Nikkei: SDC to increase OLED production in 2016 by over 50% in a $6.8 billion investment

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, Samsung decided to increase its OLED production capacity by over 50% in the near future as it aims to start supplying Apple and other mobile device makers with AMOLED panels.

Samsung Display will invest around $6.8 billion in 2016 to boost capacity, which will translate to a yearly capacity of over 200 million smartphone-sized panels.

This seems to be a very optimistic plan - to be able to increase capacity so fast. Especially as it is likely that Apple (and other vendors) will opt to use flexible OLED for next-gen phones. Samsung itself is said to be readying a foldable OLED device or two for 2016.

Business Korea reported in March that Samsung Display decided to double the capacity of its A3 flexible OLED line. The company recently placed orders of 400 billion Won (around $325 million) for new equipment with 10 different vendors. The A3 line currently produces 15,000 monthly substrates (Gen-6) and when the new equipment arrives the capacity will double to 30,000 monthly substrates. Samsung hopes the new capacity will be ready by early 2017.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge at MWC photo

A few days ago, Business Korea said that SDC's new chief has quickly started to change the direction of the company, to focus on flexible OLEDs and dispose of some of the loss-making LCD business. According to the that report, Samsung decided to covert at least some of its L7 LCD lines to flexible OLED lines in a $2.56 billion investment by the end of 2017.

Samsung is currently producing around 9 million flexible OLEDs each month to satisfy demand for the Galaxy S7 edge and its other flexible OLED products (such as the Galaxy S6 edge+ and several wearables) - and also for other companies.

In the past few months we've seen several optimistic market forecasts as well. IHS sees 395 million AMOLEDs shipped in 2016 an increase of 40% compared to 2015, while UBI forecasts shipments of about 270 million OLED panels in 2016.

Posted: Jun 18,2016 by Ron Mertens