Foldable OLED device is nearing commercialization. What are the technical challenges to be solved?

Attentions are growing for the foldable smartphone since it can provide a wider screen and higher resolution than the display of conventional smartphones, while maintaining the portability of the smartphone. The foldable smartphone is a smartphone when folded, and it becomes a tablet PC when it is unfolded. Following Samsung Electronics, Huawei is also aiming to launch a smartphone with a foldable display this year.

Yi Choong-Hoon, president of UBI Research, said, “Ideal foldable displays require such kind of reliability that there is no problem even with more than 300,000 times folding at the bending radius of 1R or less. For this, some changes or innovations are needed in the material and structure of the display.

In the ‘2018 OLED Component & Material Report’ published by UBI Research on May 21, 2018, the key issues and development trends for foldable OLED display with a bending radius of 1R are described together with the classified contents of structural change to secure reliability at thickness reduction and alternative material development.

<Change in OLED panel thickness accoding to bending radius, 2018 OLED component & material report, UBI Research>

In addition, the report covers the application status, development trends, and market forecast of key components and materials for rigid OLED and flexible OLED for mobile device, and large-area OLED for TV. Thus, it is helpful for the related part and material companies to develop their future directions, establish business strategies, and analyze technology and market trends.

BLUE OLED, is rapidly emerging as a competitor of WRGB OLED

In the premium TV market, the share of OLED TVs is steadily increasing, and the price gap with LCD is gradually decreasing. As a result, LCD TV (QD-LCD TV) companies using quantum dot technology are sluggish in the premium TV market.

OLED TV uses white OLED and OLED panel with color filter (hereafter referred to as WRGB OLED), which is mass-produced only by LG Display.

Samsung Display is known to actively develop blue OLED + QDCF (blue OLED), which is one of the technologies to compete with WRGB OLED in the premium TV market.

UBI Research predicted that Samsung Display would implement blue OLED + QDCF with top emission method and it would be more advantageous to implement 8K and BT 2020 than WRGB in its ‘2018 OLED Material Industry Report’ published on April 18.

<Expected stack structure for Blue OLED, 2stack (left), 3stack (right), 2018 AMOLED emitting materials Report, UBI Research>

8K and BT2020 are to be adopted for the premium TVs. Also, the development of blue materials is expected to be aggressively progressed according to Samsung Display’s development of blue OLED. The blue material currently used in OLED is a fluorescent material that is insufficient in the efficiency and lifetime than phosphorescent material used in red and green. Blue phosphorescent materials have been developed continuously but they have not been applied to mass production due to the scarcity of materials and technical barriers. Therefore, blue fluorescent materials are stacked two or more times to improve efficiency and lifetime for large area OLED, and blue OLED is expected to use more than 2 stack structure.

 

With this trend, the market for blue emitting materials is expected to continue to grow. In 2017, blue materials (host and dopant) formed market of US$ 70 million.  According to the 2018 AMOLED emitting material market track published by UBI Research, blue material is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 32% by 2022 and reach US $ 272 million sales.

<Blue material (host and dopant) market forecast, 2018 AMOLED emitting materials Market track>

Can BLUE OLED be used for OLED TV?

Samsung Display selected blue OLED + QDCF (blue OLED) as next generation display technology following LCD TV, and started the necessary development.

Blue OLED is a technology, in which blue light emitted from blue OLED passes through a quantum dot color filter to represent red and green colors (b). The WRGB OLED used in OLED TV is a method in which white light passes through a color filter and implements RGB colors (a).

The ‘2018 OLED Materials Industry Report’ published by UBI Research on April 18 describes whether blue OLED, which Samsung Display has started to develop, can become TV OLED panels. The expected development direction and performance (efficiency and lifetime) of blue OLED + QDCF are analyzed. In particular, current status and development trends (fluorescence, phosphorescence, TADF) of blue emitting material, which is the core material of blue OLED, are covered.

Since blue OLED of Samsung Display is top emission type, the aperture ratio is increased by about 70% compared to the bottom emission, which emits light in the TFT direction, so that 8K resolution and high brightness are realized better than the conventional WRGB OLED. In addition, it is expected to reach BT. 2020, the UHD color standard, which was established by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2012, using QD material with high color reproduction rate as color filter.

In the future premium TV market, 8K and BT. 2020 are necessary conditions for display. WRGB OLED is also being actively developed to implement 8K and BT2020. Attention is focused on the impact of the development of blue OLED in the premium TV market led by WRGB OLED.

In addition, the report analyzes the market status and development trends of the related companies, including overall technology development directions and key issues for new materials such as soluble OLED materials and near IR materials.

UBI Research, just published ‘AMOLED Manufacturing Process’ report on latest AMOLED process

Recently the smart phone market is led by smart phones that use full screen OLED, and premium TV market is dominated by OLED TVs. In order to realize full screen OLED and UHD resolution large area OLED, different structures and processes have been applied, but it is difficult for the display related companies to grasp them in detail.

UBI Research just published the ‘AMOLED Manufacturing Process’ report, which analyzes the latest processes both for small and medium- sized OLED and large area OLED.

 

As the report analyzes the structure and manufacturing process by dividing AMOLED into small & medium size and large area with additional description and diagram for the inspection process of small & medium sized AMOLED, it is expected to help to understand the overall structure and core processes of AMOLED.

 

Chapter 1 of the report covers the overall structure both for small & medium sized OLED and large area OLED, ranging from AMOLED substrates to modules. In Section 2, the double poly (polyimide) process, LTPS TFT & oxide TFT process, pixel process both for OLED & solution processed OLED, process by encapsulation, cell process, and module process are sequentially analyzed. In Chapter 3, the inspection & measurement process of small and medium-sized AMOLED is described with all the list of major equipment. Also, Samsung Display’s pad bending process both for 9-mask LTPS TFT and 13-mask LTPS TFT, and LG Display’s oxide TFT process for large-area OLED are described from Chapter 4. Since the equipment and materials used at each process are analyzed in detail, the report is very helpful to understand easily the latest TFT process.

<Rigid OLED structure, add on type>

Changes in OLED panel market for smartphones

According to the ‘2018 1Q AMOLED Display Market Track’ published by UBI Research, OLED panel shipments for smartphones are projected to grow at an annual average growth rate of 15.8%, from 450 million units in 2018 to 850 million units by 2022. This is a 9.6% decline from the CAGR 25.4% expected in the fourth quarter of 2017.

<Shipment forecast of OLED panel for smartphones >

The reason shipment forecast of OLED panels for smartphones is declined compared with 4Q,2017 is because smartphone trends have been reflected recently. The smartphone market is sluggish due to the prolonged replacement period of smartphones and the lack of new technology. In addition, the average size of smartphones has enlarged faster than expected, and the size of smartphones is expected to increase gradually with the anticipation for the launch of foldable OLEDs, leading to a slowdown in the shipment growth.

 

For flexible OLED, ASPs have risen due to the lack of supply, caused by mainly dependent on Samsung Display, and Chinese set makers are burdened by its high prices. As low-priced full-screen LCDs are emerging, it is forecasted that demand for rigid OLEDs will decline since Chinese set makers are adopting more LCDs than OLEDs in rigid smartphones.

Panel makers in Korea and China have aggressively invested in the Gen6 OLED line in 2016 and 2017. Starting this year, however, they are reviewing the investment and operation time frame of mass production lines, with looking into the smartphone demand. As OLED panels for smartphones account for more than 90% of the total OLED panel market, it is an important factor for the investment flow of panel makers.

 

Meanwhile, ‘2018 1Q AMOLED Display Market Track’ is based on the market performance data and projected system that UBI Research has accumulated over 15 years. It consists of 8 (eight) modules in total: Panel cost analysis, Market forecast, Supply and demand analysis, Market performance (sales), Competitiveness analysis of panel makers, ASP, Supply chain analysis and investment & Mass production line status.

Can BLUE OLED be used for OLED TV?

Samsung Display selected blue OLED + QDCF (blue OLED) as next generation display technology following LCD TV, and started the necessary development.

Blue OLED is a technology, in which blue light emitted from blue OLED passes through a quantum dot color filter to represent red and green colors (b). The WRGB OLED used in OLED TV is a method in which white light passes through a color filter and implements RGB colors (a).

The ‘2018 OLED Materials Industry Report’ published by UBI Research on April 18 describes whether blue OLED, which Samsung Display has started to develop, can become TV OLED panels. The expected development direction and performance (efficiency and lifetime) of blue OLED + QDCF are analyzed. In particular, current status and development trends (fluorescence, phosphorescence, TADF) of blue emitting material, which is the core material of blue OLED, are covered.

Since blue OLED of Samsung Display is top emission type, the aperture ratio is increased by about 70% compared to the bottom emission, which emits light in the TFT direction, so that 8K resolution and high brightness are realized better than the conventional WRGB OLED. In addition, it is expected to reach BT. 2020, the UHD color standard, which was established by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2012, using QD material with high color reproduction rate as color filter.

In the future premium TV market, 8K and BT. 2020 are necessary conditions for display. WRGB OLED is also being actively developed to implement 8K and BT2020. Attention is focused on the impact of the development of blue OLED in the premium TV market led by WRGB OLED.

In addition, the report analyzes the market status and development trends of the related companies, including overall technology development directions and key issues for new materials such as soluble OLED materials and near IR materials.

Leading the OLED market of Samsung Display continues this year

According to OLED Market Track, which was published by UBI Research in the first quarter of 2018, AMOLED sales and shipments amounted to US$ 8.86 billion and 130 million units, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 2017. The sales amount is 100.2% higher than the fourth quarter of 2016. Among them, Samsung Display’s sales and shipments account for 91.6% and 94.5%, respectively, and keep its absolute position.

 

In the fourth quarter of 2017, the total number of AMOLED market for smart phones was 120 million units, representing 95.5% of the total market. AMOLED panels for smart phones sold by Samsung Display accounted for 97.5%, with 119 million units.

 

In 2018, the AMOLED market for smart phones is expected to reach 470 million units, with Samsung Display expecting its market share to maintain over 91.5 % with 430 million units.

<4Q’17 AMOLED market>

<2018 AMOLED market for smartphone>

2018 OLED Market Track and OLED Industry Report, just published.

UBI Research (CEO Choong Hoon YI), specialized in OLED market research, published 2018 OLED Market Track and 2018 OLED Industry Report which analyzed in detail the OLED market performance and forecasts including demand supply analysis data.

 

Market Track is based on the market performance data and projected system that UBI Research has accumulated over 15 years. It consists of 8 (eight) modules in total: Panel cost analysis, Market forecast, Supply and demand analysis, Market performance (sales), Competitiveness analysis of panel makers, ASP, Supply chain analysis and investment & Mass production line status.

 

Supply & demand analysis module, first published this time, analyzed the expected demand-supply relationship for the next five years. To this end, supply is forecasted by simulating current production capacity, manufacturing technology, and estimated investment scale of each panel maker, while demand is projected through interviews with set makers and market trend analysis.

 

In addition, competitiveness analysis module with all the relevant Excel data files are to be provided four times a year by simulating sales, shipments, and investment scale based on the technologies of panel makers. It is expected panel makers’ business performance to be predictable.

 

2018 OLED market track provides essential information for the business direction how set makers, panel makers, material and component, and equipment companies are to grow in OLED industry considering projected investment time frame. Therefore, it is expected to be much useful in business planning, marketing and setting up business strategy.

 

OLED industry report integrates existing OLED annual report, flexible OLED report and solution process OLED report as one report. With analyzing development history of panel makers over the past three years, it provides necessary information in depth for the technologies and development directions of OLED panel makers across the globe.

Publishes ‘2018 OLED Panel Industry Report’, which analyzes the indicators of OLED industry in 2017

UBI Research published ‘2018 OLED Panel Industry Report’ on February 12, 2018, which analyzes the indicators of OLED industry for the year of 2017.

This report seems very helpful to forecast OLED industry, which is most likely to become the main display in future, since it analyzes panel makers’ development trends, key issues, applied products, and relevant markets from various perspectives on rigid and flexible OLED as well as solution processed OLED.

In the report, the status of OLED products in 2017 is summarized into various applications such as smart phones and TVs, and the trends of newly released products and related issues can be identified.

According to the report, a full-screen smart phone, which has become a trend in recent years, can mainly be applied to flexible OLEDs, while rigid OLEDs using COG (chip on glass) are required to ensure module space at the top and bottom side. Therefore, it is expected that panel makers will implement full-screen as a notch type rather than a current rectangle type to improve the added value, and demand of rigid OLED, which is on the decrease.

Meanwhile, UBI Research predicts that shipment for rigid OLEDs will be 270 million units and that for flexible OLEDs will be 230 million units in 2018, generating sales of US$ 12.5 billion and US$ 23.9 billion, respectively.  Also, analysis shows that the solution process, capable of manufacturing large-area OLED panels with RGB structure without cutting mother glass at Gen 8 or higher generation, will be adopted at the mass-production from 2019. Consequently, 2 million units of solution processed OLED will be shipped in 2019 and 9.2 million units will be shipped in 2022.

<Flexible OLED shipment forecast>

AMOLED Display Market Track, just issued – Market Performance, Market Forecast, ASP, Supply and Demand Analysis

According to the market performance data of the AMOLED Display Market Track published by UBI Research in February 2018, total AMOLED shipments and sales in 2017 were recorded as 440 million units and US$ 27.1 billion, up 13.6% and 62.3% respectively, compared to the previous year.

The number of AMOLED smart phone shipments grew to 95.1% in the total AMOLED market in 2017, and its market share for the revenue was 89.7%. The number of shipments of flexible AMOLEDs reached 140 million units in 2017, increased by 2.1 times compared to the previous year.  Analysis shows that shipments of flexible AMOLEDs will reach 230 million units by 2018, with a share of 46%.

AMOLED shipments for TVs grew by 1.8 times YoY to 1.72 million units in 2017, and the AMOLED market for TV is expected to continue to grow, as LG Display’s 8 G plant in China is scheduled to start operation from 2H 2019.

<Overall AMOLED Market Forecast>

From 2018, AMOLED market is forecasted to change significantly.

In terms of supply, shipments of displays are projected to decline compared to the global capacity of display makers due to the accelerated increase in the size of AMOLED panels and Samsung Display’s shift of rigid AMOLED lines into automotive and foldable applications.

In terms of demand, the demand growth for AMOLED panels for smartphones is expected to decrease. In 2018, demand for flexible AMOLED panels for Chinese set makers is expected to decrease due to the introduction of low-priced full screen LCDs and rising prices of flexible AMOLED panels.

According to the market forecast data of AMOLED Display Market Track, the total AMOLED shipment market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.5%, reaching 995 million units in 2022. The revenue is projected to grow at a CAGR of 22%, forming a market of US$ 80.5 billion in 2022.

<Small and Medium sized AMOLED, Supply and Demand Analysis>

According to Yi Choong-Hoon, CEO of UBI Research, “20% oversupply is expected to occur by 2021, however, since then, panel prices have fallen due to the entry of Chinese panel makers into the flexible AMOLED market, and oversupply will decrease by 11% in 2022 “.

Meanwhile, AMOLED Display Market Track, which was published on February 12, 2018, covers AMOLED market performance and forecast by quarter, year and application. It also provides data and graphs analyzed in various aspects such as ASP and supply & demand analysis.