CLSA: OLED capacity spending has peaked, sees no more orders in the near future

Analysts from CLSA returned from a journey to Asia with some interesting notes on the OLED industry. According to CLSA, spending in the OLED industry has peaked and OLED producers are not expecting to place any new equipment orders in the near future. This coincides with IHS estimates of over supply in the flexible OLED market in 2018.

According to CLSA, Samsung has a current capacity in its A3 and A4 (which should be ready by Q2 2018) OLED fabs to produce about 330-385 million OLED displays per year (11 lines, each about 15,000 monthly substrates) which SDC expects to be enough to satisfy Apple's and Samsung Electronics' demand. SDC does not see a strong demand from China's smartphone makers, surprisingly, due to the high cost of OLED displays. Without demand for larger displays (tablets/laptops) or perhaps for foldable devices, SDC's seem to be content with its current OLED capacity.

UBI: Flexible OLED shipments to overtake rigid ones by 2019

UBI Research estimates that in 2019 Flexible OLED shipments will reach 480 million units, overtaking rigid OLED shipments (409 million in 2019) for the first time. In a somewhat confusing PR, UBI seem to suggest that flexible OLED shipments will grow at a CAGR of 41% to reach 1.285 billion units (and $59.4 billion in revenues) in 2022.

Rigid vs flexible AMOLED shipments (2018-2022, UBI)

UBI also provides information on two specific market segments. Full-screen flexible OLED shipments will reach 265 million units in 2018 (a market-share of 82.1% of all flexible OLEDs). Full-screen OLED domination will continue in the future and in 2022 over a billion such displays will ship (market share of 79.5%).

DSCC sees flexible smartphone OLEDs overtaking rigid ones for the first time in Q4 2017

DSCC estimates that 88 Million smartphone OLED displays were shipped in Q3 2017, which represents a 4% drop from Q2 2017 and a 13% drop from Q3 2016 - mostly due to delays in iPhone X shipments. Flexible OLED shipments were up 25% from Q2 2017 (30.4 million units).

Smartphone flexible OLED market shipments (2016-2017, DSCC)

Shipments are expected to grow significantly in Q4 2017, though, to reach 151 million units. Flexible OLEDs shipments (78.3 million) will grow 157% from last quarter and 544% from last year, and will surpass rigid OLED shipments (73.3 million) for the first time.

ETNews: BOE is considering its third flexible OLED line as it aims to become an Apple OLED supplier

Last month BOE started to produce flexible OLED displays at its Chengdu B7 fab, and according to ETnews the company is aiming to become a future Apple supplier and so is planning ambitious flexible OLED capacity expansion.

BOE Flexible AMOLED prototype photo

BOE's B7 fab, the company's first flexible AMOLED line, will have a full capacity of 48,000 6-Gen substrate per month (this will only be achieved in the first half of 2019). In October 2016 BOE announced another 6-Gen OLED fab (the B11 line) in Mianyang. The Miangyang fab will have a similar capacity and will initiate production in 2019.

Visionox demonstrates new OLED panels and flexible OLED prototypes

Visionox participated at the 19th China International Hi-Tech Fair opened in Shenzhen, and the company demonstrated several new OLED prototype panels. Visionox demonstrate several "full-screen" AMOLEDs, including a 6.01" one and a 5.99" flexible one.

Visionox booth at the Shenzhen hi-tech fair 2017

According to the Chinese report, Visionox has stated its flexible OLED "roadmap" as the company wants to start with curved panels, then move to foldable and finally to stretchable displays. Visionox says it has achieved mass production technology for curved OLEDs, but according to our information its first flexible AMOLED fab will only begin production in the summer of 2018.

The Holst Centre developed and demonstrated a new barrier for foldable OLEDs

The Holst Centre is demonstrating a new optimized encapsulation (barrier) layer for foldable OLED panels. The new barrier is made from an organic layer sandwiched between two layers of silicon nitride (SiN). These are standard materials, but by optimizing the stack design the researchers at the Holst Centre were able to control its mechanical properties and create a much more flexible barrier.

Foldable OLED demonstrator with a new barrier layer (Holst, Nov 2017)

The Holst researchers used an organic material that can withstand 400 °C and can be applied by slot-die coating. This allows the SiN layers to be deposited at 350 °C, improving their quality and ability to prevent water penetration. The Holst tested the OLED prototypes that use the new barrier for 1,000 hours (in accelerated lifetime testing) and no black spots appeared, even after 10,000 folding cycles (bending radiud 0.5 mm).

The LOMID project partners manage to produce 1" curved WUXGA OLED Microdisplays at satisfactory yields

In January 2015 the EU launched a new project to develop aims to develop next-generation large-area OLED microdisplays. The so-called LOMID (Large cost-effective OLED microdisplays and their applications) project's main goal is to produce 13x21 mm (~1-inch diagonal) 1200x1920 (2,300 PPI) 120Hz curved OLED microdisplay.

LOMID 1'' curved WUXGA OLED microdisplay photo (Dec 2017)

Dr. Uwe Fogel, the project's coordinator from the Fraunhofer FEP institute, updated today that the consortium managed to produce the first microdisplay samples at satisfactory yields, and it is now improving these yields. LOMID partners are already demonstrating the microdisplays in smart glasses for both VR and visually-impaired people.

IHS says demand for flexible AMOLEDs to grow slower than the supply, which will lead to low fab utilization in 2018

IHS says that demand for flexible AMOLED displays is growing at a slower pace than expected - and also at a slower rate than its supply, and as a result the demand in 2018 will be 44% lower than the supply.

Flexible OLED supply and demand balance (IHS, 2016-2020)

IHS says that flexible OLED capacity will grow 100% in 2018 (to reach 4.4 million square meters), but demand will only grow 70% (to 2.4 million square meters). IHS says that the high price of flexible OLEDs caused smartphone makers to opt for either rigid (glass-based) OLEDs or LCDs in their 2018 models. IHS estimates that the price gap between a flexible OLED and a rigid OLED on the same 6-Gen line is about 50%.

New videos show the latest LG Display OLED installations in Korea and Hong Kong

LG Display published three very nice videos showcasing three new OLED lighting installations. First up is an OLED chandelier that was specifically designed for the presidential suite suite in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong.

As you can see in the video above, the Chandelier has a unique design that uses 36 modules each with 4 OLED Panels (for a total of 144 10x10 cm panels). The project managers (TELCS Lighting Design and Consutancy) and the chandelier designer (Joyce Wang Studio) say that only OLED lighting panels provided them with the light quality and design possibilities that they wanted.

SmartKem signs an agreement with a display maker in Taiwan to develop and produce OTFT-based displays

UK-based OFTF developer SmartKem announced that it has signed a Letter Of Intent (LOI) with a display maker in Taiwan to develop and mass produce commercial displays using its OTFT technology.

SmartKem OTFT transistors photo

SmartKem did not name this company, but they did say that the company produces both LCD and AMOLED displays, which means it is likely to be either AU Optronics or Innolux. It is not clear whether the Taiwanes display maker will use SmartKem's technology for future OLED or LCD displays (or, most likely, both).