AMOLED manufacturing capacity to nearly triple in 2012, says DisplaySearch
“SMD currently accounts for nearly 100% of commercial AMOLED shipments, and its A2 Gen 5.5 fab and planned future factories will account for much of the expected capacity growth. Other existing and potential AMOLED manufacturers are watching SMD’s progress and aggressive expansion plans, hoping that they will be able to leverage advances in equipment technology and take advantage of growing interest in AMOLED displays for smart phones and other applications,” explained Charles Annis, DisplaySearch Vice President of Manufacturing Research. “AUO, LG Display, Chimei Innolux and IRICO are also forecast to build either pilot or mass production AMOLED lines in the next two years, while other companies are currently considering entering the market.”
Figure 1: AMOLED Manufacturing Capacity. Source: DisplaySearch Q2’11 Quarterly FPD Supply/Demand and Capital Spending Report.
LCD panel makers have suffered negative net profit margins for four consecutive quarters, and with excess a-Si LCD capacity for TV production, FPD equipment spending is now forecast to fall by more than 40% in 2012. On the other hand, supply of AMOLED displays has been very tight in 2011. As SMD ramps A2, many more AMOLED displays will hit the market, and demand is expected to grow in turn. AMOLED displays are a bright spot in the FPD manufacturing industry, offering hope for FPD supply chain companies.
“In addition to the opportunities that capacity expansion can provide, many companies are racing to develop material and equipment technologies to support AMOLED manufacturing. Successful development of oxide semiconductors, high resolution lithography, laser-induced thermal imaging (LITI), vertical, scanning evaporation, thin film encapsulation and flexible substrates—just to name a few—could mean big payoffs for some supply chain companies as production of AMOLEDs ramps up,” Annis added.
Most of the new AMOLED capacity coming on-line is optimized for small/medium display production. But high-quality and—theoretically—low-cost AMOLED TV remains the ultimate target for FPD makers. Both SMD and LG Display are moving ahead with Gen 8 AMOLED TV pilot production plans for 2012. How successful they will be and what additional capacity expansions AMOLED TV might drive are still unclear, but these are key trends to follow in the FPD manufacturing industry.
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