LG to secure 37.5K per month production capacity
LG Display was considering converting its E5 production line at its Gumi factory to produce OLED panels for iPhones, TheElec has learned.
E5 currently produces OLED panels for automobile and wearable applications.
Currently, LG Display uses its E6 line at its factory in Paju to produce OLED panels for Apple for use in iPhones.
The conversion of E5 is done for the company to supply more OLED panels for iPhones.
LG Display is aiming to supply at least 40 million OLED panels for iPhones next year, sources within the company said. It is hoping to supply up to 50 million units if possible, they said.
To reach that goal, E6-1 and E6-2 lines won’t be sufficient. The lines each have a production capacity of 15,000 substrates per month. This allows LG Display to execute 30,000 substrates per month, and with a yield rate of 80%, this means it can produce around 36 million units of 6-inch OLED panels a year.
LG Display is planning to build another line, called E6-3, but back-end equipment for this line will be put in around September 2021, which means commercial production will likely begin in 2022 at the earliest.
E5 also has a production capacity of 15,000 substrates per month. LG Display is planning to use half of that, or around 7,500, for iPhone OLED panels.
LG Display has sent its line conversion plan to Apple. Cupertino is reviewing the matter but is yet to give the go-ahead.
Converting E5 will save LG Display cost and allow it to increase panel production within a couple months. The South Korean display panel maker will secure a production capacity of 37,500 substrates per month. This will allow it to produce up to 45 million OLED panels a year.
Expanding its production capacity will also allow LG Display to react to the application of low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LPTO) thin-film transistors (TFT). Apple is planning to have two models out of its four planned for the iPhone 13 series to use LPTO TFT OLED panels. LG Display may see yield rate at its production line fall from applying the necessary process to produce LPTO TFT OLED panels. An increase production capacity can offset the rise in defect.
LG Display shipped 20 million units of OLED panels for Apple this year. Both LG Display and Samsung Display have set high targets for their OLED panel shipment for iPhones next year.