Seiko Epson is a global corporation based in Japan involved in imaging, robotics, precision machinery and electronics technologies. Seiko Epson lists on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (Ticker is JP:6724).
Seiko Epson is developing OLED technologies for many years. In May 2004 the company unveiled a prototype 40-inch OLED display in May 2004 and in 2009 Epson unveiled new inkjet-printing technology that will enable HDTV OLEDs. Seiko Epson aimed to produce 37" or larger TVs by 2012, but that never materialized.
Today Seiko Epson is mostly focused on inkjet technologies, and has an active collaboration with Merck. In 2016 the company unveiled augmented reality glasses that use OLED microdisplays (the company claims it is producing those microdisplays in-house).
The latest Seiko Epson OLED news:
Epson launched its latest augmented reality headset, the Moverio BT-300, at the Mobile World Congress last week. The main update in that version is the OLED microdisplay - which replaces the old LCD one.
The OLED is a 0.43" microdisplay-on-silicon that features a resolution of 720p, a brightness of 1,200 nits and a contrast of 100,000:1. Other features include an integrated 5mp camera and an Android 5.1 wired control-box that is based on a quad-core (1.44Ghz) Atom X5 chipset.
During the OLED World Summit, an analyst from UBI gave an interesting presentation, showing the company's view of the current status of the OLED TV industry, and their OLED market forecasts for upcoming years.
So first of all, we have LG and Samsung. LGD has obviously been successful in launching WOLED OLED TVs, and scaling up to mass production has been achieved. LG is also hopeful that solution processing will enable them to produce RGB-structured OLEDs efficiently. LG is collaborating with Merck and Espon on printing technologies.
According to OLEDNet, Seiko Epson developed a new OLED ink-jet printer head that can achieve a resolution of 360 PPI. This high-density print head uses two 180 PPI nozzles in 2 offset rows. The company managed to print prototype bottom-emitting and top-emitting OLED devices using this print head.
OLEDNet says that Seiko Epson is now aiming to develop a 600 PPI ink-jet printer head, by using two rows of 400 PPI nozzles.
In September 2013, Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron (TEL) announced that the two semiconductor manufacturing equipment makers will merge. Today the two companies announced that the new company name will be Eteris, and they also revealed the new logo. The companies expect the transaction to close in second half of 2014.
Both Applied and TEL are engaged with OLED manufacturing equipment. Applied Materials is offering two film deposition systems suitable for LTPS or Oxide-TFT backplane deposition (for both LCD and OLEDs panels). The AKT-PX-PECVD system (shown below) is used to deposit LTPS films on large glass substrates (sized from 1.6 m2 to 5.7 m2), while the AKT-PiVoT PVD system is used to deposit metal oxide-based TFTs (IGZO in particular).
TEL started collaborating with Seiko Epson on OLED manufacturing technology in 2010. The companies signed an agreement to jointly-develop OLED display manufacturing technology that will integrate Epson's inkjet printing method and TEL's production equipment. So after about 3.5 years, we finally see the first product that resulted from this collaboration.
Universal Display reported their financial results for Q4 2013. Revenues were $49.5 million (including $20 million in license fees from SDC). Total 2013 revenues were $146.6 million (up 75% from 2012). UDC ended 2013 with $273 million in cash, up from $244 in the end of 2012.
UDC also issued a guidance for 2014 - $190 to $205 million. SDC's royalty fees will be $50 million in 2014 (up from $40 in 2013). They expect most of the growth from 2013 to be in the second half of the year - due to capacity increase at SDC and LGD's Gen-8 OLED TV fab.
Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron (TEL) will merge into a new company that will have a market value of $29 billion. Applied shareholders will own approximately 68% of the new company and Tokyo Electron shareholders approximately 32%. The new company name is still unknown. Applied Materials is considered to be the world's leader in deposition and process control. According to Gartner, In 2012 Applied held 14.4% of the global semiconductor manufacturing equipment market and TEL had 11.1%.
Both companies are engaged with OLED manufacturing equipment. Applied Materials is offering two film deposition systems suitable for LTPS or Oxide-TFT backplane deposition (for both LCD and OLEDs panels). The AKT-PX-PECVD system (shown below) is sed to deposit LTPS films on large glass substrates (sized from 1.6 m2 to 5.7 m2). The AKT-PiVoT PVD system is used to deposit metal oxide-based TFTs (IGZO in particular).
Merck posts an interesting presentation detailing the company's OLED business. And it includes some interesting details. So first of all, Merck says that if OLEDs advances further, it could gain a meaningful share in the TV market. In fact, they forecast OLED panels to grab 10-15% of the total display market by 2019. By surface area, the market will grow to around 50 km2, mostly from OLED TV applications.
Merck is still focused on OLED printing technologies over evaporation technologies as the technological advantages will enable cheaper large area panels. According to this presentation, in 2010 Merck started to collaborate with Epson on printable OLEDs (which is interesting as officially they announced this alliance in October 2012). Anyway Merck says that this alliance created a "significant momentum" in OLED printing technology. as you can see from the chart below which shows Merck's OLED development advances over time:
Samsung Display Corporation (SDC) established a new company to handle patent trading and development in the US. The new company is called Intellectual Keystone Technology (IKT) and it was established in Delaware in March 2013.
Reportedly Samsung invested $25 million in the new company. On April 30 IKT bought several patents from Seiko Epson. According to reports, these are LCD and OLED related patents.
Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company based in Germany, working on high performance OLED materials. Back in April 2012 we posted our (third) interview with Merck's OLED unit VP, Dr. Udo Heider.
It seems that the soluble OLED materials market is heating up with recent announcements on printable OLED advances. So we asked Dr. Heider to give us a short updates on the happenings at Merck. As always, Merck are quite discreet...