Use of COF in Flexible OLEDs in Automotive Applications Adds to Shortage
June 10, 2019
IHS was most adamant at DisplayWeek that the lack of COF capacity was negatively impacting the availability of flexible OLED displays, despite the reports of low utilization of fab capacity on the 1stquarter. Now, COF packaging demand for automotive OLED displays has emerged, which may further tighten market supply as capacity expansion will remain quite limited in the short term, according to industry sources. IHS said that OLED has become a new battlefield for Taiwan driver IC vendors including Novatek Semiconductor, FocalTech, Himax Technologies. They are teaming up with driver IC packagers such as Chipbond Technology and ChipMos Technologies to tap into the supply chains of OLED panel makers including BOE Technology, LG Display and Samsung Electronics. Himax has recently started its shipments of auto-use OLED driver ICs and timing control ICs to BOE, which have all adopted COF packaging technology. With all-screen design as a common spec for midrange and high-tier smartphones, the COF process has seen robust demand for packaging TDDICs, and the supply has become increasingly tight as Huawei has asked its Taiwanese backend partners to ready more inventories to cushion impacts from US sanctions. Other China smartphone vendors such as OPPO, vivo and Lenovo are also seeking more capacity support from Taiwan partners, industry source said.
Additionally, demand for COF to package driver ICs for large-size and UHD TVs are also mounting significantly along with the growing popularity for 4K and 8K TVs ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. COF service providers will likely raise prices in the coming year, and quote hikes for tape COF, in particular, are very likely to appear in the second half of 2019 thanks to its greater difficulty in capacity expansion, industry sources commented.