DNP to Install New Large Scale Metal Mask Production Line at Kurosaki Plant
Aims to boost metal mask production capability for large scale OLED
Tokyo, November 10, Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP) will install a new large-scale metal mask production line for the manufacture of Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) displays at the Kurosaki plant situated in Kitakyushu City. The Company will invest approximately JPY20 billion, or about USD140 million in the project, and operations will commence in the first half of 2024.
The new line will produce large-scale metal masks compatible with 8th-generation glass substrates, greatly improving the production efficiency of OLED displays for tablets and notebooks, which are expected to see greater demand in the future. Our Mihara plant in Hiroshima Prefecture is also an important center for the production of metal masks, and by working to back up this plant we aim to strengthen our Business Continuity Plan (BCP) responses.
By establishing the new production line at the Kurosaki Plant, DNP plans to more than double its metal mask production capacity. We aim to further expand our business to tablets and notebooks by taking advantage of our superior position in maintaining the top global market share in the production of metal masks for smartphones.
Kurosaki plant in Kitakyushu City where the new metal mask production line will be installed
OLED displays are based on a structure in which a self-luminous organic molecular layer is sandwiched between electrodes, making it possible to reduce both the profile and power consumption. Also, as OLED displays boast superior contrast it is forecast that the share of OLED mounted in smartphone displays will exceed 50% by 2025.
Going forward, the adoption of OLED displays in IT products, such as tablets and notebooks, will accelerate in line with a shift towards higher value added. And as a result, the market for OLED displays for IT products is expected to expand by approximately 5 times by 2025, compared to current levels. Along with the increase in display size, OLED panel makers have commenced studies of mass production with large 8th generation glass substrates, which exhibit a higher production efficiency than the current 6th generation size.
DNP is ahead of its competitors in building a large-scale metal mask production line that supports 8th generation substrates at our Kurosaki plant. It is planned to improve investment efficiency by utilizing a factory building originally used for the manufacture of color filters for liquid crystal displays of which production ceased.
Metal Mask Initiatives by DNP
A metal mask is a thin metallic component with precisely arranged microscopic apertures used when attaching OLED light-emitting materials of the three primary colors of Red, Green and Blue (RGB) to a substrate. Via a process referred to as Vapor Deposition, in which an organic material is evaporated within a vacuum device and attached to a substrate such as glass or plastic, the metal mask is used to paint each of the RGB colors, individually.
In order to project vivid images on an OLED display, it is important to precisely attach the RGB organic materials. In particular, during the production sequence the deposition process using the metal mask requires high-level technology and know-how, while the mask, itself, requires high dimensional accuracy.
DNP began developing metal masks in 2001 by leveraging its proprietary photolithography and etching technologies, and currently holds the top global market share, mainly in the area targeting smartphones. In addition, we possess a wide range of patents and know-how related to materials, manufacturing methods, and products related to metal masks. Our superior technology development, and ability to deliver high-quality, high-precision products in a secure manner has also developed a firm reputation with OLED panel makers.
Schematic Diagram of Vapor Deposition Process
DNP will establish a new line for the production of large-scale metal masks at the Kurosaki plant and launch operations in the first half of 2024. As a result, we will be in a position to supply a diverse product line-up of high-quality metal masks to OLED panel manufacturers in a stable manner.