OLED Ink-jet printing market situation, early 2018

Many OLED producers believe that Ink-Jet printing of OLED emissive materials is the best way to achieve lower-cost OLED TV production, and to enable OLEDs to compete in the medium part of the TV market. Ink-Jet printing is an efficient process (less material waste compared to evaporation) and it can be very quick as well. The main drawbacks of inkjet are the limited resolution and the need for soluble emissive materials which are less efficient compared to evaporation ones.

A Kateeva OLED ink-jet printing system

These challenges are being overcome, and it seems that at least four groups (in Korea, Japan and China) are charging forward towards mass production of ink-jet printed OLEDs. Ink-jet printer makers and soluble material suppliers are also optimistic ink-jet printing commercialization will soon be here as the material performance gap is diminishing.

State of the AMOLED industry and future fabs

This is a premium OLED-Info article

When Samsung started producing AMOLED displays in 2007, AMOLED technology was at a very early stage, immature, and Samsung took a huge risk. A few years later, this risk was rewarded with a successful display business and a boost to the company's smartphone business that was the first to adopt AMOLED displays.

Fast forward to 2016, and today Samsung is still the king of AMOLED displays, with a market share of over 95% in small/medium AMOLED panels. If we look at OLED TV production, then LG Display is the only commercial producer at this stage. But Samsung and LG are not alone - several companies in China and Taiwan already started mass producing AMOLEDs, and others have announced plans for large AMOLED fabs. In this long article we'll list all of these AMOLED producers and developers (over a dozen) - and details their current production capacity and rumored and confirmed production plans.

Meet the OLED-Info team at Printed & Flexible Electronics China 2017

On January 11-13 2017 Shanghai will be hosting the annual Printed and Flexible Electronics China conference. The OLED-Info team will visit this event - so if anyone wishes to schedule a meeting - now is a great time to do so. The event organizers were kind enough to offer a 20% discount for OLED-Info readers (to both visitors and exhibitors) - contact us for more information on how to get this discount.

Printed and Flexible Electronic China 2017 banner

P&FEC aims to bring together industry professionals for a chance to be updated on the latest printed electronics advances, while getting a chance to network with industry leaders in China - and globally.

Samsung to help TCL build its new Gen-11 LCD and AMOLED fab

Last month we posted that TCL plans to build a Gen-11 LCD and AMOLED fab in Shenzhen, in a $6.97 billion investment. The fab, owned by CSOT and built by TCL and Shenzhen Huaxing Power with help from the Shenzhen Economic and Trade Commission, will have a monthly capacity of 90,000 Gen-11 substrates (3370x2940 mm) and use IGZO backplanes.

In a news release today, TCL announced that will increase the investment in this fab by a further 21 billion yuan (around $3.15 billion). Samsung Display will be a partner in this fab, investing 2.1 billion yuan to hold a 9.76% stake.

TCL announces a $6.96 billion LCD/AMOLED IGZO Gen-11 fab in Shenzhen

It 2013 it was reported that TCL plans to invest over $4 billion to build a new 8.5-Gen LCD and OLED fab in Shenzhen, owned by CSOT. The so-called Huaxing Power Two OLED fab never materialized... at least until now.

TCL released information that it now seeks to $6.96 billion to build a new LCD and OLED Gen-11 production fab in Shenzhen. The new fab, built by TCL and Shenzhen Huaxing Power with help from the Shenzhen Economic and Trade Commission, will have a monthly capacity of 90,000 Gen-11 substrates (3370x2940 mm) and use IGZO backplanes.

Kateeva raises $88 million from BOE, TCL and others

Kateeva announced that it has closed its Series-E funding round - with $88 million in new financing. The new investors (all from China) include BOE Display, TCL Capital. Kateeva raised over $200 million in total, and previous investors include Samsung Ventures and Veeco.

Kateeva is developing and producing ink-jet systems for OLED production. Originally the systems were intended for OLED stack material deposition, but in 2014 the company also started to offer ink-jet based encapsulation systems - used to protect flexible OLED displays.

TCL says next-gen TVs will use printed OLED panels, company shows new AMOLED prototypes

TCL's chairman, Tomson Li, gave an SID DisplayWeek speech, during which he predicted that the next-gen large-size displays will be printed OLEDs. Tomson said that global partners are welcome to join TCL and co-develop printed technologies, processes and materials.

During the DisplayWeek exhibition, TCL's CSOT subsidiary demonstrated three new AMOLED display prototypes, including a 5.5" PWM LTPS OLED and a 31" OLED TV panel. In May 2014 TCL announced plans to co-develop 5.5" LTPS AMOLEDs with Ignis innovation, I do not know if the new 5.5" demonstrators are based on this collaboration.

TCL to raise $926 million towards CSOT's 8.5-Gen LCD/OLED T2 fab

TCL Group announced that it is going to raise 5.7 billion RMB ($926 million) in a private placement (there will be 10 different investors) to build CSOT's T2 8.5-Gen fab. This fab will use Oxide-TFT substrates and will produce both LCDs and AMOLEDs. The company filed information which specifically mentioned that this fab is important due for the future OLED technology.

CSOT's 8.5-Gen Oxide-TFT fab was discussed back in July 2013, but we do not have any information regarding its capacity and how CSOT plans to split it between LCD and AMOLED production. A $926 million investment is not very large for such a fab, so this is probably just the first production line. Earlier estimates for the cost of this fab were 24.4 billion RMB (just over $4 billion).

TCL/CSOT announced plans to build a 6-Gen LCD and AMOLED small/medium display fab

Towards the end of 2013 it was reported that TCL plans to invest 24.4 billion yuan (just over $4 billion) to build a new 8.5-Gen TV fab in Shenzhen, owned by CSOT. This fab (called Huaxing Power Two) will have two lines, one for a-Si LCDs and one for Oxide-TFT (55" OLED TV and LCD TV, it seems) panels. The Oxide-TFT capacity will be 30,000 monthly substrates.

Now TCL announced that the company, together with CSOT and the Hubei Science & Technology Investment group will invest 16 billion yuan ($2.56 billion) and build a 6-Gen display fab that will also be used to produce AMOLED displays. It's a bit confusing, but it seems that CSOT aims to use both LTPS and Oxide-TFT for this production. The fab will be used to produce small/medium displays.

TCL unveils a flat 55" OLED TV prototype

TCL is showing their first OLED TV prototype at CES 2014. All we know is that it is a flat 55" Full-HD panel, and it looks like this:

It's highly likely that TCL did not produce this panel (even though the company is advancing towards AMOLED production). I'd guess that LG Display provided those panels (hopefully TCL didn't just take part LG's OLED TVs without permission). LG Display is also providing OLED panels for China's Skyworth.