Unlocking greater design freedom with flexible display technology

Desi Aleksandrova, Marketing Communications Manager

August 14, 2017

A flexible display is probably one of the most exciting applications of flexible electronics. Unlike many other components which remain hidden (e.g. driver electronics, batteries, memory), the display is visible and therefore forms an important part of the overall product appearance and aesthetic. Of course, this is linked to its main function which is to show content whether text, images or video. 

Since glass-based displays are rigid and rectangular, product designers may find they have limited options when it comes to incorporating a glass active matrix display into a product. This lack of design freedom may even mean that applications, to which a display would bring benefits (visual or functional, or both), don’t feature one, as integrating a rectangular displays would compromise the overall product design that may be shaped or curved.

But this is about to change.

Flexible OLCD

Product concepts using OLCDWith the development of flexible display technologies, product designers now have an opportunity to unlock a new dimension in creativity. Organic LCD (OLCD) is one such technology that is suitable for applications that require high brightness and long lifetime flexible displays. Moreover OLCD can be scaled to very large display sizes broadening its applications. Because OLCD uses organic transistors on plastic (instead of glass) it also has the benefit of being thin, lightweight and shatterproof.

FlexEnable has recently announced a manufacturing partnership with Truly Semiconductors to make OLCD displays. With the technology moving to production in China, customers will soon have access to a high-volume, high-quality supply chain for flexible displays.

Product scenarios

Companies usually approach us when they are looking for a solution that cannot be achieved with existing display technologies. Conformability or shapability of the display is often a key requirement for the projects we work on.

Based on our experience some common scenarios that drive the need for using a flexible display in a product include:

  • New product design

All companies need to keep innovating in order to stay relevant and competitive on the market. Many of the brands we work with are used to thinking outside the box when designing new products. They use flexible OLCD to differentiate their product and bring value to their customers. 

  • Improving an existing product design

A product may already exist, but the design and engineering teams are looking to upgrade it by improving the design and bringing additional functionality. Imagine an existing home appliance that has a curved shape, but at the same time would benefit from an integrated display that can show information or play videos. Using flexible OLCD which can conform to curved surfaces won’t compromise the design aesthetic, while bringing a new functionality.

  • Large area flexible display solution

Unlike other flexible display technologies, OLCD can be scaled to very large display sizes and manufactured on large Gen size lines, while maintaining a cost advantage. This means that OLCD can be used in a broad range of applications that require low-cost, large area displays such as displays for the vehicle interior or digital signage.

FlexEnable has developed strong partnerships with OEMs in the consumer electronics and automotive sectors to whom we have been shipping flexible display prototypes. If you are looking for flexible displays for your product innovation, get in touch with us at info@flexenable.com.

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