by Anton Shilov
04/16/2013 | 10:37 PM
Samsung Display, one of the world’s largest display makers, has discovered a glitch, which will lead to delay of manufacturing of flexible OLEDs. In a bid to streamline manufacturing process of bendable displays, Samsung decided to change encapsulating technology, which will take time. It is unclear when Samsung is set to be ready with flexible OLEDs, but earlier this year an industry executive said electronics manufacturers will not be ready to use bendable displays for several years.
Since OLEDs are vulnerable to moisture and oxygen, encapsulation processes are crucial to the commercialization of flexible displays. Samsung originally wanted to use encapsulating technology developed by Vitex Systems. However, the adoption of the tech excessively lengthens the manufacturing time, according to Korea IT Times web-site. As a result, the company is currently reviewing a number of different encapsulation technologies (or ways to alter Vitex System-developed encapsulation technology) for OLED displays, which naturally delays mass production of appropriate products since the company needs to test and validate everything once again.
“As we have accumulated expertise in this field, progress is being made in substrates as well as encapsulation technology. We have developed a new technology than can shorten the encapsulation process to less than 2 minutes by using the Vitex System-developed encapsulation technology,” a statement by Samsung Display reads.
Last year it was reported that Samsung Display, a producer of display panels that belongs to Samsung, was in the last phase of development of flexible displays for mobile devices and that devices on their base would be released in the first half of next year. Moreover, a rumour emerged late last year that Samsung Electronics’ next-generation Galaxy S IV flagship smartphone would feature bendable screen technology, which will make its display unbreakable.
Samsung demonstrated rather weird product prototypes with flexible displays at Mobile World Congress 2012. The company also demonstrated bendable screens code-named Youm at Consumer Electronics Show 2013. Brian Berkeley, senior vice president of Samsung Display, showcased a smartphone prototype equipped with a curved edge that showed contiguous content along the side of the device.
Demonstration of a flexible Youm display at CES 2013. Image by PCMagazine.
Bendable displays are virtually unbreakable and naturally provide a lot of opportunities when it comes to creation of innovation shapes of smartphone. It should be noted that besides installing innovative flexible displays on smartphones, manufacturers need to ensure that the software can take advantage of such technology as well.
The head of Corning Glass Technologies, a leading maker of glass substrates for smartphones, tablets and other consumer electronics, claims that manufacturers will only start to utilize Willow flexible glass in three years’ time. Although Corning sent samples of Willow flexible glass to makers of various advanced CE devices, such as smartphones, tablets and TVs in June, 2012, actual advanced products are not expected to hit the market in 2013. The Willow glass should be used in some simple products this year, such as a flexible barrier for solar panels or as a thin film behind some touch panels. However, big name customers will spend a long time, before taking full advantage of Willow glass.
“People are not accustomed to glass you roll up. The ability of people to take it and use it to make a product is limited,” said James Clappin, president of Corning Glass Technologies, in an interview earlier this year.