LG Display invests $905m in flexible OLED

LG Display is already the world's largest LCD panel manufacturer and now it's set on cornering the OLED market. More specifically, flexible OLED.

The company, a subsidiary of LG, has announced plans to invest KRW 1.05 trillion (US $905m/£580m) in a sixth-generation OLED production line, due to open in 2017.

Sony, LG and Samsung have all dipped their toes in the OLED waters, with the two Korean giants more recently focusing on curved OLED TVs, such as the LG 55EC930V and the Samsung KE55S9C. These were joined by prototype bendable TVs at CES 2015, with screens that could curve at the press of a button.

For flexible screens that have made their way into consumer hands, you have to look to the smartphone market and the LG G Flex and G Flex 2.

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It isn't only the phone market that LG hopes will push demand for the new technology. LG Display also cites the car industry and wearables market as potential growth areas for flexible OLED screens.

"LG Display’s investment will help pioneer future display technologies such as foldable displays and large-size auto displays," said an LG Display press release.

"The main advantage of a flexible OLED display is the screen’s bending feature that is achieved by the use of a plastic substrate instead of a glass substrate as in a conventional OLED display."

MORE: LG Display reveals 0.97mm OLED panel that sticks to the wall

LG is promising more design formats, which it says are possible only thanks to flexible OLED. The new E5 production line at the company's Gumi Plant in Gyeongbuk Province, Korea, will aim to produce 7500 sheets a month measuring 1500mm x 1850mm. From these, the company can produce more than 200 5.5in panels.

LG says the new sixth-gen OLED panels should be nearly four times more efficient than previous generations. The efficiency of OLED panels has been an issue historically, though earlier this year LG Display annouced OLED panel yield rate had improved to 65%.

IHS DisplaySearch expects the flexible OLED panel market to see sales increase from $3.5 billion in 2015 to $4.8 billion by 2021.

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Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is the Content Director for What Hi-Fi? and Future’s Product Testing, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for almost 20 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).