According to reports from Japan, LG Chem is planning to construct a new production line for OLED lighting by 2017. According to the reports, LG Chem will commit 200 billion Korean Won ($185 million) towards this new fab, which will increase its production capacity and will lower prices dramatically.
LG Chem started discussing the Gen-5 line back in 2012 (and the plan was to build it by 2015), but hopefully this time the company will actually execute the expansion plan. The OLED Association says that LG Chem has seen great advances in panel performance, cost reduction, production yields and in-house material adoption, and the company executives believes now is the time to increase capacity and finally start mass producing OLED panels.
LG Chem believes that a Gen-5 fab will lower production costs by 90%. The OLED Association estimates that a 10x10 cm OLED could sell at around $5, which may lead to cost/performance ratio of about 30-50 $/kLm (current OLEDs from LG Chem and Philips are at around 200 $/kLM). LED lighting is currently at about 10 $/kLm, so OLEDs will be very expensive, but quite competitive for the premium market (of course LEDs prices will probably also be lower in 2017).
Hopefully this move by LG Chem will also drive other OLED makers to follow suit. Konica Minolta is already in the final stages of building its $100 million R2R OLED fab. Philips is spinning-out its OLED unit, and hopefully following a successful business move, they will be able to also commit to a lager production fab.
Last week, Universal Display also discussed LG Chem's new fab, giving more credibility to Nikkei's original story.