LG Display is speeding up the process of shifting the weight of its business to OLED. It has been busy with preparing the groundwork for producing large OLEDs by bringing in key equipment to its Gen-10.5 OLED line in Paju and Gen-8.5 OLED line in Guangzhou one after the other.
According to the industry, LG Display is planning to bring in a stepper from Nikon this month that will be used for its Gen-10.5 OLED line within its P10 fab.
“This new stepper will be installed sometime during the next month.” said a representative for the industry. “LG Display has brought in three steppers to its P10 fab since last year.”
Stepper that is used for the front-end process of display is used to create circuits on the surface of a semiconductor wafer or the glass substrate of a TFT (Thin-Film Transistor) by shining light.
It is one of the first equipment that is ordered by display makers when they construct fabs or make investments for additional facilities and equipment. It is heard that LG Display is planning to bring in three to four additional steppers from Nikon by end of this year.
LG Display set up a goal of producing 30,000 OLEDs per month by the first half of 2022 by investing $2.48 billion (3 trillion KRW) in its P10 Gen-10.5 OLED fab last year. However, it had to delay its plan to 2023 considering recent market conditions. The reason why LG Display continues to bring in key equipment despite the postponement is because LG Display wants to make preparations in advance since it will take time to extend and stabilize the line. In addition to stepper, LG Display is expected to bring in other key equipment necessary for mass-production of OLEDs.
LG Display has also been busy with its Gen-8.5 OLED fab in Guangzhou. Not only has it brought in new equipment in order to operate the fab this month, its engineers who temporarily returned to South Korea from Guangzhou due to the novel coronavirus have started going back go Guangzhou. These engineers will be performing key roles for the operation of the Guangzhou fab. LG Display is looking to finish necessary preparations by the end of the first half.
It is expected that LG Display will continue to clear out its low-generation LCD business while continuing to expand its OLED fabs in Paju and Guangzhou in order to break away from LCD that has lost its business value due to oversupply by Chinese companies and improve its business value through high-value OLED.
However, the novel coronavirus will be a variable to LG Display’s plan. Due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, there have been unexpected situations such as isolation and movement control within China. As a result, there is a chance of setbacks to entire schedule of production involving R&D, delivery of materials and components, production, and supply. On the 29th of February, LG Display had temporarily closed down parts of its module plant and conducted preventive measures when a bank employee from its Gumi industrial complex tested positive for the novel coronavirus.