AP Systems have won orders for display production equipment from Chinese display maker Tianma for the latter’s flexible OLED factory.
The company was among 21 South Korean companies that won a total of 44 ordres for equipment for use by the Chinese company for its Gen 6 OLED factory at Xiamen, data from China Bidding showed. They won the contracts between October 2020 to last month.
In the fourth quarter of last year, Tianma commenced its first and second stages of investment at its Xiamen factory simultaneously, leading to a fierce competition between suppliers to win orders. The competition was especially fierce as these companies had almost no orders in the first half of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
AP Systems secured a contract in October for excimer laser annealing (ELA) equipment and another in November for laser lift off equipment. The South Korean company said the orders were worth 60.8 billion won combined, in its filings to South Korean authorities which confirmed China Bidding's data.
According to China Bidding, DMS won seven contracts on February 27 for equipment, including high density cleaners. HB Technology also an order for in-line automated optical inspection (AOI) equipment.
Viatron won orders worth 16.8 billion won for heat processing equipment. K-Mac won orders worth 11.5 billion won for thin-film measuring equipment. Hims won 16.3 billion won for fine metal mask tensioner. LG Electronics will supplying thin film encapsulant automating handling system and glass vacuum transportation system. Hanwha will be supplying its oven and pre-processing equipment for deposition.
Tianma’s Xiamen factory will have a production capacity of 48,000 substrates per month, once the third-stage investment is completed. Some of the line will be able to manufacture low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) panels. The factory will begin operations next year. It will manufacture high-end display panels for smartphones, wearable devices and automotive applications. Tianman currently operates a Gen 6 flexible OLED production line at Wuhan, which has a monthly production capacity of 30,000 substrates per month.
In December, Tianma had said it plans to ship 40 million units of OLED panels this year. This will be 40 times the amount it shipped in 2020. Half the target, or 20 million units, will be flexible OLED panels, the company had said. However, people familiar with the matter told TheElec it remains to be seen whether the Chinese display maker can pull off its target. Around 8 million will be more realistic, they have said.