Samsung Display has signed Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) with several major equipment makers to run production lines for large-sized OLED panels later this month.
Industry sources said on July 30 that the Samsung unit appears to be wanting to keep things under wraps ahead of an official PO involving the project that was personally instructed by Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong.
Despite the latest progress, not to mention the rumors that it’s been meeting with several suppliers, Samsung Display said no decision has been made in regards to investing in the panel-making lines. “How can we be preparing to bring in equipment when we haven’t even reached this decision,” said one official.
The firm has, however, decided to use deposition equipment from Japan’s Canon Tokki, and asked the Japanese firm to ship the equipment by March at the latest. Such shipments usually take around a week.
"Canon Tokki appears to be making last-minute alterations, such as adjusting the number of chambers,” said a source close to the issue.
Samsung Display has also asked support from a key LG supplier. In May, it discussed technological collaboration with YAS, South Korea’s only manufacturer of deposition equipment for large-sized OLED. YAS currently supplies equipment to LG Display.
On July 20, Samsung Display’s research center head played a round of golf with LG Display’s Chief Technology Officer where the two most likely discussed future cooperation.
For the ICP etching equipment, Samsung is tapping its previous supplier WonikIPS, along with ICD and Japan’s TEL. ICD, TEL and Invenia supplied the ICP etching equipment for the OLED plant in LG Display’s Guangzhou plant scheduled to be completed next month. Invenia belongs to the Koo family that runs LG Group.
“Samsung Display began working on oxide a long time ago, stopped, then recently picked it up again,” said a professor who previously worked at Samsung Display.
The display maker had operated a production line for TV OLED panels in early 2010, but didn’t go commercial. Compared to back then, the key technology for the current jumbo-sized OLED panels have changed drastically.
In the early 2010, the panels were made from LTPS TFT-based RGB, which is similar to the mass production technology of smaller OLED panels.
But now, Samsung is working on blue light Oxide TFT that goes through color filters, a technology developed by taking a page from LG Display, the only mass producer for television OLED panels.
In 2010, Samsung Display had used deposition equipment from South Korea’s SFA, but the technology was based on process architecture, which makes it difficult to make panels bigger than 55 inches.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.