Samsung expands factory equipment to produce more LTPO OLED panels for Apple’s future iPhones

Samsung Display has placed equipment orders to expand its new mobile OLED production line that will use Gen 6 (1500x1850mm) substrates to manufacture small OLED panels that will be used in smartphones.

Samsung’s lineups are being upgraded to add processes for OLED panels to support Y-OCTA touch technology and low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) thin-film transistor (TFT) technology. The expansion will cost approximately US$857 million.

Samsung Display’s largest customer, Apple, applied OLED LTPO panels in its iPhone 13 Pro models for the first time this year. It’s clear that Samsung’s expansion is gearing up to supply Apple with more OLED LTPO panels in 2022-2023.

Samsung’s A4E line will be relatively expensive to build because they don’t have deposition equipment, they have kits for LTPO TFFs, which cost more than those for low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) TFTs.

LTPO changes the switching TFT to oxide material to reduce power consumption compared to LTPS. LTPO has about three to four extra layers because of this, which requires additional production steps.

Cupertino is expected to ship even more iPhones next year, and Samsung Display is gearing up to respond to that surge. After A4E is completed, Samsung Display will guarantee a production capacity of 165,000 substrates per month by 2023.

Leon E. Hill