LG Display reportedly plans to ramp up its investment in flexible OLED panel manufacturing throughout 2017, starting during this quarter. The Korean giant will be pumping a bit more cash into almost all of its efforts concerning flexible OLEDs as more uses for them come to light, but the main cash sink is set to be a new factory that's being gradually built. This factory will begin operations as soon as a part is built, then start operations in a new part once that's built, with the whole factory eventually working in concert. The massive factory is made expressly for the purpose of manufacturing the latest iteration of LG's flexible OLED panels, being the sixth generation, and will not be manufacturing any other products.
Already, LG as a whole has funneled approximately 1.999 trillion won into this factory, which equates to about $1.78 billion. The factory will be kicking off production some time in 2018, with a goal of making 15,000 displays per month. From there, a second stage of the factory will be built, and the goal will double. When it's all said and done, the massive factory is expected to have eaten up close to $4 billion in capital, and be capable of producing 45,000 displays per month. In order to speed this process along, LG Display will be skipping many of its usual quality and production checks and balances, which can slow down the rollout of a new production run significantly in the name of ensuring proper return on investment, in terms of yield amount, operational efficiency, and product quality. While the end products will still go through some sort of quality control to prevent defective units from making it into the wild, LG will be spreading its normal testing and rebalancing process across the entire building period, rather than doing it beforehand or in stages.
The sixth generation flexible OLED displays are small to medium affairs, the right size to power things like phones, tablets, smartwatches, and laptops. This will be the sole product of this new flagship factory, which means that LG may lose ground to Samsung. Samsung Display, who is in the process of building the world's largest factory for its NAND business, has already won a supply contract with Apple for displays, but LG is undaunted, and seems ready to continue taking the fight to its biggest rival.