Apple Buys Specialist Machinery to Set Up OLED Panel R&D Line in Taiwan

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Apple has acquired specialist machinery from Sunic System to build its own OLED panel research and development line in Taiwan, according to a report on Monday.

Korea-based Sunic manufactures systems for OLED display production and supply for both pilot and mass production lines. According to ET News, Apple has purchased chemical vapor deposition (CVD) machines from the company to reduce its reliance on Chinese suppliers as it ramps up its R&D into OLED panel and related technology.


CVD is a technique for the fabrication and synthesis of thin films of polymeric materials, which have a broad range of application, including the production of OLED panel coatings with barrier properties.

Japanese Canon Tokki is currently the primary supplier of CVD machines and is said to ship the bulk of its output to Samsung, the biggest producer of OLED panels, but Apple's acquisition of the machines from Sunic could undermine Canon Tokki's dominant position in the CVD market going forward.

Samsung has bought five sets of OLED manufacturing equipment from Canon Tokki so far in 2017 and has signed contracts to buy five out of 10 such machines to be rolled out by the Japan-based machinery company in 2018, said the Commercial Times.

Samsung's own CVD purchases likely feed into its plan to construct the world's biggest OLED display manufacturing plant, which could begin mass production in 2019.

Apple has reportedly signed a two-year contract with the Korean company for the supply of up to 92 million curved OLED panels, at least some of which are expected to be used in this year's redesigned iPhone, variously referred to in the media as "iPhone 8", "iPhone Pro", and "iPhone X".

Apple is thought to be offering the OLED iPhone as a premium option alongside typical upgraded "S" cycle iPhone 7 handsets that will retain LCD displays. Rumors suggest that all iPhones in Apple's line-up could come with OLED displays by 2019.

Today's report suggests Apple is accelerating its research into bespoke OLED technology with the aim of eventually reducing its heavy reliance on Samsung in years to come, although whether it would actually manufacture its own OLED panels is unclear. LG has also reportedly purchased two CVD machines from Canon Tokki and has begun shipping OLED panels to Xiaomi and Google, and although LG's panels have not yet been validated by Apple, the two companies are said to be negotiating an OLED supply deal in time for 2019.

(Via DigiTimes.)

Tag: OLED

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
39 months ago

Apple should just put in an order for 300 million OLED panels. But it seems Apple can't even do that with competence.

Where is your logic behind Apple doesn't have competence because of what exactly? Considering Samsung is the Only supplier that can meet Apple's demands at the moment for OLED panels.

They placed an order for 70 Million OLED panels with Samsung, which they will supply Apple up to 92 Million OLED panels until 2019. Furthermore, Apple reportedly will be using LG as a future OLED panel supplier after Samsung For the majority of their iPhone line up. Seems Apple has enough competence to plan for the future.

"Apple is reportedly in talks with LG Display to invest about 2 to 3 trillion won (US$1.75-2.62 billion) into the Korean display maker’s new OLED production lines exclusively dedicated to Apple orders. "

https://www.macrumors.com/2017/07/03/apple-lg-display-oled-iphones/amp/

https://www.macrumors.com/2017/04/03/apple-orders-70m-iphone-panels-from-samsung/amp/
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago

Better late than never.

Much, much better. Early OLED had substantial trade-offs vs LCD. Cost was higher, lifespan was shorter, and energy consumption was much higher on white backgrounds. All of those things have been improved dramatically. Apple missed all of the growing pains of OLED... and still managed to sell about 15 to 20 phones during that timeframe.:D
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago

After years of substandard LCD panels, Apple reacts.

Better late than never.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago

Apple should just put in an order for 300 million OLED panels. But it seems Apple can't even do that with competence.

I'm no inventory management specialist, but even I know this idea would get someone fired. Going out on a limb to say you're even less of a specialist than I am.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
I

Apple should just put in an order for 300 million OLED panels. But it seems Apple can't even do that with competence.

It does not say 5.5" screens but panels which can be cut into their need based requirements.

If 'm not wrong, Let's just say 3x~90million= ~270million.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
After years of substandard LCD panels, Apple reacts.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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