Tokyo-based OLED display developer JOLED announced Monday that it has started shipping the first mass produced OLED displays created by ink-jet printing methods.

The company, which was first started with investments from Sony, Panasonic and Japan Display, said its first OLEDIO organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays measure 10- to 32-inches.

They are produced using a long-sought-after ink-jet printing technique instead of the conventional vapor deposition methods with the intention of allowing better yields and greater cost efficiencies.

Some of the JOLED listed RGB OLED screen sizes feature 4K resolution, 1,000,000:1 contrast ratios and peak luminance output of up to 540 nits.

JOELD calls its OLED printing technology TRIPRINT. This process forms an EL layer by printing RGB EL materials.

“While the printing method requires advanced technical capabilities, it is expected to represent a major innovation in OLED display production, because its production process is simple and efficient, and it is adapted for medium- to large-sized OLED production, which is difficult using the conventional RGB vapor deposition method,” according to the company’s announcement.

“JOLED will continue to take on challenges with the aim of establishing a unique position within the OLED industry and fulfilling its mission of realizing a world full of excitement and emotions through its cutting-edge devices,” JOLED said.

The first mass production runs of the medium-sized high-performance panels are intended for use in high-end monitors, medical monitors, and automotive displays, but the company is already working on expanding to television sized panels.

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The technology is expected to bring cost savings to the high-end OLED display technology, which LG has dominated using its WRGB white OLED technology made with vapor deposition production techniques to date.

Research quoted by the OLED Association estimated a 10% cost savings could be realized if ink-jet printing techniques were used with LG Display’s white OLED panel approach, “mostly due to the reduction in the number of organic layers, the higher material utilization (95% vs. 50%) and the lower cost of polymers.”

Looking to develop larger-sized printed RGB-based OLED panels, TCL’s CSoT display panel manufacturing subsidiary has taken an investment position in JOLED.

Last summer, TCL’s CSoT display panel production subsidiary and JOLED formed an alliance to “start joint-development of large-sized OLEDs for TV”. JOLED, which was in needed 20 billion Yen investment capital, announced that CSoT was to make a 10.76% stake in JOLED.

For its part, TCL has said it is exploring a hybrid OLED/QLED technology similar to Samsung’s hybrid QD-OLED technology that uses vacuum deposited fluorescent blue OLED emitters with IJP red and green QD color converters.

JOLED announced the first trial mass-production Gen 5.5 fab for printed OLEDs in 2019, saying that “While mass-producing medium-sized displays, JOLED will prove the adaptability and effectiveness of printing technology to large-sized displays through the joint-development with TCL CSoT.”

To celebrate the mass production milestone Monday, JOLED staged a product shipment ceremony at its Chiba production site.

“We are so delighted to ship our brand-new OLED display OLEDIO from the world’s first printed OLED mass production line, which is full of our technology and expertise,” stated Tadashi Ishibashi, JOLED representative director and president. “I am filled with deep emotion when I reflect upon our journey from the establishment as a R&D company to today, overcoming several challenges, and finally reaching mass production. We will produce high-performance and high-quality OLED displays using the groundbreaking printing method and will provide innovations to the medium-sized category in the world OLED market.”

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By Greg Tarr

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