BOE has recently converted the layout of parts of its B12 OLED panel factory so that it can manufacture OLED panels for IT products and automobiles besides just smartphones, TheElec has learned.
The phase 3 production line at B12 in Chongqing, China will be able to manufacture OLED panels for smartphones, IT and automobiles.
Phase 3 was initially designed to handle Gen 6 (1500x1850mm) flexible OLED panels for smartphones like phases 1 and 2.
The change of plan hints that BOE is likely aiming to supply OLED panels for Apple’s IT products, from tablets to PCs.
BOE already supplies 6.1-inch OLED panels for iPhones. But making larger OLED panels __ such as those around 10-inch in sizes for iPads __ is more difficult from having to deposit organic materials on a larger surface area.
The Chinese display giant has designed phase 3 of B12 so that it can manufacture OLED panels up to 15-inch in size, sources said.
Phase 3 will also be able to apply two stack tandem structure, where an OLED panel has two emission layers, they said. Most smartphone OLED panels has a single stack structure.
However, it remains to be seen whether BOE would succeed in commercializing IT OLED panels due to the difficulty of the technology.
Rivals Samsung Display and LG Display are also developing Gen 8.5 (2200x2500mm) IT OLED panel technology, as making larger panels on larger substrates is more cost-effective.
BOE will likely join in on this race, so the Gen 6 phase 3 line at B12 could just be a pilot in preparation for this.
Samsung Display is already supplying OLED panels for IT products, especially notebooks, for companies such as Asus and Samsung Electronics. These panels were made with Gen 6 single stack technology.
The South Korean panel maker also last year canceled the development of 10.86-inch OLED panel for iPads which was to have a two stack structure.
LG Display currently applies two stack structure to its OLED panels aimed at automobiles.
Meanwhile, BOE’s B12 factory started phase 1 operations last year during the fourth quarter; the second phase is expected to go live during the first half of this year. Equipment for phase 3 will start installation in April.