Samsung Display is on the verge of launching its so-called ‘Project C,’ which involves investing in large-sized OLED panels for televisions, according to industry sources on July 12.
“Samsung Display could open its investment deliberation committee as soon as this month to reach a decision,” one of the sources told The Elec on the condition of anonymity.
Related parties are said to be discussing in detail, including the phases 1 and 2 of the investment plan. “A decision should be reached by August at the latest,” said the source.
That means that by the third quarter, the display maker may be ready to produce jumbo-sized panels from lines at its L8 Asan 1 campus plant in Chungcheong Province that currently produce only LCDs. Deposition equipment from Japan’s Canon Tokk may enter the factory premises by early next year.
"The initial entry date has been fixed for February next year,” said a source close to Cannon Tokki. “The phase 2 equipment is likely to enter in February 2021.”
A monthly 60,000 of 8.5th generation panels are produced from each phase, but this could go up to 90,000 panels, he added.
Another source said mass production appears to be scheduled for June next year. “Some say that Samsung Display would eventually convert all of the LCD lines at L8 to achieve 120,000 panels a month,” he added.
Put together, this means Samsung Display would make the investment decision for Project C within the next one or two months, set up the new OLED lines in the first half of next year to achieve mass production in the latter half.
“Samsung has a long way to go when it comes to large-sized OLEDs, especially compared with LG, but bigger OLED panels are actually easier to manufacture,” said one OLED technology professional.
Unlike LG Display, Samsung Display's QD-OLED panels are manufactured with the Top Emission architecture with QD color conversion that allows for more color purity. LG display, on the other hand, goes with the Bottom Emission architecture that doesn’t deploy QD.
Samsung had been struggling to solve the side-effects of its QD-OLED panels, mainly those involving low color conversion efficiency. Samsung Display is now applying ink-jet printing to remedy the problem. Some of the printers it had used came from US-based Kateeva.
Smaller OLEDs manufactured by Samsung for phones and tablets or laptops had come under criticism that the color shifts based on where the viewing angle, but the issue had been brushed aside because most viewers watch from a shorter distance, and usually from a short distance away and directly in the face.
For TVs, it’s different because it’s farther away and viewers can be watching from various angles. Aware of these shortcomings, Samsung Display is said to have mixed in scatterers into the QD for more color stability. After that, it’s just a matter of creating the color conversion layer of the right width and form.
Pressured to begin producing large-sized OLEDs, Samsung Display asked YAS – a key supplier for its rival LG Display – for panel production equipment and other technological collaboration about two months ago.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform