Samsung Display may start making Gen 8.5 (2200x2500mm) OLED panels over the next few years. The company has reportedly begun price negotiations with Japanese firm Ulvac for Gen 8.5 OLED deposition equipment. It will make the final decision on the plan this month, The Elec reports.
The new machine uses full-cut substrates to deposit organic materials vertically. This technology is reportedly more economical for producing larger OLED screens. Samsung Display currently uses the Gen 6 (1500x1850mm) substrates to make displays for smartphones as well as tablets and PCs.
According to the new report, Ulvac is demanding KRW 700-800 billion (roughly $540-615 million) per unit for the Gen 8.5 deposition machines. That’s significantly more than the KRW 500 billion (~385 million) price of Gen 6 machines. The company is seemingly taking into account the increased prices of OLEDs on top of the development and manufacturing cost.
Samsung, meanwhile, is contending that it is the only buyer of Ulvac’s Gen 8.5 OLED deposition equipment. Moreover, the machines aren’t complete and it’s helping with the development. As such, it is willing to offer only about KRW 400 billion (~$307) per unit. That’s almost half of what Ulvac is asking for.
Nonetheless, if the two parties negotiate a price, and Samsung Display gets a green flag from the control tower of the conglomerate to invest in Gen 8.5 OLED panels, it may place the orders by the end of this year or early next year. The plan is to begin mass production in 2024. The initial production run will see the company make 15,000 substrates per month. But it could double that number in a few months depending on market demand.
Samsung Display plans to supply Gen 8.5 OLED panels to Apple
Samsung is one of the first names that comes to mind when we talk about OLED displays. The South Korean behemoth makes arguably the best OLED screens for mobile devices. It supplies the panels to some of its biggest rivals, including Apple. The latter is planning to launch its first-ever OLED iPads over the next couple of years and Samsung is one of its suppliers, along with LG.
However, these iPads will feature screens made using the existing Gen 6 OLED lines. Samsung is targeting the Gen 8.5 OLED panels for the second-gen OLED iPads in late 2024. So whether the Korean firm proceeds with this plan may depend on Apple’s plan as well.
Meanwhile, as a precautionary measure, Samsung is also working with another Japanese firm Canon Tokki to make Gen 8.5 half-cut equipment. This machine deposits organic material horizontally. Ulvac’s full-cut machine is the industry’s first to deposit material vertically. It is untested and may not work as intended. As such, Samsung doesn’t want to put all its eggs in one basket.