Konica Minolta and Pioneer Complete JV for OLED Lighting
June 5, 2017
OLED Info reported that the March 2017 agreement between Konica Minolta and Pioneer would be implemented on June 1st in a new 50:50 joint venture, called Konica Minolta Pioneer OLED. Konica Minolta said that the new company will take charge of all business and product planning, product development, production technology development and marketing functions of both companies' OLED lighting business to drive its initiatives. The new company has an initial capital of 490 million yen (about $4.4 million) will combine KM's roll-to-roll flexible OLED production equipment and technology with Pioneer’s OLED panel mass-production and market rollout and its car electronics business know-how. The focus will be on automotive lighting - in addition to the existing OLED lighting fields of indicators, advertisement, and beauty and medical lighting. In the medium to long-term, the new company will aim to achieve annual sales of 25 billion yen (US$225 million). Konica Minolta constructed a R2R flexible OLED lighting fab, hoping to start production in the fall of 2014. The fab entered production later than planned, but it has yet to reach mass production capabilities. Konica originally invested ¥10 billion (almost US$100 million) in this fab, which was supposed to have a capacity of 1 million panels/month. The fab produces both white and color-tunable flexible panels. However, even now 3-years after mass production began there are no customers and no panels available on the market.
Pioneer, which was the first company to market an OLED display converted its PMOLED facility to lighting and distribute color-tunable panels produced by Mitsubishi and Pioneer under the Verbatim brand in 2011. In early 2014, Pioneer and Mitsubishi Chemical announced that they began to mass produce OLED lighting modules made with a hybrid dry and wet coating process - but these were not color tunable panels.
Pioneer and Mitsubishi also developed a color-tunable and dimmable OLED lighting panel produced using Mitsubishi's wet-coating process, and the companies say that this panel can be produced for less than one-third of the cost of OLEDs made with regular evaporation-based production methods.
Figure 1: Pioneer’s Color Tunable Lights