Idemitsu Kosan is a Japanese company, founded in 1911, to engage in oil distribution, and over the years they have gained experience in fuel products and basic chemicals, plastics, electronic materials and OLED materials. Idemitsu is best known for its fluorescent blue emitter and host.
Idemitsu Kosan are working towards OLED materials together with BOE Display, Merck, Sony, LG Display, Mitsui chemicals, Doosan and UDC. Together with Panasonic, the company launched an OLED lighting joint-venture called Panasonic Idemitsu OLED Lighting (PIOL), but PIOL was dissolved when Panasonic withdrew from the OLED lighting market.
In January 2016 we posted an interview with Idemitsu's electronic materials chief.
The latest Idemitsu Kosan OLED news:
According to a story on ETNews, Samsung aims to use a full-screen display in its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S8. To achieve such a display, Samsung is using a flexible AMOLED that is wrapped around all four sides of the phone (unlike its current edge phones that are cured on two edges only).
ETNews also says that SDC is set to update its OLED material recipe. The so-called M7 iteration was used in the Galaxy Note 5, the GS7 and the Note 7. But now Samsung is updating its recipe to M8. You can see the different suppliers in the chart above. Most materials are sourced from the same supplier, but of course the suppliers are offering newer, updated materials and Samsung may switch to those.
Merck and Idemitsu Kosan have entered into a collaboration agreement that allows each company to use the other company's OLED material-related IP in certain areas. Both Merck and Idemitsu hope that this will enable both companies to develop higher-performance OLED materials.
Merck and Idemitsu also expect to continue discussions and expand the collaboration to other areas in the future.
Idemitsu Kosan announced that LG's latest OLED TVs use the company's materials. Idemitsu and LG have a strategic OLED alliance in place since 2009, and the two companies signed a mutual-cooperation agreement and patent licensing in 2014.
Earlier this month UBI estimated that Idemitsu Kosan's OLED material sales grew from around $50 million in 2014 to around $80 million in 2015. Idemitsu's OLED material shipment to LG are probably what's behind this large increase as LG is ramping up its OLED TV panel production
UBI: the OLED emitter material market grew 17% in 2015 as producers increase capacity and change material suppliers
According to UBI Research, the market for OLED emitting materials grew 17% from 2014 to 2015. Universal Display (the top supplier in terms of revenues), Dow Chemical and LG Chem saw a decrease in sales while Novaled, Idemitsu Kosan and Samsung SDI saw improved revenues.
Samsung Display is the largest OLED producer by far, and so when it changes suppliers it changes the whole market. UBI says that in 2015 Idemitsu Kosan, the second supplier in terms of revenue started delivering blue fluorescent emitters to Samsung Display, and also enjoyed the ramp-up in OLED TV production by LGD.
Idemitsu Kosan is a large multinational Chemical company based in Japan that is supplying OLED materials for OLED producers. Idemitsu has OLED business units in Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China and is collaborating with UDC, LGD, AU Optronics, Doosan and others.
Hajime Nakamoto, the head of the Electronic Materials Department at Idemitsu was kind enough to answer a few questions we had. Mr. Nakamoto joined Idemitsu in 1984 and has been involved with OLEDs since 2007.
Q: Hajime, Thank you for your time. Idemitsu has been one of the leaders in OLED materials for a very long time. Can you tell us what kind of materials you currently offer for OLED panel makers?
Idemitsu offers almost all kinds of OLED materials to OLED panel makers. Idemitsu is particularly well-known for its fluorescent blue host and dopant materials and transport materials, which offer advantages to OLED panel makers.
Idemitsu Kosan and Doosan Corporation announced a new OLED business arrangement and cross-patent agreement. The two companies will cooperate in OLED manufacturing and each company will be allowed to develop, manufacture and sell OLED materials using the other company's patents.
Idemitsu and Doosan hope that the new agreement (which will hopefully be concluded by the end of 2015) will enable the acceleration of OLED material development, lower production costs and an increase in OLED supply deals.
Idemitsu Kosan opened a new office in Shanghai to support OLED material sales to OLED panel makers in China, and to collect information about the Chinese market.
Idemistsu expects OLED demand to increase due to the expansion of the OLED industry in China. The Shanghai Office is Idemitsu’s third overseas base for the OLED materials business, following those in South Korea and Taiwan.
According to the Korea Times, LG Display is in talks to acquire Global OLED Technology (GOT), the IP holdings company that owns over 2,000 OLED related patents originally created by Kodak. GOT was formed in 2009 following LG's $100 million purchase of Kodak's OLED business unit.
LG Display already acquired the GOT shares owned by LG Electronics - which gave a value of $156 million to GOT. LGD now owns 65% of GOT, with the rest being owned by Idemitsu Kosan (33%) and LG Chem (2%).
Idemitsu Kosan and LG display entered into an expanded alliance to cooperate on OLED technologies. LGD aims to accelerate its OLED development and now have a license to use Idemitsu's OLED device patents.
Idemitsu has been collaborating with LGD on OLED technologies since 2009, and in 2010 Idemitsu acquired a 32.73% stake in Global OLED Technology (LG's OLED patent holdings company, acquired from Kodak's in December 2009).
Panasonic is reportedly going to withdraw from the OLED lighting market. The Japanese company cannot see earnings coming from this operation due to the high cost of production. Panasonic Idemitsu OLED lighting (PIOL, established in 2011 with Idemitsu Kosan) will be dissolved. Panasonic will turn all of its focus into LED lighting.
This is sad news and a bit of surprise as only a few weeks ago Panasonic demonstrated three new OLED lighting panels at a LED trade show in Tokyo, including the company's first flexible OLEDs. On the other hand, In December 2013 Panasonic also canceled their OLED TV joint development with Sony. So perhaps it makes sense for Panasonic to withdraw from OLEDs altogether.