Posted : 2013-08-01 15:35
Updated : 2013-08-01 15:35

LG to mass-produce OLEDs from 2014

LG Display CEO Han Sang-beom, fifth from left, pulls a lever with Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo, fourth from left, and other LG executives and guests to celebrate the first installment of equipment to be used on a new OLED display-manufacturing line at the firm's display complex in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, Thursday. / Courtesy of LG Display

By Kim Yoo-chul

LG Display, the world's biggest display manufacturer, said Thursday it will start mass-producing OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens to be used in televisions from the latter half of 2014.

"Our new OLED manufacturing line using the so-called eighth-generation glass-cutting technology will go online in the second half of next year after various pilot tests," company spokesman Lee Sang-wook said.

The eighth generation technology screen measures 2,200 millimeters in width and 2,500 millimeters in height, which is customized for TV screens over 50 inches in sizes.

The new line has a monthly production capacity of 26,000 glass sheets. Total investment for the new line will reach 700 billion won, Lee said.

Unlike LG, its rival Samsung Display has yet to announce a plan to mass-produce OLEDs.

The mass production plan was unveiled at a ceremony to celebrate the installment of the first production equipment for the new line at the company's main display complex in Paju, Gyeonggi Province.

Present at the ceremony were Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo; Paju City Mayor Lee In-jae; LG Display CEO Han Sang-beom; Idemitsu Kosan, Vice President Matsumoto Yoshihisa; Merck Korea CEO Michael Grund; and other executives from LG's top-tier local partner firms.

"As you know, LG was the first firm to release 55-inch OLED screens. Now, we are moving toward mass-production. It will be tough. But we will closely collaborate with our partners to complete the plan as scheduled," the CEO Han said during the event.

LG, which bought Kodak's OLED patent portfolio in 2009, has been paying more attention to the white-OLED with color filter TV panel process using both phosphorescent and fluorescent materials that can help ease the mass production of OLED TV screens as compared to the "RGB" approach being pushed by its biggest bitter cross-town rival Samsung Display.

LG Display said it has recently developed a hybrid technology designed to cut costs and generate better production yields.

The spokesman said this is a "WRGB-OLED," which uses advantages of white- and RGB-based OLED technologies, respectively.

According to an estimate by iSuppli, a market research firm, it hopes to produce 75,000 OLED TV units annually.

"The success of Samsung and LG in implementing a large-sized curved OLED was thought to be a meaningful achievement in the display industry. But both companies still face challenges with mass production and market availability of curved OLED TVs isn't near-term possibility," said Vinta Jakhanwal, analyst at iSuppli said.

"Limited availability, as well as the high retail pricing, of OLED TVs will likely restrict shipments by Samsung and LG during the next few years. Another point is that by the time OLED TV production achieves efficiencies in large-scale production, the industry's current mainstream of LCD TVs will have had an opportunity to become even more competitive in performance and price," Jakhanwal stressed.

관련 한글 기사

LGD, '2014년 OLED 대량생산'

LG디스플레이가 2014년 하반기부터 TV용 OLED 패널을 대량 생산하기로 했다. OLED TV시장이 2015년 중반부터 본격적으로 개화할 것으로 예상돼 선제적으로 대응하겠다는 전략이다. 

회사는 1일 파주 공장에서 8세대 OLED 생산라인 장비 반입식 행사를 가졌다.

이 날 행사에는 김문수 경기도 지사, 이인재 파주시장 등 경기도 및 파주시 관계자들과 LG디스플레이 한상범 사장, 최고생산책임자(CPO) 정철동 부사장, 석호진 노동조합 위원장 등 회사 임직원, 주성엔지니어링 황철주 대표, 이데미츠 코산의 마츠모토 요시히사 부사장, 한국 머크의 미하엘 그룬트 대표이사 등 주요 협력회사 임직원들이 참석해 8세대 OLED 생산라인의 성공을 함께 기원했다.

지난 2월에 투자 계획을 발표한 이후 클린룸 공사 등을 거쳐 이번에 첫 번째 생산 장비를 입고하게 된 8세대(유리기판 규격 2200x2500mm) OLED 생산라인은 앞으로 후속 장비의 입고 및 시험생산 과정 등을 거쳐 내년 하반기 본격 양산 가동에 들어갈 예정이다.

해당 라인은 월 2만6000장(유리기판 투입기준)의 생산 규모이며, 55인치 등 대형 TV용 OLED 패널을 주로 생산할 계획이다. 투자 금액은 약 7000억원이다.

LG디스플레이는 LG전자와 함께 지난 2009년 미국 이스트만 코닥 OLED사업를 인후해 OLED 관련 특허권을 양수했다. 약 800여건이며 4억달러에 일괄 매입했다. 이후 미국에 ‘글로벌OLED테크놀러지’라는 특허관리 기업을 설립했다. 일본 이데미츠코산과 함께 공동출자했다.

이후 회사는 가격적인 측면에 강점이 있는 ‘화이트 OLED’와 화질에 강점이 있는 ‘RGB OLED’의 장점만을 취합한 하이브리드 기술인 ‘WRGB-OLED’ 기술 진화에 매진하고 있다.

시장 조사기간인 아이서플라이의 빈타 작한왈(Vinta Jakhanwal) 애널리스트는 “삼성디스플레이와 LG디스플레이의 곡면형 OLED TV 개발 성공은 디스플레이 산업에 꽤 의미있는 결과물”이라며 “그러나 양 회사 모두 여전히 무난한 패널 대량 양산을 위해 해결해야 할 선결과제들이 많다”고 꼬집었다.

그는 이어 “TV용 대형 OLED패널의 수율이 안정화 될 때쯤이면 LCD패널 성능 역시 좋아질 것이고 가격적인 측면에서 보다 나은 경쟁력을 가지게 될 것”이라고 강조했다.

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