Konica Minolta to build a flexible OLED lighting R2R fab with a monthly capacity of 1 million panels

Konica Minolta announced that it is starting to construct an OLED lighting fab at Konica Minolta Kofu Site (Chuo-shi, Yamanashi Prefecture). This fab will mass produce flexible OLED lighting panels (on plastic substrates). The construction will end in the summer of 2014 and mass production will commence in the fall of 2014.

Konica Minolta says that it reached the conclusion that light, bendable and durable OLED lighting panels on plastic substrates will "deliver new values to customers not only in general lighting and architecture sectors but also in electric appliances and automobile sector". Konica will invest ¥10 billion (almost $100 million) in the new fab.

Konica's new fab will use a roll-to-roll production method and will have a capacity of a million panels per month. The fab will produce both white and color-tunable flexible panels. The white panel will 150x60 mm in size (0.35 mm thick) and will weight 5 grams. The color-tunable will be smaller (50x30 mm, 0.29 mm thick, 0.6 grams). Both panels will be flexible with a curvature radius of 10 mm.

Last month Konica announced that they will unveil their flexible color-tunable OLEDs at the Light + Building 2014 Frankfurt trade show next month. The company says that their panels are the thinnest OLEDs on the market. Earlier this month KM said they developed the world's most efficient OLED lighting panel - at 131 lm/W. They didn't reveal the efficiency (and other specifications) of the flexible panels that will be produced at the new fab.

This is a dramatic announcement for OLED lighting as this will be the first real mass production panel fab - let alone a flexible, color-tunable OLED panel fab. Konica does not mention it specifically, but it's likely that such a fab will be able to produce panels at a much lower cost compared to current production fabs, which will lead to much cheaper panels. Hopefully this will push other companies (such as LG Chem, Philips, OSRAM and others) to step up their OLED investments as well.

Posted: Mar 18,2014 by Ron Mertens