Japan takes leap in the dark for OLED cost advantage
Nikkei -- Nov 28
A Japanese manufacturer is set to embark on a risky mass production process for OLED panels -- the next generation of electronic displays -- that will test whether the company can find more success than another government-backed challenger.

JOLED, which traces its roots to Panasonic and Sony, sees the untested method as a way to compete with South Korean rivals on cost.

The new production line is the first to adopt inkjet printing to make organic light-emitting diode display panels on a commercial scale, JOLED President Tadashi Ishibashi said at a ceremony marking the completion of the line.

Like struggling Apple supplier Japan Display -- whose problems have gone from bad to worse with claims of accounting fraud -- JOLED was assembled out of bits of bigger electronics groups with investment from a government-backed fund.

JOLED specializes in organic light-emitting diode panels, a flexible alternative to liquid crystal displays that are starting to be used in iPhones and other mobile devices.

The company had been fine-tuning its production process on a prototype line established in 2016.

JOLED's line at the plant in central Japan is able to handle about 20,000 panel substrates measuring 130 cm by 150 cm each month. The completed panels will be used mainly in medical monitors for the short term.

Conventional methods of producing OLED panels involve vaporizing electroluminescent material in vacuum chambers and require expensive deposition masks. The printing method, which eliminates the need for vacuum chambers and masks, reportedly costs 20% to 30% less than conventional means.

News source: Nikkei
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