
Division method of a mother-glass greatly influences production cost of manufacturing. As a mother-glass is divided more and more, time and cost until one reaches final stage of production become more and more since there are more panels to process. However one cannot just stick to large areas since possibility of faultiness becomes bigger as area becomes bigger.
Out of equipments for display processes, one that is most difficult to enlarge is metallizing equipment. A reason why Gen. 3.5 metallizing equipment is used for previous Gen 5.5 OLED Line that uses 4 division method is because level of difficulty for technology to metallize large-area of organic matters is very high. However metalllizing equipment technology that can process Gen 5.5 and 6 OLED has been commercialized recently and its level of stability has become higher too. Fact that LG Display is using two division method to E5 Line after Samsung Display did the same for A3 Line can be seen as that stability of large-area metallizing equipment technology has become higher.
Ratio of producing area per panel is also important. Ratio can be maximized if a mother-glass disk is not cut and is used as it is. Generally one can have competitive edge if it secure 90% or higher in ratio of producing area per panel.
Since high ratio allows one to use equipment that are commercialized for two division method, time and cost to develop separate equipment can be minimized.
A goal for LG Display now is how to maximize production efficiency by controlling size of Smartphone panels that are subdivided into 5-inch, 5.5-inch and others. 294 and 242 panels can be produced from a 5-inch Gen.6 mother-glass and a 5.5-inch Gen.6 mother-glass respectively. Difference in amount of production changes as the size changes.
“Division method of mother-glass greatly influences productivity and there has to be many concerns since it is first time that LG Display is constructing Gen.6 Flexible OLED Line.” said a person related to this industry. “Since important decision-makings have taken place, construction of production line will speed up.”
Staff Reporter Bae, Okjin |