Patent analysis: Flexible roll-to-roll processing

A new report from IHS Displaybank examined a total of 483 patents on roll-to-roll processing technologies, focusing on 32 that were flexible, OLED-related. 43 flexible OLED-related roll-to-roll application technologies and 23 roll-to-roll patents by SiPix were also selected for an analysis. 

A flexible display is considered as the next-generation display that is bendable and rollable without damage, by using a paper-thin and flexible substrate. The flexible display market is projected to lead the market growth by creating a new display market as well as by replacing the current display market. In addition, when producing flexible displays, if a large-area and low-cost technology based on the roll -to-roll process is realized, new demands with such as indoor/outdoor advertising and various decorative purposes are expected to be created.

The roll-to-roll process is a foundation to mass produce flexible electronics applications at low cost. It is a greatly demanded technology in the related-product manufacturing industry. The technology at the present level allows high speed printing, but the ink viscosity and the resolution vary depending on the printing method, and the equipment research on the device manufacturing process has not yet conducted enough.

The report contains the application trend and in-depth analysis of key patents on the roll-to-roll processing technology.

Looking at the application trend of 483 patents on roll-to-roll processing technology, the number of applications has continuously increased since mid 2000s, and many were applied in the U.S. Major applicants include 3M Innovative Properties, SiPix Imaging, Fuji Film, and General Electric. Amid vigorous developments of roll-to-roll processing technologies, competition among companies in the U.S., Japan, and South Korea gets increasingly fierce.

Roll-to-roll Processing Technology Patent Application Trends by Year/Country


Source: Displaybank, “Key Patent Analysis—Flexible Roll-to-roll Processing Technology”

Of a total of 483 roll-to-roll processing technology patents, 23 flexible OLED-related U.S. published/issued patents and 9 international patents were extracted as key patents. In-depth analyses were conducted on the 32 key patents after divided into the roll-to-roll manufacturing processing technology and apparatus technology. The key patent analysis includes key patent status, technology development map, and abstract.


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