Kateeva was established in 2008 at MIT with an aim to pioneer OLED ink-jet deposition processes.
The company developed innovative inkjet printing equipment, branded as YIELDJet printers. Kateeva started to offer ink-jet based encapsulation systems in 2014, used to protect flexible OLED panels. Kateeva's encapsulation performance is excellent and it was already reported that these systems are used in flexible OLED mass production - and Kateeva claims that it takes a "commanding lead" in the OLED organic thin-film encapsulation (TEF) market.
In 2017 Kateeva formally introduced its inkjet equipment for large-area RGB OLED emitter deposition. Kateeva brands its new line as YIELDJet Explore and these systems are currently targeted for R&D lines and pilot lines.
Kateeva is also developing printers that can deposit quantum dot materials, and according to reports the company's equipment will be used by Samsung to deposit QDs for its QD-OLED TVs.
The latest Kateeva news:
Prof. Ching Tang and Steven Van Slyke inducted into the US National Inventors Hall of Fame for their work on OLEDs
Professor Ching Tang from the University of Rochester and Steven Van Slyke, currently the Chief Technology Officer at Kateeva have been inducted into the US National Inventors Hall of Fame for their pioneering work on OLEDs. Both Steven and Tang worked on OLED displays as research scientists at Eastman Kodak.
The US National Investors Hall of Fame was founded in 1973, and more than 500 men and women who conceived, patented, and advanced some of the most groundbreaking technological achievements in the United States has been induced so far.
Many OLED producers believe that Ink-Jet printing of OLED emissive materials is the best way to achieve lower-cost OLED TV production, and to enable OLEDs to compete in the medium part of the TV market. Ink-Jet printing is an efficient process (less material waste compared to evaporation) and it can be very quick as well. The main drawbacks of inkjet are the limited resolution and the need for soluble emissive materials which are less efficient compared to evaporation ones.
A Kateeva OLED ink-jet printing system
These challenges are being overcome, and it seems that at least four groups (in Korea, Japan and China) are charging forward towards mass production of ink-jet printed OLEDs. Ink-jet printer makers and soluble material suppliers are also optimistic ink-jet printing commercialization will soon be here as the material performance gap is diminishing.
Kateeva officially launches its R&D and pilot OLED TV ink jet printing systems, acquires a large IP portfolio
OLED ink-jet developer Kateeva made several interesting updates regarding its OLED Ink Jet printing technologies. First up, the company formally introduced its inkjet equipment for large-area RGB OLED emitter deposition. Kateeva brands its new line as YIELDJet Explore and these systems are targeted for R&D lines and pilot lines.
Kateeva offers two systems, the Explore, which is used for early development and small panels (up to 200 mm substrates) and the Explore Pro which can be used to produce panels up to 55" in size (this is still a development/pilot system, though). Kateeva announced that it has shipped four Explore systems in 2017, and it expects to ship three additional systems by Q2 2018.
Hyperfluoresence TADF materials developer Kyulux announced that Dr. Chris Brown will join the company as VP of Products. Dr. Brown will lead Kyulux's product development and delivery efforts ahead of the company's anticipated first commercial deployments of TADF and Hyperfluorescence materials in the coming year.
Dr. Brown joins Kyulux from OLED inkjet equipment maker Kateeva, where he was Vice President of Process Engineering. Dr. Brown has been granted 31 US patents and has 34 publications.
In February 2017 BOE Display announced that will establish a new R&D OLED TV production line in Hefei. According to Digitimes, BOE Display is intending to use an inkjet printing process in this line, and the company already placed an order for an inkjet deposition system from Kateeva last month. BOE will use the systems to produce 55" OLED TVs.
In February BOE announced that the new line will cost 1 billion CNY (around $145 million USD). BOE will invest 80% of the funds, with the rest provided by the Hefei government. Digitimes now states that the new line will only cost 600 million CNY - so it may be that the inkjet printing line is an addition to the 1 billion CNY line (which in that case, will probably be based on an evaporation process).
OLED ink-jet developer Kateeva announced that it expanded its headquarters in silicon valley - in fact it doubled its manufacturing space in order to meet the demand for its inkjet systems.
Kateeva leased a new building adjacent to its HQ adding 75,000 sq. ft - mostly for manufacturing and business operations. Kateeva's current headcount has reached 330 people as orders for its YieldJet systems soared.
According to ETNews, LG Display is aiming to start pilot production of ink-jet printed large-area OLEDs during the first half of 2017. This is just an initial step, and it may take one or two years to achieve mass production following the launch of the pilot line.
LG Display's pilot line will be an 8-Gen line and the company hopes that the new production technology will be more efficient than vacuum deposition - and will also enable LGD to produce "direct emission" RGB OLED TVs - which will offer lower-cost production, higher quality and more efficient displays and less components (no need for color filters).
OLED ink-jet developer Kateeva started to offer ink-jet based encapsulation systems in 2014, used to protect flexible OLED panels. Kateeva's encapsulation performance is excellent and it was already reported that these systems are used in flexible OLED mass production - and today Kateeva announced that it takes a "commanding lead" in the OLED thin-film encapsulation (TEF) market.
Kateeva further says that it secured the "vast majority" of available TFE orders, and its customers include the world's largest flat-panel display makers in three key Asia regions - which probably includes Korea and China - and the third region is either Taiwan or Japan.
OLED Ink-Jet developer Kateeva presented at an industry conference in Korea, and the company's Korean branch VP states that the company will supply OLED TV deposition system prototypes later this year to customers in Korea, China and Japan.
Even more interesting is his statement that commercial mass production printers will be deployed in Samsung Display's OLED production lines in two years. Usually Kateeva refrains from discussing customers like that. This will enable Samsung to produce OLED TVs cost effectively - and compete with LG Display on this market.
Kateeva recently announced a large $88 million Series-E funding round, and the ink-jet equipment maker today announced that Ink-Jet guru Eli Vronsky has been promoted to the company's Chief Product Officer.
During our recent visit to San Francisco, we caught up with Kateeva’s executive team on a break from their presentations on inkjet printing for flexible OLEDs. Chief Product Officer Eli Vronsky gave us an update, as well as an overview of the company’s product strategy.