cens logo

Taiwan Must Build Complete Supply Chain to Compete in Flexible Panels Sector

Nov 18, 2015 | By Quincy Liang

A foldable AMOLED panel produced with ITRI-developed on-cell touch AMOLED technology. (photo from ITRI)A foldable AMOLED panel produced with ITRI-developed on-cell touch AMOLED technology. (photo from ITRI)
With thin film transistor-liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) and active matrix organic light-emit diode (AMOLED) panels being the mainstream displays of handheld devices, the consumer electronics market continues, true to the rapid deterioration of shelf life and ever changing tastes of consumers for information technology products, to be on the lookout for something new.

As a result, demand for lighter, slimmer, more durable and ergonomic displays for product designs able to stand in futuristic scenarios is creating a potential market size of billions of US dollars for flexible panels, drawing manufacturers from the U.S., Taiwan and Korea to jump onto the bandwagon for next-generation displays, according to Nancy Liu, analyst of Industrial Economics & Knowledge Center (IEK) under Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI).

The TFT-LCD has been the dominant display technology for years; however, the emergence of portable devices has been driving demand for light, slim, durable and ergonomic displays that can be designed into products for new applications. The idea of flexible displays has attracted a lot of attention from the industry for its groundbreaking potential to, for example, realize handheld devices with non-geometric or curvilinear forms.

Due to the limitations of cell gaps and backlight module designs, it is difficult to make flexible substrates with TFT-LCD. The OLED and e-paper, which do not require backlight sources, have become the solution for flexible displays. Given the current trend for full-color and the requirement to support animation, flexible OLED has, as a result, become an important option as the next-generation display technology in handheld devices.

In 2013, Samsung was the first manufacturer to launch handsets using flexible AMOLED in a limited edition of Galaxy Round; while another Korean vendor LG later followed suit by introducing the LG G Flex. The launch of these two models represents the first commercialization of flexible AMOLED in the handheld-device market. In order to meet demand for a plethora of devices for anytime and anywhere usage, displays have to be flexible so that they can be designed into devices of different shapes for different environments. Hence it is imperative to develop the processing technology of flexible substrates, Liu explains.

Liu continues that the flexible AMOLED was first adopted in smartphones and later in wearables. Currently, the wearable-device market is about US$3 million to US$5 billion, which is forecast to reach US$30 billion to US$50 billion in the period between 2016 and 2018, as an increasing number of smart watches, fitness trackers and smart glasses have entered into the booming segment. Apple, Sony and Samsung have already launched smart watches. Google is hoping to enter the market with Google Glass. The displays for wearable devices will have to address the needs, technologies, costs and regulations so as to expand the market size. 

ITRI-developed triple-foldable AMOLED technology. (photo from ITRI)ITRI-developed triple-foldable AMOLED technology. (photo from ITRI)

Longer Life for Panels
The IEK analyst also says that oxide TFT technology combines the advantages of both a-Si TFT and low temperature poly-silicon (LTPS) TFT. It can utilize the sputtering process on existing production lines without making many changes. Meanwhile, low-temperature coating becomes possible with the use of IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) and this opens up more possibilities for flexible AMOLED.

The key to make substrates flexible is to overcome the challenges to which TFT components are subjected. It is also necessary to adopt packaging materials that are comparable to glass in terms of moisture and oxygen insulation so as to lengthen lifetime of organic components, Liu says. Currently, the industry is focusing on film packaging.

Taiwan's Focus
Only with the joint efforts from material and equipment suppliers will it be feasible to effectively reduce flexible AMOLED's production costs and shorten the lead time for mass production, Liu says, and it is critical for Taiwan to build its own complete supply chain by supporting equipment and materials manufacturers.

Achieving early-bird advantages require always being one-step ahead of competitors in the construction of a complete supply chain of materials and panel manufacturing. This will lead to profitability previously unseen and enhance Taiwan's competitiveness in next generation display technology, the analyst concludes.


Industry Reports

Foxconn Engages European Auto Parts Talks for Tier 1 and EV Market Entry </h2>

Foxconn Engages European Auto Parts Talks for Tier 1 and EV Market Entry

Oct 20, 2020

Foxconn is looking to explore cooperation with European tier 1 auto parts suppliers in developing 3D auto-use curved glass covers. The electronics manufacturer is also reportedly engaging in talks with European auto firms to make curved, one-piece system consoles and dashboards. In a bid to diversify its product line, Foxconn's plans to enter the lucrative auto parts industry began with provid...


(File cabinets, photo courtesy of Chyn Fuh Enterprise Co., Ltd.)

Taiwan's Furniture Industry Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Oct 16, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected global and Taiwan's political and economic landscapes. Unlike some industries, the furniture sector did not escape unscathed, facing a squeeze from management and costs. While Taiwan continues to implement a stable, successful outbreak response, the industry has also misjudged the economic downturn duration. The furniture industry has yet to fully recover...


2020 Energy Vision Summit for Green Energy to Kick off in Nov.</h2>

2020 Energy Vision Summit for Green Energy to Kick off in Nov.

Oct 14, 2020

The Taiwanese government has pledged to lead the effort in further developing the sustainable green economy, which is among the sectors highlighted in the Tsai administration's "5+2 Innovative Industries Initiative." Economic Daily News is hosting the "2020 Energy Vision Summit - Green Energy 2.0" on November 11. As one of the government's core policies, improving the island's energy self-suff...



Industry In-Focus

Foxconn Engages European Auto Parts Talks for Tier 1 and EV Market Entry </h2>

Foxconn Engages European Auto Parts Talks for Tier 1 and EV Market Entry

Oct 20, 2020

Foxconn is looking to explore cooperation with European tier 1 auto parts suppliers in developing 3D auto-use curved glass covers. The electronics manufacturer is also reportedly engaging in talks with European auto firms to make curved, one-piece system consoles and dashboards. In a bid to diversify its product line, Foxconn's plans to enter the lucrative auto parts industry began with provid...


China's Strong Auto Market to Buoy Taiwan's Related Industries</h2>

China's Strong Auto Market to Buoy Taiwan's Related Industries

Oct 19, 2020

Taiwan's auto parts market has seen positive impacts as the Chinese automotive market continues to grow in its sixth consecutive month. Hotai Motors and Yulon Nissan Motor are the two significant firms enjoying the leverage. The island's related industries are benefiting from the strong performance of China's automotive market. Industry members say as long as competitive Taiwanese firms mainta...


Foundry Supply in a Pickle Amid Surging Demand Due to Pandemic and Restrictions</h2>

Foundry Supply in a Pickle Amid Surging Demand Due to Pandemic and Restrictions

Oct 19, 2020

Industry experts expect to see challenging times ahead for production in the foundry sector, forecasting that the current situation will not let up in the short-term and warns of unbalanced supply-demand next year. During the pre-pandemic era, IC design firms say clients usually made urgent orders to avoid having to manage inventory. Yet, considering limited foundry production volume, clients ...



Supplier News

(Electric Vehicle-Photo courtesy of CENS)

Microtest: Precise, Reliable, and Always Improving

Oct 16, 2020

Eyes Stake in 5G Industry with Impedance Analyzer 6632 With greater demand for electronics and manufacturers' need for more precise and diverse applications than before, testing equipment that ensures the reliability, safety, and quality of parts are in hot demand. Founded in 1993, Microtest Corp. is a professional maker and developer of high precision and automatic testing and measurement ins...


(Photo courtesy of Ho Shuan Enterprise Co., Ltd.)

Ho Shuan is Your Choice for Educational Furniture and More

Oct 16, 2020

Insisting that its customers are always a top priority, Ho Shuan Enterprise Co., Ltd.'s R&D team provides the best educational furniture and peripherals, computer tables, and desks to meet all customer requirements. Established in 1986, Ho Shuan has experienced recent sluggish local market performance, but eventually rebounded and came back better than ever. Despite difficulties, the firm neve...

HO SHUAN ENTERPRISE CO., LTD.


(S16-M01 Short Swivel-Handle Cabinet, photo courtesy of Chyn Fuh Enterprise)

Chyn Fuh: A Quality OA Metal Furniture Maker

Oct 16, 2020

Chyn Fuh Enterprise, founded in 1993, entered the market with the sole aim of offering other OA metal furniture options for customers. Since its inception, Chyn Fuh has focused on designing and producing OA metal furniture, providing various office use products, including file cabinets, storage cabinets, office desks, and different assistive metal products. Chyn Fuh partook in many government ...

CHYN FUH ENTERPRISE CO., LTD.



Insiders' Views

Caption: Pictured from front row, third right, Changhua County Government Economic Affairs Department Director Liu Yu-ping, County Magistrate Wang Huei-mei, Secretary Chen Bo-tsun pose in front of the exhibition booth. (Photo provided by CHCIA)

Changhua County Government Shores up Biz-Matching to Global Buyers

Nov 18, 2019

■Yang Feng-Chun In a bid to assist manufacturers in Changhua County to expand their market reach overseas against severe competition in the globalized market, Changhua County Government has been an active player in pushing for a makeover and innovation of its local small and medium-sized enterprises. This is done in hopes of establishing stronger connection with international markets. An ex...


Paul Master offers high-quality chassis and engines parts for passenger cars, trucks, and industrial trucks. (Photo courtesy of Paul Master)

Paul Master Builds Reputation with Auto Chassis and Engine Parts

Nov 18, 2019

Founded in 1980, Paul Master Auto Parts Co. is headquartered in Taiwan, a professional manufacturer of chassis and engines parts for passenger cars, trucks, and industrial trucks including forklifts. General Manager Terry Liang said the company has its own professional design department, which provides customized products and specifications for global buyers, including automobile steering and...

PAUL MASTER AUTO PARTS CO.


Nan Hoang Traffic Instrument Co., Ltd.</h2><p class='subtitle'>Taiwan First brakes Technology Co., Ltd. </p>

Nan Hoang Traffic Instrument Co., Ltd.

Taiwan First brakes Technology Co., Ltd.

Sep 04, 2019

Nan Hoang Traffic Instrument Co., Ltd is one of the major manufacturers of automobile friction materials in Taiwan and globally. Chairman Austin Cheng has implemented the double-arrow strategy this year - own brand of “YangPo” is adopted to focus on global channels while the “NHC brand focuses on improving market shares in global markets, such as Europe, America, Asia, Australia, and the Middle E...



Exhibition Highlights

Gearing up for Post-COVID Recovery, THS Coming Soon in October</h2>

Gearing up for Post-COVID Recovery, THS Coming Soon in October

Oct 07, 2020

As the only hardware and hand tools trade show taking place this year globally, the three-day Taiwan Hardware Show (THS) will soon kick off on 13th October at the Taichung International Exhibition Center. Positive industry outlook for the post COVID-19 era has led to over 370 companies signing up as exhibitors, in a bid to gear up for a long-awaited economic recovery and plan the next strategic m...


Stable Development and Popular Fastener Show in China</h2>

Stable Development and Popular Fastener Show in China

Sep 11, 2020

Driven by market prospects, domestic and international exhibitors actively prepare International Fastener Show China in Shanghai on November 3-5, 2020. Suffering from global epidemic and quarantine nearly half year, exhibitions are hot and popular in mainland China. Thousands of visitors join and visit the exhibitions with inquiries, and are eager to know new technology. Domestic and inter...


2020 Medical Taiwan to Host In-Person and Virtual Events</h2>

2020 Medical Taiwan to Host In-Person and Virtual Events

Sep 10, 2020

2020 Medical Taiwan is slated to kick off on Oct. 15 to Oct 17 at Nangang Exhibition Hall 2. Aside from events at the show, show organizer Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) is also hosting the “Medical Taiwan Virtual” online edition at the same time due to travel restrictions impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual edition will present 200 exhibitors and over 700 medic...