Display equipment maker H&Iruja is planning to enter the battery equipment business, TheElec confirmed on Wednesday.
The company is yet to decide which equipment it will make. However, it is leaning more towards equipment used in the assembly process such as cutting and folding instead of formation and logistics.
H&Iruja has formed a task force to review whether they can succeed in the new business, people familiar with the matter said.
It was already planning to collaborate with an established battery equipment maker. It would become the OEM for them. Company officials already visited other battery equipment makers and made such proposals.
H&Iruja believe they won’t be able to a direct supplier to large battery cell companies in a short time frame and want to accumulate experience first, the people said.
The company grew by pushing past rival ULVAC of Japan to supply most of the sputtering equipment used by Samsung Display for its A3 OLED factory line. Its sales in 2013 was around 50 billion won but this increased to 200 billion won by 2017 thanks to the deal with Samsung. It is expecting a similar performance this year thanks to its export of equipment to Chinese display makers.
However, H&Iruja currently has limited growth potential as it only makes sputtering equipment. If display makers lower their investments, the company will have difficulty finding new revenue stream.
Meanwhile, the battery equipment market is expected to grow for the next couple of years thanks to the expansion of electric vehicles (EV). South Korean battery equipment makers have high-levels of technology in the area and there are many professionals working in the sector.
The battery equipment makers that H&Iruja has contacted all have a stable client based in South Korea, the people said. The display maker equipment maker will able to win their orders in the long run if all goes well.
Meanwhile, display equipment makers in South Korea are all attempting to expand into batteries as well. Toptec, SFA, Philoptics, DE&T, System R&D and LIS has all entered the battery equipment market. Some of these companies have won orders in the billions of wons from battery cell companies already.