We have seen a technological breakthrough by introducing the clamshell foldable Z series smartphones. However, those were not the fruits everyone could afford. But now it seems Samsung wants to make their Z series in more people’s reach by further reducing the cost of manufacturing the devices. Sure everyone desired the Galaxy Z series Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3, but again, the price discouraged many people from purchasing the devices.
According to a local media publication from S.Korea, Samsung is planning to use and has already given a PO (Purchase Order) for shipment of OCR to STI, a moderate-level display equipment company.
An OCR optically clear resin is a liquid optical bonding material injected between the touch panel and the LCD, then cured by heat or UV light.
Earlier, Samsung used the OCA, and OCA is an optical adhesive sheet in film form used for bonding. It is used when bonding various adherents such as glass, acrylic, polycarbonate, and film in the assembly of the OLED screens for the foldable series.
However, it is an expensive process compared to the OCR inkjet printing, as it requires the film to bond with the transparent tapes piece by piece, resulting in extended time, and also the material is expensive.
SDI purchases around $150 million of OCA annually to make flexible OLED display bonds with the glass.
However, by introducing OCR, Samsung can reduce cost and thus has given the PO to STI for experiments and research. The order was placed for inkjet OCR equipment for the foldable OLED module process from Samsung Display in 2020 at the A1 factory Chungcheongnam-do.
This is a piece of prototype equipment, and Samsung plans to install it in its Vietnam line.
The OCR is 10 times cheaper than the OCA, and currently, OCA supplier 3M US takes the lead, but an import substitution effect is expected, i.e., less dependency on the big players who have a monopoly, and therefore Samsung will seek others.
OCR equipment can print patterning and still avoid device holes by spraying micro-sized fine ink droplets. Theoretically, it’s possible to reduce the panel thickness and achieve a zero-bezel foldable OLED with no upper and lower edges.
Previously Samsung Display and SDI have already solved the problem of the curved surfaces, not bonding, and substance flowing outside when applying OCR. Currently, SDI supplies OCA to Samsung, but the future supplier of the expected OCR is unknown.
“OCR requires a process of spraying ink and hardening (curing) where desired, but the speed itself will be faster compared to OCA. It has led to a full-fledged investment.”
-An industry official, according to ‘thelec.kr‘.
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