LG Installs New Production Line For POLED In Korea

There is a debate in some corners of the Internet between fans of LCD (liquid crystal display) and OLED (organic light emitting diode) technologies. OLED technology carries the advantage that individual pixels are illuminated, meaning that under optimum conditions the technology can save power, whereas modern LCD panels depend on being backlit and this is illuminated regardless of the color of the pixels being shown on the screen. OLED panels are thinner than LCD panels and also have one important advantage that the industry is being led to believe will be very important: OLEDs can be built to be flexible. OLED technology is also thinner than LCD; if some manufacturers have their way, tomorrow's smartphones will be extremely thin and flexible (and powered by electromagnetic waves passing through their designs as this idea leaves little space for a battery). In the meantime, manufacturers are exploring the possibilities that flexible displays could bring. We've already seen a number of smartphones offering a curved screen, indeed the second Nexus smartphone, the Samsung-built Nexus S, has a curved display. In recent years, we've seen models such as the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, the LG G Flex (2 generations) and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge offering a curved display and in the case of the LG G Flex, a flexible design.

We've seen manufacturers start to build factories and production lines in order to either increase their OLED production (in the case of Samsung) or build new lines (much of the rest of the industry). Unfortunately, for businesses a production line does not start up and immediately produce the goods but must instead be commissioned and established. This can take months and sometimes years, so in order for manufacturers to increase their supply of OLED technology towards the end of the decade they need to establish production lines today.

To this end, LG Display has just held a ceremony after installing their sixth POLED production line at their E5 factory, Gumi, South Korea. POLED stands for "plastic organic light emitting diode," which as the name might suggest fronts the display screen with a plastic covering rather than glass. This is important as plastic may be flexible and bendable, whereas glass cannot. The sixth production line should be up to full production in the first half of last year and follows significant investment from LG across their entire production line: the business invested approximately $1.3 billion between July 2015 and April 2016. LG's investment into the production lines will create jobs and is expected to boost the vicinity of the factory in the North Gyeongsang Province, which has been suffering from an economic slump.

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About the Author

David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.