Samsung bets on QD-OLED to deepen large-scale high-end display

With the continuous release of the production capacity of Chinese panel manufacturers, the LCD market price has dropped significantly, and the price has touched the profit and loss line, which is even more pressure for Korean manufacturers with higher costs. Recently, after LGD shut down the LCD production line, Samsung Display also announced that it will withdraw from the LCD market by the end of this year and switch to OD-OLED. At present, LGD is the only manufacturer that mass-produces large-size OLED panels. Samsung’s bet on OD-OLED this time means that two South Korean panel giants will face off on the large-scale high-end display panel circuit.

Technical competition is market competition

Samsung Display has been the king of the panel field for many years, but the development in recent years has not been ideal. From 2017 to 2019, its operating profit fell by as much as 70%, the main reason of which was the continuous decline in LCD prices. Therefore, Samsung Display has been looking for high-value-added large-size display technology to improve business conditions.

“In fact, Samsung’s high value-added and large-size display technology route QD Display has four directions, namely QD-LCD, QD-OLED, QNED and Micro LED.” Dr. Geng Yi of CCID think tank integrated circuit told China Electronics “Journal” reporter. Most of the time Samsung adopted a multi-objective parallel strategy, but according to the development maturity of these several technologies, there is a simple sequence. At this stage, betting on QD-OLED is an important choice for Samsung.

The market share has been closely following Samsung’s iGD. For many years, it has been deeply immersed in the OLED TV market. With the advantages of light, thin, high contrast, and curlable OLED, LGD opened the door to high-end large-size TVs, and its rapid development on large-size OIED TV panels made Samsung deeply threatened.

According to IHS data, the penetration rate of OLED TVs in Japan is close to 60Y0, the penetration rate in North America has also reached 42%, and 45% in the European market, that is, nearly half of the global high-end color TV market is OLED TVs.

This undoubtedly prompted Samsung to accelerate the pace of layout of large-size OLED TV panels. As early as 2018, Samsung announced that it will develop more advanced QD-OLED panel technology, and then invested 131 trillion won (about 77.9 billion yuan) to build an 8.5-generation QD-OLED production line at the Asan plant. The technological competition of the produced W-OIED.

Xu Jiao, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University, believes that Samsung’s development of various new display technologies by virtue of its technical and industrial advantages will help differentiate products in the high-end TV market.

Samsung wants to break through with technology

According to estimates by Samsung, it will formally produce QD-OLED panels from 2021, and will achieve a monthly production capacity of 30,000 pieces by 2025. The production goal of LGD’s OLED 8.5 generation line set up in Guangzhou is to produce 15,000 panels per month in the first quarter of 2020, and to reach a production capacity of 70,000 per month in the fourth quarter.

In this regard, Park Jae-in, chairman of the Korea Semiconductor Display Technology Association, said that Samsung Display started later than LGD in terms of OLED, so it can only catch up with the development of newer technologies.

It is reported that Samsung Display internally refers to the QD-OLED production project as “PLan C” (Plan C), which was personally named by the head of the Samsung Group, Lee Jae-yong, representing the lead of Samsung Display to take off again in the “post-LCD era”. And become an important plan for pillar industries.

Compared with LGD’s W-OLED technology, QD-OLED combines quantum dots with OLED technology. The biggest advantage is that it has the advantages of both QLED high brightness and wide color gamut, as well as the advantages of OLED.

The OIED screen uses a very thin coating of organic materials and a glass substrate. When an electric current passes through, these organic materials will emit light. The advantages of the OLED display screen are that it can be made lighter and thinner, and it can achieve a larger viewing angle. The disadvantage is that there is a risk of screen burn and high cost.

The QD-OLED emits blue light through blue OLED electroluminescence, combined with the red and green light emitted from red and green quantum dot photoluminescence, and finally forms the RGB three primary colors. The OLED in the QD-OLED panel emits only one color of blue, while W-OLED requires three-color OLED materials. In addition, there are about a dozen of QD-OLED layer films, which is much less than W-OLED with more than 20 layers. This means that the production efficiency of QD-OLED will be higher, the manufacturing difficulty and the production cost will be lower.

According to DSCC estimates, the cost of 1 square meter of QD-OLED material is about $ 26, and the cost of 1 square meter of W-OLED material is close to $ 95.

In addition, QD-OLED has wider color gamut coverage and higher brightness performance than OLED. Liu Yun, senior consultant of CCID Consulting, said that QD-OLED uses quantum dot materials with higher light conversion efficiency, and blue OLED still maintains high brightness after exciting the quantum dot film, and the blue OLED part is not blocked, so QD-OLED The efficiency of using light will be higher than that of W-OLED. “In simple terms, the quality of QD-OLED panels can surpass OLED, but the production cost is much lower than the latter, which is a very promising display technology.” He said.

QD-OLED development takes at least two years

“Regarding QD-OLED, I think Samsung’s development waiting period will take at least two years.” Chang Yisheng, an analyst at Gfk’s Black Business Division, analyzed. But in his view, Samsung still has time. First, in the large-scale high-end TV market, Samsung ’s QLED “Ace” can still maintain a leading position for at least two years; second, from a competitor ’s perspective, LGD ’s OLED production capacity is still small, and it cannot Produce a subversive effect.

So, can Samsung rely on QD-OLED technology in the field of large-size OLEDs to come later?

Geng Yi believes that it is too early to draw conclusions. She said that after years of development, LGD’s large-size OLED panel technology has been very mature, and as the technology continues to mature, the cost is gradually falling. At present, LGD has basically formed a good industrial ecology. The first-mover advantage is obvious.

Zhang Hong, research director of Qunzhi Consulting ’s TV department, said that the current QD-OLED process technology is not mature and the industry chain is not complete enough. After mass production, it will face the risks and challenges of low process yield and high production costs.

Xu Zheng pointed out that the blue light OLED has the shortest lifetime among the three primary colors. How to ensure that the blue OLED has a long enough life is a big test for Samsung. In addition, QD-OIED requires two packaging processes, and the yield is also a big test.

Since OD-OLED uses two materials, OLED and quantum dot, which involves two processes of evaporation and printing, in addition to some difficulties of OLED need to be overcome, it is also necessary to solve the new problems brought by printing quantum dots. The development and breakthrough of production materials have become the key to the development of Samsung ’s new technology. In addition, the cooperation of equipment companies and the formation of the industrial chain are also very important.