DOWOO INSYS to Expand Its Production Capacity for Ultra-Thin Glass

Nov 12, 2019

DOWOO INSYS, which supplies ‘ultra-thin glass (UTG)’ to Samsung Display, is looking into making additional investment into mass-production facility and this hints that Samsung is looking to differentiate itself within the foldable smartphone market through UTG.
According to the industry, DOWOO INSYS is currently looking into making additional investment into mass-production facility. Besides its facility in South Korea, it is looking into preparing another facility in Vietnam.
DOWOO INSYS, which was established in 2010, is a South Korean venture company that had attracted total of $10.3 million (12 billion KRW) of investment from Samsung Venture Investment and has become the exclusive UTG panel supplier for Samsung Display. As it has recently started manufacturing UTG panels, it is raising the level of expectations on a new foldable smartphone. Samsung Electronics recently introduced its clamshell foldable smartphone that is expected to be applied with UTG panel.
DOWOO INSYS possesses a technology that can manufacture ultra-thin tempered glass that has thickness less than 100µm. It is understood that it can manufacture tempered glass with thickness of 30µm at the minimum.
It is understood that DOWOO INSYS is currently able to produce 500,000 UTG panels per month. It has optimized its UTG technology by constantly working with Samsung Display and it has recently started manufacturing UTG panels in order to secure initial supply from Samsung Display in advance. Because its operation rate has yet to increase to the desired rate, there is a difference in actual output and production capacity.

Director Jung Hye-soon of Samsung Electronics Wireless Business Department’s Framework R&D Group is introducing a new foldable Smartphone form factor at Samsung Developer Conference 2019. <Director Jung Hye-soon of Samsung Electronics Wireless Business Department’s Framework R&D Group is introducing a new foldable Smartphone form factor at Samsung Developer Conference 2019.>

In order to increase supply, it is currently looking into increasing its production capacity. Because it needs investment into facility and equipment, it is also discussing internally about attracting an additional investment from Samsung. Exact amount of additional investment is not known.
DOWOO INSYS looking into increasing its production capacity is directly connected to Samsung’s strategy. It is understood that Samsung and DOWOO INSYS signed a medium and long-term contract that is based upon DOWOO INSYS becoming the exclusive UTG panel supplier. Because DOWOO INSYS needs to supply its UTG panels only to Samsung for considerable period of time, increased production capacity means that it can lead to expansion of its business related to foldable device markets.
Because foldable technology can be applied to various areas such as laptop in addition to smartphone, DOWOO INSYS is looking to becoming a stable UTG supplier from a long-term perspective.
The industry is focusing on how many foldable models equipped with UTG panel will there be in the future.
“Although Chinese panel manufacturers are also interested in foldable display and are working on supply and demand of UTG panel, there will not be any significant competitor to Samsung Display for the next three years considering production stability, technical skill, and reliability.” said a representative for the industry. “We are going to observe how the relationship between Samsung and DOWOO will be maintained considering Samsung’s strategic customers and proliferation of foldable device markets.”
Staff Reporter Bae, Okjin | withok@etnews.com

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