LG Display said on Tuesday that it will spend 3.3 trillion won to expand its small- to mid-sized OLED production capacity.
The company will expand its Gen 6 (1500x1850mm) Paju OLED plant from 30,000 substrates per month to 60,000 substrates per month by 2024.
LG Display didn’t share the details of its investment plan but the funds are likely going to used in building new lines E6-3 and E6-4, each with a capacity of 15,000 substrates per month, at the Paju plant as well as additional upgrades in existing lines to add advanced process steps.
E6-3 will likely be a flexible OLED line like E6-1 and E6-2. E6-4, meanwhile, will likely be a rigid OLED line.
Apple is planning to launch a new iPad with a OLED panel; LG Display will start supplying OLED panels for the series a year later in 2023.
The first OLED panels on the tablets will be rigid OLED panels.
LG Display’s new investment announcement shows that its position within Apple’s supply chain will only grow going forward and it is unlikely that the South Korean panel maker would spend so much on its production line without prior discussions with Cupertino.
LG Display has already placed orders for equipment that it will use in E6-3, sources told TheElec.
The company is expected to ship around 50 million OLED panels to Apple this year, which will be double the 25 million units it supplied last year.
LG Display is also likely trying to minimize the drop in production capacity from adding low temperature polycrystalline oxide thin-film transistor (LTPO TFT) process with the additional spending plan.
LTPO TFT can reduce power consumption of OLED panels. The process is added behind the low temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) TFT process. But adding the process increases the total process steps in production and reduces yield rate of panels. This means the overall production capacity needed to be boosted as well to offset this lowered yield rate.