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As the Korean media outlet TheElec reported, massive orders from Apple are necessary for Samsung Display to expand the production of its Gen 8.5 (2200mm×2500mm) IT OLED panels.
A source familiar with the matter told TheElec that Samsung has been partnering with Ulvac from Japan to develop vertical disposition equipment for the Gen 8.5 IT OLED panel since last year. The equipment and fine metal mask (FMM)—which is used for precise disposition of organic materials on substrates—are indispensable for the commercialization of the said panel.
Samsung Display is developing the panel technology for Apple as per the iPhone maker’s display and cost requirements. Specifically, using the Gen 5.5 (1300mm×1500mm) and Gen 6 (1500mm×1850mm) substrates is excessively costly due to the fewer panel units that can be diced from each substrate. The vertical disposition equipment not only incurs fewer costs but prevents the FMM from sagging during production.
Samsung Display will need Apple’s approval so that it can begin spending on the Gen 8.5 panel production. The phone maker will also need to decide whether it needs that many OLED iPads.
Reportedly, the 10.86-inch OLED iPad project worked on by Apple and Samsung was suspended in the third quarter last year, where Apple wanted the panels to have a two-stack tandem structure (i.e., with two emitting layers) instead of the conventional single-stack structure. The requirement is rather uneconomical as the cost will be unreasonably high.
If Samsung Display can win a large amount of orders from Apple, it can plan a budget in Q2 and order the required equipment starting in 3Q22. The equipment, which is likely to be delivered in 2023, can then be used to produce business-oriented OLED iPads scheduled to be released in 2024.
Additionally, Samsung Display plans to adopt its on-cell technology when producing the Gen 8.5 panel to make it thinner. The manufacturer is currently using its Gen 5.5 production line A2 to provide OLED NB monitors for Asus and Samsung Electronics. (Source: iThome)