Panasonic joins effort to license low-cost OLED panels

Organic materials are deposited onto glass, a method expected to be 20 to 30 percent cheaper than current process

Panasonic Corp has partnered an affiliate of Japan Display Inc to license out a low-cost organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panel-making process, a possible alternative to the conventional method used by dominant South Korean manufacturers.

The affiliate, JOLED Inc, is in talks with several global panel producers to license its printing process for OLED panels, where organic colour materials are deposited onto glass substrates in a manner similar to ink-jet printing.

The method can produce OLED screens 20 to 30 percent cheaper than the current evaporation process as it does not need equipment such as vacuum chambers or metal masks to deposit the colour materials.

Panasonic will design and develop printing equipment, while a unit of panel and chip making equipment manufacturer Screen Holdings Co Ltd will be responsible for actual production of the equipment and maintenance.

JOLED, created in 2015 by merging the OLED divisions of Panasonic and Sony Corp, also plans to start mass production of smaller panels on its own in 2020.

To finance the production plan, JOLED raised 47 billion JPY (425 million USD) from the sale of new shares to auto parts maker Denso Corp and three other Japanese firms.