After experiencing runaway growth in recent years, the OLED display market is gearing up to make another big leap. Flexible OLED technology is expected to bring about an unprecedented change in flat displays which have ruled the display market for the last 20 years since the emergence of a liquid crystal display. Flexible OLED technology has already been introduced in a series of exhibitions and conferences for the last few years, and it is expected to make an innovative change in the conventional display industry structure once commercialized.
Unlike the conventional rigid OLED screen, the flexible OLED panel refers to the OLED display with flexibility. It is a very attractive product concept in that flexible OLED technology enables consumer goods manufacturers to develop applications in a variety of shapes to maximize its usability. For panel makers, the technology can cut manufacturing costs and simplify manufacturing processes by minimizing the use of glass substrates.
In order to produce a flexible OLED display, alternative substrate materials and encapsulation process to a conventional glass substrate are required. Until before 2010, most prototypes had used a metal foil substrate. But the trend recently shifted to a flexible OLED panel using a plastic substrate because the metal foil substrate has a rough surface and lacks flexibility. A wide range of methods are also being studied to develop alternative encapsulation techniques encompassing the use of plastic film and thin-film deposition technologies.
Still, technological approaches vary depending on panel makers. Performance of a flexible OLED display, productivity and costs change significantly depending on flexible materials and manufacturing techniques which could also determine the marketability of flexible OLED displays. Therefore, there is a big difference in the time frames under which each panel maker plans to enter the flexible OLED market.
At this point of time, the “Flexible OLED Competitiveness and Market Forecasts” report from Displaybank, now part of IHS Inc., analyzes strategies taken by each panel maker for a flexible OLED display to take root in the display panel market, as well as various relevant technological issues. It discusses the growth potential of flexible OLED panels in the existing display market at the current point in time. This report is expected to help panel makers set a plan on how to approach the flexible OLED market in terms of technologies and come up with appropriate strategies to make a successful foray into the conventional display market with flexible OLED technology.