[SID2019] What material is better for cover windows of foldable OLED? colorless PI or UTG?

Since Royole introduced ‘FlexPai’, a foldable OLED phone, Samsung Electronics and Huawei have also launched Foldable OLED phones, attracting great interest from the industry and the public.

The biggest change of the foldable OLED phone currently being commercialized or under preparation is that the cover window of the glass material used in the existing flexible OLED has been changed to colorless PI material.

Colorless PI is thinner than conventional cover window glass, which is advantageous in reducing the radius of curvature and has the advantage of not breaking. UTG (ultra-thin glass), which has good surface touch-feel and scratch-resistant glass as thin as possible, is also attracting attention as a cover window material for foldable OLEDs.

At the SID Display Week exhibition in San Jose, KOLON exhibited colorless PI with hard coating. KOLON, which has been ready for mass production of colorless PI since 2018, is currently supplying colorless PI for foldable OLED cover windows to AUO, BOE, LG Display, and Royole.

Hard coating company DNP and TOYOCHEM also exhibited colorless PI with hard coating. DNP’s company official said that the film is under development and its main business area is hard coating, and TOYOCHEM’s company official said that it supplied hard coating samples to KOLON and SKC.

Meanwhile, SCHOTT, a UTG development company, also attracted the attention of the audience by displaying UTG for foldable OLED cover windows. An official of SCHOTT said that the UTG currently being developed is a cover window product for out-folding, not in-folding, and that the thickness is currently in development from 0.7 mm to 2.5 mm in accordance with customer requirements.

As the smartphone set makers are expected to release foldable OLED phones in the near future, competition for related materials is also expected to be intense. Whether the Colorless PI will continue to dominate or whether UTG will be able to exercise its influence is highlighted.

” SKC 코오롱 PI, 폴더블 스마트폰 수혜주 될 것 “

Foldable 스마트폰 이미지 (출처=샘모바일)

SKC 코오롱 PI가 폴더블 스마트폰 수혜주로 지목됐다. 사진은 폴더블 스마트폰 이미지  (출처=샘모바일)

삼성증권이 폴더블 스마트폰 수혜주로 SKC 코오롱 PI를 제시했다.  PI필름 사용처 확대에 따른 수혜가 기대된다는 분석이다.

양대용 삼성증권 애널리스트에 따르면 현재 PI필름의 주 사용처는 모바일기기에 사용되는 FPCB와 방열시트 등이며, 향후에는 플렉서블 디스플레이 관련 수요가 증가할 전망이다. PI필름은 상용화된 플라스틱 중 열적, 물리적, 전기적 특성이 가장 우수한 필름으로 형태를 변화시켜야 하는 플렉서블 디스플레이 특성상 유리의 대체 소재로 채택될 가능성이 높아 향후 플렉서블 스마트폰 상용화 시 수혜가 기대된다는 게 양 애널리스트의 설명이다.
양 애널리스트는 “현재 Rigid OLED는 TFT기판, 커버윈도우 등에 유리가 사용되고, 커브드 OLED에서는 TFT기판에 PI계열 소재가 사용되는 수준이지만, 폴더블 OLED 패널에는 모두 PI계열 소재로 대체될 가능성이 높다”며 “특히 Rigid OLED에서 유리가, 그리고 커브드 OLED에서 PET필름이 사용 중인베이스 필름이 PI필름으로 대체 시 수요가 크게 증가할 전망으로 향후 폴더블 스마트폰 상용화 시 글로벌 선도업체인 SKC 코오롱 PI의 수혜가 예상된다”고 내다봤다.