LG Moves Up MP Date for E6 Flexible Display Line’s 2nd Phase
November 19, 2018
In contrast to rumors that the small panel flexible OLED space is seeing postponements or delays relative to new capacity, the Korean press is reporting that LG Displaypulled in the starting date for the second phase of its E6 flexible OLED line in Paju, South Korea. The first phase at this new fab began initial production in September, but the second phase was originally scheduled for production after one year of phase 1 operation. According to these reportss, LGD has begun testing the phase 2 lines which are now expected to be in operation by the end of 2Q, which would allow the fab to reach its full 30,000 sheet/month capacity earlier than originally expected.
This fab represents a major step forward for LG Display’s small panel OLED production program, given that the E5 fab in Gumi has been relatively unsuccessful in its drive toward high volume production of flexible displays, and LGD is pushing toward becoming a 2nd source for Apple’s iPhone OLED models. LGD is expected to provide 400,000 flexible OLED displays to Apple this year, primarily as replacements for defective or damaged screens, and continues to negotiate with Apple as to production plans for 2019. In order for LGD to gain Apple’s trust as a 2ndsupplier, they need to show Apple that they have both the capacity and the expertise to produce high-volume, high quality flexible OLED displays, and the addition of the E6-1 and E6-2 capacity should go a long way toward that goal. When fully operational, the fab (phase 1 and 2) will have a total capacity of ~9.4m 6” OLED displays/month. But LG Display’s flexible OLED yields have been poor, likely under 50% for E6-1, and there have been problems with some of the displays LGD has been supplying to other smartphone vendors, particularly Google’sPixel2 XL and Pixel 3 units. It is incumbent on LGD to move quickly if they expect to become a more significant supplier to Apple in the 2019 model year, as test production for the 2019 release will start in late August.