Samsung Display reportedly plans to convert one of its 8.5G LCD fabs, the L8-1, into a production base for the development of QD-OLED (quantum dot-OLED) panels with the transition process likely to begin in the middle of 2019, according to industry sources.
The L8-1 fab is built in two phases with a total capacity of 200,000 substrates a month, and the transition will enable Samsung to roll out 160,000-180,000 substrates for QD-OLED panels, with the dismissed LCD panel capacity equivalent to closure of a 8.5G LCD fab, said the sources.
Since the L8-1 fab is currently focusing on production of 49- and 55-inch LCD TV panels, the planned production shift will result in a reduction of Samsung’s TV panel shipments to below 30 million units in 2019 compared to estimated shipments of 38-39 million units for 2018, said the sources.
Following the conversion, Samsung will set up a trial production line for QD-OLED panels in 2019 with plans to begin ramping up the output of such panels in 2020, noted the sources, adding that the Korea-based flat panel maker is likely to invest over KRW10 trillion (USD 8.95 billion) for the development and production of QD-OLED panels from 2019-2021.
Samsung’s planned move for its L8-1 fab comes as no surprise to the flat panel industry as Samsung together with its fellow company LG Display have been shifting their focus to the development of OLED panels in response to aggressive capacity ramps for LCD panels by China-based players. Over the past years, the two firms have closed five 5G LCD lines and one 7G LCD fab.
The planned closure of the L8-1 fab will be a blessing in disguise for the panel industry as it will help ease the mounting oversupply pressures the industry is likely to brace for in the next three years, commented the sources.— Digi Times