Samsung Electronics will fully automate the smartphone screen assembly process this year. It is expected that the production cost will be reduced by up to 80% as a result of the automation process alone. All Samsung smartphones launched this year will be covered by this process. It is expected that domestic suppliers that supplied the equipment to benefit greatly.
According to the industry on the 13th, the wireless division of Samsung Electronics completely automated the assembly process of smartphone screens this year. Starting with the Galaxy S10, which will be unveiled on the 20th (local time), all intermediate and low-end products will be produced through this automated processes.
In the past, panels and cases were assembled by attaching a piece of thin double-sided tape directly by hand. To automate the process, Samsung Electronics changed the attachment material from tape to a liquid adhesive.
Protec, a domestic KOSDAQ-listed company, exclusively supplied the automation equipment including the dispenser that sprays liquid adhesive finely. Protec equipment will be installed at all Samsung Electronics' global smartphone production bases including Vietnam. At first, Samsung considered multiple suppliers. However, TopTek, a specialist in dispenser equipment, has been excluded from the list of suppliers due to the recent Samsung Display 3D laminator technology leakage scandal. Samsung asked Top Engineering to develop the equipment, but they could not finish it in time. That's why Protec was chosen as the sole provider.
The industry estimates that the total supply will reach 500 units this year. Protec has already signed a supply contract with Samsung Electronics on January 28th for 16.3 billion won. This is the first supply volume. It is expected that most of the equipment Samsung has requested will be supplied in the first half of this year.
"With the dispenser equipment, we can reduce the bezel as much as possible and reduce the rate of defects," said a Protec official. "The mobile sales, including dispensers and handlers, will increase by more than 30 percent in comparison to last year," he explained.
It seems that Samsung Electronics has invested a considerable amount based on the analysis that it will save labor costs significantly by fully automating the screen assembly process.
An industry official said, "A lot of Chinese companies and Apple of the US have already automated the display panel assembly process using liquid adhesives and dispensers a few years ago. Samsung Electronics’ use of the automation process is relatively late."
Protec has a history of supplying the same equipment to the US and Chinese customers on a large scale.