Orbotech to supply optical inspection tools for BOE Display's upcoming OLED TV fab in Hefei

Update: It turns out that this specific $61 million deal is not for an OLED fab, but for BOE Display's upcoming Gen-10.5 LCD fab.

Israel-based inspection solutions provider Orbotech announced it signed an agreement to supply inspection and testing solutions for China's BOE Display upcoming OLED TV fab. The deal is estimated at $61 million, and is Orbotech's largest deal in China so far.

Those inspection systems will be deployed at BOE Display's upcoming 8.5-Gen pilot line in Hefei. According to earlier reports, this fab will produce WRGB OLEDs on an IGZO backplane. According to Orbotec, the facility will produce 90,000 TV panels per month in 2019, and when it reacehs full-scale production it will have a capacity of 120,000 screens. Orbotech will start delivering machines in the first half of 2017.

Earlier reports suggested that the new fab will cost about $1 billion. BOE Display received a $20 million grant from the local government towards that fab.

Orbotech's CFO Ran Bareket said that OLED technology is "entering the market strongly" - which follows similar statements from Orbotech earlier this year. Ran Bareket also sees a shift towards flexible screens underway.

BOE Display already started to supply OLED TV panels to Skyworth - produced in a pilot line. Those 55" 4K displays were demonstrated in a tradeshow last month.

A couple of months ago BOE announced that it signed a framework agreement with the Miangyang government in Sichaun to establish a Gen-6 (1500 × 1850 mm) flexible AMOLED fab. Total investment in this fab is estimated at 46.5 billion yuan ($6.87 billion USD). BOE says that the fab's capacity will be 48,000 substrates per month, and it will be used to produce small to medium sized flexible OLEDs, mainly for mobile phones. BOE aims to start construction in the second quarter of 2017 and mass production will begin in 2019.

BOE Display is currently producing AMOLED displays at its 5.5-Gen LTPS OLED fab in Ordos. In BOE was struggling with low yields for a while, but these issues have been overcome and the company is now mass producing panels. A report in July 2016 stated that BOE is supplying 5.5" FHD AMOLED display to Xiaomi's Redmi Pro smartphone (the main supplier for this phone is EverDisplay and BOE is the secondary supplier).

In May 2016 BOE Display demonstrated several new AMOLED prototypes - including a 4.35" bendable and foldable OLED displays. The bendable panels offer a resolution of 1120x480 (HWVGA, 280 PPI) and a bending radius of 15 mm. The brightness is 350 nits. The color gamut is 100% NTSC. The foldable panels are the same - except the bending radius is much smaller at 5 mm.

BOE 9.95-inch flexible transparent OLED prototypeBOE 9.95-inch flexible transparent OLED prototype

In June 2015 BOE Demonstrated larger flexible OLEDs - including a 9.55" 640x432 transparent flexible panels and a 4.8" 480x800 panel.

Posted: Dec 05,2016 by Ron Mertens