OLED is an emerging display technology that enables beautiful and efficient displays and lighting panels. OLEDs are already being used in many mobile devices and TVs, and the next generation of these panels will be flexible and bendable.

Different kinds of flexibility

When we talk about flexible OLEDs, it's important to understand what that means exactly. A flexible OLED is based on a flexible substrate which can be either plastic, metal or flexible glass. The plastic and metal panels will be light, thin and very durable - in fact they will be virtually shatter-proof.

The first range of devices that use flexible OLED displays are not really flexible from the user perspective. The device maker bends the displays, or curves it - but the final user is not able to actually bend the device. Besides the beautiful designs, a flexible OLED has several advantages especially in mobile devices - the displays are lighter, thinner and more durable compared to glass based displays.

Second generation flexible OLED devices may indeed be flexible to the final user. Finally, when the technology is ready, we may see OLED panels that you can fold, bend or stretch. This may create all sorts of exciting designs that will enable large displays to be placed in a mobile device and only be opened when required.



Flexible OLED products

In October 2013, following many years of development and prototype demonstrations, both Samsung and LG Display finally started producing flexible AMOLED displays on plastic (polyimide) substrates. Both Korean companies are now mass producing such displays, which are being used in mobile phones and wearable devices - such as the Galaxy S7 Edge (shown below), the LG G Flex 2 and Apple's Watch.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge at MWC photo

Samsung Display is currently producing flexible OLEDs in two production lines, the 5.5-Gen A2 and the and the newer A3 6-Gen A3. Samsung is producing around 9 million flexible OLEDs per month - to satisfy demand for its mobile phones and wearables - and Samsung is working on expanding its capacity as demand soars and as Apple ordered around 100 million flexible OLED panels for its future iPhones.

LG Display currently produces plastic-based OLEDs in its Gen-4.5 fab, and is investing $900 million to build new production lines as it also aims to become a major flexible AMOLED producer.

Flexible OLED lighting

OLEDs can also be used to make white lighting panels. OLED is a diffuse area lighting source with unique characteristics. While OLED lighting is still in its infancy, many believe that flexible OLED lighting panels may provide designers with a new lighting source that will create stunning designs. Currently there are two companies that produce flexible OLED lighting - LG Display who is also constructing the world's first Gen-5 OLED lighting mass production line and Konica Minolta who's also developing an amibitious flexible OLED lighting fab.

Flexible OLEDs Market Report

If you want to fully understand the flexible OLED display and lighting markets, check out our Flexible OLED Market Report. This comprehensive report explains:

  • Why flexible displays and lighting panels are so exciting
  • What kind of flexible displays are currently on the market
  • What the future holds for flexible OLEDs
  • How to acquire flexible OLEDs for your products

The report package also provides a complete list of flexible OLED developers and makers and their current (and future) products, and a lot more. Read more here!

Latest Flexible OLED news

Video shows Visionox's latest flexible and foldable OLED panels and prototypes

Visionox showcased it latest flexible OLEDs in a recent tradeshow, and Notebook Italia published this interesting video showing all of Visionox's displays.

Visionox is showing several interesting displays - a 5.99" 1080x2160 (403 PPI) AMOLED edge type flexible OLED, a full-screen 5.99" 2160×1440 flexible AMOLED and a 6.21" notch-type 2160×1440 AMOLED, with a touch sensor under the screen.

Novares invests 5 million Euro in FlexEnable, to help bring OLCDs to the automotive market

FlexEnable announced that Novares, a plastic automotive solutions provider, invested €5 million in the company. This is a strategic investment by Novares that aims to bring FlexEnable's flexible organic LCD (OLCD) to automotive interiors.

Interestingly the press release does not discuss OLEDs at all, only OLCDs which is described as a low-cost, high-reliability, conformable and shapeable display technology. FlexEnable started commercializing its OLCD technology together with Truly Semiconductors in 2017. OLCD production is expected to begin by the end of 2018, and Novares already demonstrated a demo Car that features OLCD displays

OLED Handbook

Ares materials launches a mechanical lift-off technology for flexible OLED production

Ares Materials launched a new Mechanical Lift-Off (MLO) technology called Easybond that is designed to temporarily bond solution-cast flexible substrates to display mother glass during the OLED display fabrication process.

Ares Materials Easybond photo

Ares says that Easybond offers a cost-effective reliable alternative to current last-based lift-off (LLO) processes. Using Easybond, OLED makers can also increase manufacturing throughput. The company says this solution can decrease flexible OLED production yields, resulting from defects caused by the last lift-off process.

ITRI expands its pilot R2R flexible OLED lighting line

Taiwan's ITRI institute says that recent advances in OLED materials and production methods has enabled it to great reduce OLED lighting production costs. Recent technical achievements at ITRI include a new flexible substrate transfer, R2R production process integration, and soft light source system design.

ITRI FOLED tree photo

In 2016 ITRI constructed a pilot roll-to-roll production line for flexible OLEDs. ITRI now says that these technical achievements will enable it to increase the production line capacity for 50,000 monthly panels. ITRI also developed a new flexible OLED that weighs only 10.7 grams and is less than 0.5 mm thick.

OTI Lumioncs launches its new Aerelight for print technology, aiming to embed flexible OLED lighting in print media

OTI Lumionics launched a new technology it calls Aerelight for Print technology, which uses paper-thin flexible OLED panels to light elements in print media.

OTI says that in order to enable low-cost production of flexible OLEDs, it designed its own manufacturing technology and advanced materials. This includes the company's own proprietary FlexTorr encapsulation technology.

More details and a video of BOE's new 7.6" foldable AMOLED

Yesterday we reported that BOE unveiled a new 7.6" 2048x1536 foldable (5R bending radius) AMOLED display, and today we have more information and a video that shows this new display.

So the display is 7.56" 2048x1536 (338 PPI) foldable AMOLED, that features a brightness of 380 nits and a color gamut of 100% NTSC. The display is 0.66 mm thick. The video also shows BOE's 6.2" 2992x1440 (537 PPI) notch-type AMOLED and its 13" 8K LCD display.

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