Ron Mertens from OLED-Info.com recently had the opportunity to interview Toshiki Mizoe, overseas sales manager, Tokki Corporation. Tokki manufactures vacuum process equipment and factory automation system, and developed the first OLED mass production system in 1999, which processed both OLED / electrode material deposition and encapsulation by one system. Tokki's OLED production system has been delivered to most of small molecular OLED manufactures in Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
Q: First of all, thank you for agreeing to conduct this interview. Can you describe your production system (ELVESS)?
ELVESS is cluster tool OLED production system, and it has evaporation chambers for organic materials and metal (for cathode), and automatic encapsulation unit is connected to the system. Total system can be run for 5 to 6 days without stop, with tact time of <5 min. RGB evaporation chamber has mask aligment mechanism of <+/-5 um alignment accuracy.
Q: Can your system be used to produce OLEDs and PLEDs? And AMOLEDs?
ELVESS is designed for Small molecular OLED production, but PLED manufactures also use our system for Cathode deposition. We have a specific technology of low damage cathode deposition. Some our customers are producing AMOLEDs, as well.
Q: Can you name some companies that are already using your production system?
We cannot disclose name of our customers, but our production system has been installed to major OLED manufacturers in Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
Q: Are there any OLED displays on the market today that were manufactured using any of your products?
Mobile phone sub-display, MP3, Car audio, etc. You will see more Mobile phone main displays in near future.
Q: Who are your business partners?
Every customer is our partner, intended to grow together. We disclosed partnership of CDT and UDC in the past by news release.
Q: You have very recently announced a partnership with GE Global Research. Can you give some more info on that project?
The project is joint development of PE-CVD for thin film encapsulation. GE provides process technology and Tokki will manufacture PE-CVD, which is available for OLED production and other organic electronics. Tokki is manufacturing machine to start process evaluation in a few month.
Q: Can you explain more about the PE-CVD ?
We have own PE-CVD chamber which has been qualified for OLED application. Low temperature deposition ( < 100 C degrees) is possible not to degrade organic materials underneath. We are just making G4 capable PE-CVD to start GE's thin firm encapsulation process.
Q: We know that you are working with Vitex, and have sold a system together to a japanese company. Can you give more details about your relationship with Vitex?
We used to manufacture equipment for Vitex, and Vitex sold the system. Vitex announced about their new business model, but there is nothing to comment here.
Q: We also hear that you are working with Universal Display (UDC) on flexible displays - back in September 2006 one of your systems was highlighted in a UDC PR. Can you give more info about that? And about flexible displays in general?
We cannot say in detail, but UDC is an extremely important partner since both company has to challenge for new OLED and future OLED, all the time in this market.
Q: What do you think are the main technical challenges in OLEDs? Lifetime, cost, performance?
Improvement for TFT backplane cost / yield. To employ larger glass substrate in production. These two are quite difficult challenges, but necessary challenges to optimize cost issue.
Life time is not so big issue for small molecular OLED, since most of current application is small size panels for mobile products.
Q: Samsung (And others) have produced very thin and efficient LCDs. How will that effect OLEDs? Can OLEDs compete with those new LCDs?
OLED is competing with LCD inside Samsung SDI. Both technologies will grow further. But someone wants to change mobile phone main display from LCD to OLED. Potential business will be huge.
Actually, KDDI in Japan started sales of very nice mobile phone with a 2.4" AMOLED - the Media Skin, recently.
Q: Where do you see the display market in a few years?
Transition from PMOLED to AMOLED will be promoted by specific OLED manufacturers.
Q: Where do you see Tokki's OLED systems in about 5 years?
Production equipment for larger glass substrate / R2R to manufacture AMOLED, flexible display, OLED lighting and OLED Solar.
Thank you again for your time, I wish both you and Tokki good luck!
You can download Tokki's standard OLED production system configuration PDF (with photos of their offices, labs and assembly lines buildings).