Flexible LCD technology challenges incumbent OLED displays
FlexEnable and Truly Semiconductors are partnering to mass-produce flexible LCD displays.
IMAGE: Chuck Milligan, CEO of FlexEnable (left) and James Wong, COO and group executive director of Truly, have signed a licensing agreement to bring flexible organic liquid-crystal display (OLCD) technology to market, challenging incumbent organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display technology.
Developer of organic electronics for flexible displays and sensors FlexEnable (Cambridge, England) signed a technology transfer and license agreement with display maker Truly Semiconductors (Hong Kong). The partnership aims to bring FlexEnable's flexible organic liquid-crystal display (OLCD) technology into mass production on Truly's lines within 2018.
The companies say that due to its high performance and low-cost manufacturing process, OLCD is the only display technology today that can deliver flexible displays with large area, low cost and high brightness with long lifetime. With a bend radius that can go below 20 mm, OLCD meets the market needs for a range of applications across consumer electronics, smart home appliances, automotive, digital signage, and beyond.
The OLCD technology is based upon FlexEnable's flexible low-temperature organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) backplane technology, which can be manufactured on existing TFT LCD production lines using low cost plastic substrates such as TAC and PET. The OTFT backplane has better electrical performance than amorphous silicon, giving plastic LCDs the same display quality and reliability as glass-based LCDs, while making it thinner, lighter, shatterproof, and conformable to surfaces--directly competing with flexible organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology.
Truly, the first display manufacturer to adopt OLCD, will implement the process into its existing production lines in Shanwei, China. The first product samples will be available to commercial partners in early 2018, with volume production expected in late 2018.
KK Ho, general manager, R&D center, Truly Semiconductors, says, "FlexEnable's OLCD technology is a breakthrough in the TFT-LCD industry and with its characteristics of thinness, lightweight, and more durability it is going to create lots of possibilities for innovative product design. We have been receiving many enquiries for flexible display from the market, specifically, wearable devices, smart home appliances, electric cars and self-driving cars etc. This is a pretty exciting display technology and we do believe there is a considerable potential market size."