OLED panels are projected to secure more than 50 percent of the smartphone industry’s market share by 2023, driven by a decline in production costs.
However, OLED penetration in other applications such as TVs, laptops, and tablets remains relatively low, at less than 3 percent. To accelerate the adoption of OLEDs in these markets, panel manufacturers face the challenge of improving specifications and reducing costs to meet market expectations, says TrendForce.
One significant development highlighted in the report is the introduction of eLEAP technology by Japan Display (JDI). eLEAP utilizes a maskless technique, resulting in lower power consumption, increased brightness, and an extended lifespan.
The technology addresses two major obstacles in high-generation OLED development: RGB evaporation interference and uneven film thickness caused by the sagging of the Fine Metal Mask (FMM) during enlargement. By overcoming these challenges, eLEAP enables the production of higher-generation panels and enhances production efficiency through mass production.
In parallel, Visionox showcased its maskless ViP technology at the Society for Information Display’s annual Display Week. By combining lithographic pixel isolation and advanced evaporation technology, Visionox successfully reduced the pixel gap. When the resolution reaches 800 PPI, the distance between pixel layers is reduced to 10µm, resulting in a 31.9 percent increase in the opening rate and improved OLED lifespan.
However, there are still obstacles to overcome, including producing guide pillars for isolation, controlling the evaporation angle with line-source evaporation, reducing electrode impedance through connecting the cathode and isolation pillars, and managing yield loss from repeated processes.
TrendForce has identified five advantages of Visionox’s ViP technology for isolating OLED pixels. These advantages include addressing color mixing yield issues caused by long-term FMM evaporation, increasing overall lifespan through individual pixel electrodes, elevating pixel density and brightness, facilitating the production of auxiliary electrodes for larger OLED applications, and overcoming the limitations on pixel spacing imposed by FMM, thereby expanding its potential applications and aiding future high-generation development.
Several key industry players have recently announced ambitious plans in response to the growing demand for OLED panels. Samsung has declared an investment plan for its new G8.7 fab, BOE is planning its B16 project, JDI and HKC have formed a strategic alliance for new technologies, and Visionox is aggressively pushing forward with OLED technology and expanding into new market sectors.
These developments not only cater to Apple’s demand for medium-sized applications but also open up new opportunities for OLED panels in other application markets. By 2025, it is expected that the completion of new high-generation facilities, continued technological advancements, and improved material lifespans will significantly boost the market penetration of OLED products.
Currently, China holds a 43.7 percent share of the global AMOLED production capacity, slightly behind South Korean panel manufacturers. This capacity is divided among four to five Chinese panel factories. With the current oversupply of AMOLED capacity and expectations of further capacity growth in the future, companies focusing solely on OLED production may face financial pressures.
The report suggests that these companies might consider adopting collaboration models similar to JDI and HKC, leveraging strategic alliances or integrations to enhance their international competitiveness. The industry’s progress in developing new technologies and forging partnerships will be worth monitoring over the next three to five years.