Samsung Display SEMES as the Supplier of Front-End Solutions for Q1 Line

Jan 20, 2020

Samsung Display has decided to bring in SEMES’ front-end solutions to its “Q1 line” that is the world’s first quantum dot (QD) display mass production line. As Samsung Display has selected the supplier for front-end solutions, it will be able to speed up the process of constructing Q1 line.
According to the industry, Samsung Display recently decided to purchase entire ink-jet printing systems that will be used for Q1 line from Samsung Electronics’ subsidiary called SEMES. It is heard that Samsung Display, which had weighed SEMES and an American company called Kateeva, decided to go with SEMES after evaluating how their QD display production technology is internalized, how effective their SCM (Supply Chain Management) is, and how competitive the price of their system is.
The industry initially predicted that there would be a higher chance of Kateeva being selected as Samsung Display’s supplier because Kateeva has established a deep relationship with Samsung Display by being the sole supplier of Gen-6 TFE (Thin Film Equipment) for Samsung Display’s A3 plant. However, Kateeva was not selected as the supplier for Q1 line as it was beat out by SEMES.
QD display combines OLED and QD in order to express more colors more accurately. Once blue OLED materials are deposited, red and green QDs are implemented in a photic layer through ink-jet printing method. SEMES, which was considering selling parts of its display equipment business last year, has found a new opportunity for its display equipment business by obtaining an order for ink-jet printing systems that will go through their first operations at Q1 line.

A view of Samsung Display’s Asan Campus <A view of Samsung Display’s Asan Campus>

The industry believes that SEMES was able to obtain the order from Samsung Display by providing its equipment that is used for other processes along with ink-jet printing system in a package and lowering unit cost of production. This decision has a same context as Samsung Display’s decision to have Applied Materials as the supplier of CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) system for forming a thin film temporarily.
As Samsung Display has decided to go with SEMES as the key supplier of front-end solutions, it is expected that the process of expanding production facilities to operate Q1 line will speed up. Samsung Display, which announced its plan to construct Q1 line in last October, has been signing off on contracts with major equipment makers one after the other recently. As of now, FNS TECH, ICD, Rorze Systems, K-MAC, and Charm Engineering are selected as the suppliers of equipment that will be used for Q1 line.
Samsung Display predicts that it will start operating Q1 line in 2021. Considering this schedule, it is expected that it will bring in key equipment and systems by the end of the third quarter at the latest. It is heard that Samsung Display is currently having negotiations on supply price with other companies.
Regarding its purchase of equipment such as ink-jet printing system, a representative for Samsung Display stated that the company cannot disclose any information regarding its customers.
Meanwhile, Samsung Display is planning to invest $11.3 billion (13.1 trillion KRW) in Q1 line until 2025. It is going to convert its Gen-8 LCD production line into a production base for QD displays that are bigger than 65 inches. In order to secure a stable supply network of parts and components, it is planning to continue to strengthen its cooperation with South Korean companies.
Staff Reporter Yoon, Heeseok | pioneer@etnews.com

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