LG halts OLED production in Paju for 14 hours following a fire

LG Display halted production in some of its OLED and LCD lines in its Paju production base, following a fire that outside the construction site. No one was injured seriously, but nine workers were sent to the hospital.

LG Display Paju April 2018 fire photo

The production lines were halted for 14 hours, but are no operation normally. LGD said it cannot estimate exact losses from the shutdown.

Sharp progresses with its OLED plans, converted some of its LCD capacity to OLED production

In January 2018 Sharp's CEO announced that Sharp aims to begin commercial production of flexible OLED displays for its own smartphones in Q1 2018. A new report from Taiwan says that Sharp is progressing with its OLED plans.

Digitimes now says that Sharp has converted some of its capacity at its 4.5-Gen Taki plant from LTPS LCDs to OLED displays. The Taki Plant had a total capacity of 90,000 monthly substrate, and a third of that capacity was converted to OLEDs (but rate will be slower for OLEDs - 22,000 monthly substrates). It is not clear whether Sharp actually started producing OLEDs already.

Will Samsung construct an OLED TV fab at its A5 production site?

Samsung's OLED fabs are currently under utilized - with some analysts estimating that its flexible OLED fabs are running at about 50% capacity following lower-than-expected orders from Apple. SDC also decided to delay its upcoming A5 production fab.

Samsung OLED TVs (2013)

This is a lot of wasted capacity. Last month I speculated that SDC may target new applications for its OLEDs - including monitors and laptops - or perhaps transparent OLEDs as well. According to a new report from Korea, SDC may be aiming to start constructing an A5 line - but use it to produce large-area OLED TV panels. According to a financial analyst, Samsung recently assembled a new OLED TV team with 300 R&D employees.

IHS: OLED makers in China to more than double their capacity each year from 2018 to 2020

IHS estimates that Korean OLED makers (Samsung and LGD) will halt their OLED capacity expansion in 2018, but will resume adding capacity in 2019. Meanwhile China-based makers will continue their fast expansion plans in 2018-2020, and total AMOLED production capacity in China will grow from 228,000 sqm in 2016 to 8.3 million sqm in 2020, that's a CAGR of 145%!.

Newly-installed AMOLED capacity by country (2016-2020, IHS)

Interestingly IHS sees no real OLED production in Japan at least until 2020.

BOE plans to construct a third flexible OLED line in Chongqing

In October 2017 BOE started to produce flexible OLED displays at its first flexible OLED line, the Chengdu B7 6-Gen fab. In addition to this fab in Chengdu, in October 2016 BOE announced another 6-Gen OLED fab, in Mianyang, with a similar capacity.

BOE Flexible AMOLED prototype photo

In November 2017 reports from Korea suggested that BOE is planning its third flexible OLED Line, as the Chinese company aims to ramp up production quickly and be able to supply flexible OLEDs to Apple in the future. Today BOE officially announced its plans to construct its third line in Chongqing's Liangjiang New District. BOE's new fab will cost 46.5 billion Yuan, or about $7.3 billion USD.

DSCC sees OLED fab delays and line cancellations ahead

Market analysts from DSCC say that the low utilization rates at Samsung Display has caused the company to delay its capacity expansion plans. SDC's decision to delay its A5 fab has already been discussed, but DSCC now says that Samsung is also significantly delaying the ramp-up at its new A4 line. DSCC estimates that SDC will delay this new line by at least a year.

LG Display has also reportedly cancelled the first phase of their next flexible OLED line, the P7 (which can be a conversion of LGD's old P7 LCD line). DSCC sees LGD ordering equipment for a new flexible OLED line only at the beginning of 2019.

Lumiotec to stop producing OLED lighting panels next month to focus on performance enhancements and plan its future business

Lumiotec announced that on March 31st if will stop producing its OLED lighting panel, to "plan the further performance enhancement of the product" and to plan its future business. Lumiotec will continue to offer its panels (series P06, P09, P11 and P13 panels) while stocks last.

Last month Japan's V-Technology announced it will acquire Lumiotec, which is likely what is behind Lumiotec's decision.

Will Samsung target new applications now that its smartphone OLED lines are under-utilized?

In the past few weeks we heard many reports that following lower than expected OLED orders from Apple (due to disappointing iPhone X sales) Samsung Display has suddenly found itself with under utilized OLED production lines.

Samsung already said that it aims to find new customers for its OLEDs, mostly in smartphone makers in China. Some analyst say however that this won't be so easy as the higher costs of SDC's AMOLED displays deter some of its potential customers, who prefer to opt for lower-cost high-end 18:9 LCDs.

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