LGD announces plans to invest $900 million in a 6-gen flexible OLED fab

LG Display announced that it decided to build a new 6-Gen (1500x1850 mm) flexible OLED fab in a KRW1.05 trillion ($900 million) investment. The new E5 line will be located at LGD's Gumi Plant and will have a capacity of 7,500 monthly substrates - or 1.5 million 5.5" panels. The new fab is scheduled to begin mass production in the first half of 2017.

LG Display flexible AMOLED prototype

LGD has been internally discussing a new flexible OLED fab for quite a while, and it's great to see that they finally made an official decision. The flexible OLED market is expected to grow quickly in the near future as these displays unlock new applications and are very competitive in the wearable, automotive and mobile devices markets.

LG currently produces plastic-based OLEDs in its Gen-4.5 fab, with a monthly capacity of 14,000 substrates (more than double its capacity in the beginning of 2014). LG Display's flexible AMOLEDs are used in LG's mobile phones (the G Flex 2), wearable devices (such as the Watch Urbane) and in Apple's Watch.

Apple seem to be debating whether to retain LGD as the exclusive supplier for the upcoming Watch 2 or to contract Samsung Display to become a second supplier. It may be that Apple decided to keep LGD as the exclusive OLED supplier and so it made LG's investment decision easier. Samsung's GS6 Edge success may also be behind LGD's flexible OLED expansion. It may be that LG Electronics is planning their own curved-edge phone (they already shown a prototype device a few months ago) and they will need LGD's flexible OLED capacity to support this. Of course the new fab will only start producing panels in 2017, so it won't be ready for the Watch 2 or an imminent curved phone... 

Interestingly, the new fab's capacity is rather low at 7,500 monthly substrates. It's likely that this is only the initial capacity and LGD will increase that later on.

Posted: Jul 23,2015 by Ron Mertens