Digitimes Research recently published analysis that Samsung Display and LG Display current dependence on imported organic materials used in vapour deposition - for front-end manufacturing process of flexible OLED panels could reduce in the future. The conclusion of the Digitimes Research analysis suggests that this reliance is reducing due in part through Samsung Group's and LG Group's internal mergers of their respective business units and through direct investments in foreign enterprises to obtain relevant patents for self-production of such materials by Samsung SDI and LG Chem respectively.
The front-end manufacturing process mainly consists of a TFT backplane and vapour deposition of organic materials. In making TFT backplanes, Samsung Display and LG Display procure PI (polyimide) varnish from Japan-based Ube Industries and metal target materials, thinner, etching solution and lift-off solution mainly from South Korea-based ENF Technology, Dongjin Semicom and Dongwoo Fine-Chem.
For vapour deposition of organic materials, Japan-based Idemitsu Kosan, US-based Universal Display Corp (UDC) and Dow Chemical and Germany-based Merck are the main suppliers.
However, Samsung Group acquired Germany-based Novaled GmbH to obtain patented technologies of key OLED materials and also invested in Sun Fine Chem, a subsidiary of Japan-based Hodogaya Chemical, for technological cooperation.
For the back-end manufacturing process of flexible OLED panels, Samsung Display and LG Display procure high-temperature thin film from 3M and cover glass from Corning, with most of other materials supplied by South Korea-based manufacturers.
While the report suggests imported organic materials may fall it didn't provide any data that supports how demand may fall or over what time frame this reduction could take place.