Samsung Display has shut down the operations of some of its production lines for Gen-8 (2200㎜ x 2500㎜) LCDs, according to industry sources on Aug. 13.
The move, they said, appears to be a part of the so-called ‘C Project,’ involving a gradual shift towards large-sized TV OLED panels. The purchase orders for the necessary equipment is expected for October, the sources added.
The line that has been stopped is the 8-1 line phase 1 in Samsung Display’s Asan 1 Campus in South Chungcheong Province. The line has been in operation since the latter half of 2007, when the Samsung unit was running a joint venture with Japan’s Sony. The Gen-8 lines in the Asan 1 Campus are divided into the 8-1 and 8-2 lines, which are each divided into phase 1 and phase 2.
“In its next step, Samsung Display is set to shut down the rest of the Gen-8 lines, along with the 7-2 lines left after switching most of them to produce small and mid-sized OLED panels,” said a sources close to the matter.
When all of this happens, the display maker will no longer be running LCD lines on its home turf.
Overseas, Samsung Display operates Gen-8 LCD production lines in China’s Suzhou City. Samsung owns a 60% stake in the production corporation SSL, while the Suzhou City government owns another 30%. Another 10% is owned by Chinese display maker CSOT.
Even if Samsung Display halts its entire local LCD lines, it can secure all the TV LCD panels it needs from its Chinese lines and CSOT, according to market watchers.
Samsung Display holds a 9.8% stake in CSOT’s Gen-11 (2940㎜x3370㎜) LCD lines’ production corporation.
The Gen-11 LCD lines at CSOT began mass production in the first quarter of this year, and it’s aiming to increase its production capacity to its fullest of a monthly 90,000 by the end of the year. About a tenth of the panels produced here is set aside for Samsung Display.
On the day Samsung display partially halted its Gen-8 LCD lines, local display equipment maker ICD said in a regulatory filing that it has entered into a supply contract with Japanese panel deposition equipment maker Canon Tokki.
Industry watchers believe this signals that Samsung Display has indirectly signed to install deposition equipment for its large-sized TV OLED panels. ICD has been supplying logistics chambers for Canon Tokki’s small and mid-sized panel deposition equipment.
The 50.1 billion won contract between ICD and Canon Tokki is set to expire in June of 2020. This means Samsung Display’s plans to bring in the Canon Tokki equipment by March next year may have been a bit delayed.
Meanwhile, another equipment maker that is to supply the C Project said that purchase orders are being postponed from October from the initially planned August.
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