Recent reports in the South Korean media claim that Samsung Display, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the country’s largest consumer electronics company, Samsung Electronics, has started making new investments towards increasing production of flexible OLED displays. Business Korea is quoting sources within the country’s electronics industry to report that as many as 10 OLED equipment producers including AP Systems and Rorze Systems recently got orders worth a massive $325.73 million for installation of OLED production equipment at the consumer electronics major’s OLED manufacturing facility in Tangjeong in the South Chungcheong Province. The investment will expand the production capacity of A3 flexible OLED panels, which is expected to help the company in meeting growing demand for such technology.
Production at the facility will reportedly start in early 2017 and according to eBEST Investment & Securities, once up and running, the new lines will increase production of flexible OLED panels by over 100 percent from 39,000 sheets of glass per month currently to about 90,000 sheets per month next year, making the Tangjeong facility the largest flexible OLED production hub for Samsung. The increased production will be a necessity for Samsung, as it will reportedly supply flexible OLED panels for Apple’s iPhone 8. While flexible displays are yet to percolate down to mainstream gadgets aimed at the retail consumer, companies like Samsung and LG have been experimenting with such devices for a while now. In fact, LG demoed a couple of such devices at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 event held earlier this year in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As for Samsung, it announced the development of a prototype 4.5 inch flexible AMOLED display in late 2010, which was then showed off at CES 2011. At that event itself, the company publicly stated its intentions of incorporating the technology in its future smartphones and towards that end, even launched the Galaxy Round smartphone in 2013. The device came with a curved, flexible display, but the phone itself had a rigid frame, which did not allow it to be bend the way flexible displays are expected to. The company has since incorporated the technology into devices like the Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the recently-launched Galaxy S7 Edge, all of which come with OLED displays that are manufactured on a flexible plastic substrate, allowing for the curved edges along both sides.