Samsung Display invests millions in OLED production lines, possibly to supply next-gen iPhone screens


It looks organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays are indeed the way forward. English-language publication Business Korea reports that Samsung Display made a $325.73 million (400 billion won) investment in its existing flexible OLED manufacturing lines in Tangjeong.

The company spent its millions on purchasing production gear from 10 OLED equipment manufacturers for production facilities in a bid to double the factory's output from 15,000 pieces of mother glass to 30,000 pieces monthly. Mother glass is the largest possible size of glass produced that won't break under its own weight. It gets its name as it "gives birth" to many smaller flat-panel screens. Most of what makes a screen, the pixels and what connects them, are "grown" on the mother glass through layering materials and chemical processes.

The Tangjeong factory will become Samsung Display's largest flexible OLED production base. eBEST Investment & Securities Co. forecasts that Samsung Display's total flexible OLED panel production capabilities will be increased by more than two times, from the current 39,000 sheets per month to 90,000 sheets per month. The new lines are likely to start operating early next year.

Industry watchers speculate that Samsung Display has made the investment in a bid to meet demand for flexible OLED panels by Apple. There is strong buzz in the industry that Apple has decided to use OLED screens in the iPhone 7s or iPhone 8, and is cooperating with major display manufacturers, including Samsung Display, JDI, and LG Display. Japanese newspaper Nikkei claims that Apple is looking to switch to OLED as early as next year, and is close to signing contracts with Samsung and LG's display divisions to supply OLED panels. Both are already busy making flexible OLED displays for the Apple Watch.

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