FlexEnable, a developer of flexible organic electronics, has partnered with display maker Chunghwa Picture Tube (CPT) to drive market adoption and growth of flexible AMOLED displays. Building on FlexEnable’s series of flexible AMOLED demonstrators, the two companies have manufactured a glass-free, full-color, flexible AMOLED display leveraging FlexEnable’s low-temperature process for plastic transistors and CPT’s RGB OLED technology. The display operates at full video-rate (60 Hz) and measures 125 microns thick.
“This display represents a fundamental breakthrough proving that FlexEnable’s OTFT technology can be combined with mainstream OLED manufacturing infrastructures to create the most flexible and cost-effective AMOLED display technology,” said FlexEnable’s chairman Indro Mukerjee, in a statement. “Working together with display makers, FlexEnable supports the integration of our proven technology platform, enabling a full range of flexible display types, from conformable LCD and OLED to electrophoretic displays at lower cost.”
“The partnership also signals a transformational development in the supply chain for truly flexible, plastic AMOLED displays, demonstrating that the FlexEnable process is compatible with current FPD factory equipment and techniques, requiring minimal modification,” said the company.
FlexEnable also provides services to help manufacturers ramp-up to volume manufacturing through FabEnable, a package of IP and services for display manufacturers.
“Truly flexible AMOLED panels are widely recognized as the most promising display infrastructure. CPT has over a decade of professional experience in the development of AMOLED displays from structural design, material allocation and process to equipment,” said CPT’s president Sheng-Chang Lin, in a statement. “CPT has shown a number of AMOLED displays at several major exhibitions as well as to potential customers. This demonstration clearly proves that the integration of both parties’ capabilities has the potential to drive the mass production of flexible AMOLED displays making truly flexible OLED a reality.”
While there are differing forecasts for the size of the flexible electronics and display markets, the market size and growth for these next-generation displays are significant. A recent report released by ReportsnReports.com forecasts that the global flexible electronics market by components (including displays, batteries, sensors, photovoltaics, and memory) will reach $13.23 billion by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.7 percent over the forecast period. The global flexible display market, alone, is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 107.2 percent from 2014 to 2019, driven by R&D investments and capacity expansion plans. The report noted that issues around mass production and low adoption are the major challenges.
An OLED display forecast released by IDTechEx in 2014 found that OLED displays were already being mass produced by mobile phones. Analysts noted that OLEDs would continue gaining market share against LCD technology with plastic and flexible displays as the next evolution in the market. The market research firm predicts the first phone with a flexible display will ship in 2017, and based on this forecast, expects the market for plastic and flexible AMOLED displays to reach $16 billion by 2020.