Bringing OLCD to existing and new markets
December 07, 2020
The display industry is going through a period of innovation with many companies investing in improving existing or developing new technologies. While LCD is still the dominant technology, OLED displays have been adopted in mainstream small display products such as smartphone and smartwatches. More recently advancements have been made in the development of MicroLED, quantum dot OLED and dual cell LCD technologies which we’ve described in a previous blog.
In the meantime, at FlexEnable we have been working on developing flexible displays which is a growing market in itself. Drawing on more than 15 years of experience in organic electronics, we have developed flexible OLCD to meet the increasing demand for curved and non-rectangular displays across a variety of industries.
Launching a new technology
Launching a new technology is both exciting and challenging. On one hand, innovators are driven by the desire to find a solution to a problem and create something new that can potentially be a game-changer. On the other hand, there are risks and obstacles to overcome in terms of proving the viability of the new technology and getting stakeholders to buy into a longer term vision.
OLCD is sought for both new and existing applications tapping into an $80 billion market currently served by flat glass displays. It enables designers and engineers to create novel solutions to everyday problems, going far beyond the scope of conventional displays. Therefore, we are focused on applications where there is large market opportunity and a clear requirement for glass-free, curved, ultra-thin, lightweight or shatterproof devices.
Existing and new markets for OLCD
OLCD is a complementary technology to flexible OLED. OLCD is needed in applications requiring larger area, lower cost (circa 3 times lower) or longer lifetime (especially where high-brightness is required).
OLCD is designed to serve existing markets for displays as well as opening up new applications. Existing markets that need the attributes of OLCD include notebook and tablets, displays for automotive interiors, TVs and digital signage. OLCD also opens up new market opportunities allowing for curved and shaped displays to be integrated into products where there hasn’t been a display before. For example smart home devices such as smart speakers can now benefit from a wrap-around display adding new functionality, or new uses cases in automotive.
- Notebooks and tablets – Replacing glass displays with OLCD presents few barriers to adoption for notebooks and tablets. OLCD saves over 100g of weight and 0.5mm of display thickness compared to today’s LCD, and brings true bezel-less displays through folded borders. There is strong demand for these benefits from many leading notebook brands.
- Automotive displays – When launching a new technology, it very often means establishing a supply chain from scratch. This is not the case with OLCD as it utilises an already established automotive supply chain. By enabling conformed and shaped displays that fit seamlessly into the car interior, OLCD removes design constraints while meeting the high brightness and reliability requirements for automotive. We have strong partnership with Novares and together have advanced prototypes with customers for a range of new and existing use cases for active surfaces.
- Digital Signage – OLCD is scalable to large sizes and can provide the brightness needed for daylight readability with no reliability trade-off. Digital signage companies require OLCD for both large (75”-100”) and small displays to open up unlimited new surfaces for LCD advertising.
- HDR TVs (Dual Cell) – Dual Cell LCD TVs are a major new trend to allow LCD makers to compete with HDR OLED TVs on contrast. Dual Cell OLCD provides a simpler, thinner and lower cost and lower energy design for HDR LCDs. These benefits of a plastic HDR LCD approach are strongly desired by both TV OEMs and display makers.
- Smart home devices – Many smart speaker designs today are round or cylindrical, but glass displays are flat which limits their incorporation in non-rectangular form factors. By using OLCD, wrap-around screens are possible – they provide a better user experience by enabling new audio-visual use cases without compromising the product design and aesthetics.
It is an exciting time to be working in the field of organic electronics and flexible displays. With an ambitious technology transfer programme and forward-thinking blue-chip clients, we can’t wait to see OLCD in products soon.
If you are interested to find out more, please contact FlexEnable for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org.