DNP to Invest Six Billion Yen in Evaporation Mask Plant Targeting Organic EL Panels

Aims to boost production capacity three times existing levels and further expand leading global share

May19,2016

Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP) will engage in ongoing plant investment, amounting to six billion yen by 2020, to add an evaporation mask (metal mask) production line used in the manufacture of organic EL displays at the Mihara Plant in Hiroshima. This move will expand production capacity by three times present levels, and is designed to respond to growing markets. In addition to boosting production capacity, the Company is also looking to respond to the shift towards higher definition displays, and will leverage the overwhelming global share that it enjoys in metal masks targeting smartphones to further expand production.

[Background]

Organic EL displays are based on a structure, whereby, the organic molecular layer that emits light is sandwiched between electrodes. This helps limit the number of parts, allowing for the creation of a low profile. And, as the display is also resilient in the face of bending or rolling, it has made organic EL the focus of next-generation displays. These displays also exhibit superior contrast features, and in recent years have been increasingly adopted in a variety of uses, beginning with televisions and smartphones. On the back of this development, the market for organic EL panels is expected to expand by approximately three times by 2020, compared to 2015 levels, to 682 million panels per annum, according to figures from HIS Technology.

Organic EL displays project bright full-color images by passing electricity through the organic materials that form the three primary light colors - Red, Green and Blue (RGB) and thus causing them to emit light. The most widely used method for attaching the organic materials to glass and/or plastic substrates, is to use a metal mask, which is a thin metallic plate with micro through-holes precisely positioned on its surface. Then the organic materials are evaporated and sprayed through the micro holes using equipment maintained in a vacuum state.

DNP developed metal masks in 2001, capitalizing on original photolithography and etching technologies, and currently maintains a high market share for products targeting smartphones. Looking ahead, organic EL panel makers are aggressively increasing plant investment in line with sharply growing markets. And in order to respond to this demand, DNP will also engage in ongoing plant investment, amounting to six billion yen by 2020, expanding production capacity by three times present levels.

[Evaporation Mask (Metal Mask) Features]  

  • Metal masks are metallic parts containing micro holes used when attaching the RGB organic EL light emitting materials to the substrate. In line with the shift to higher definition and large screen displays, the precise attachment of the RGB organic materials is important in order to project bright images. Mask-based evaporation processes are also considered to be a difficult part of the organic EL panel production process, requiring high level precision. DNP-brand metal masks have developed a high reputation in the market for high quality and high precision.
  • DNP brand metal masks capitalize on DNP's original photolithography and etching technologies, and are capable of responding to high resolution definitions, in excess of 500ppi1, equivalent to Wide Quad High Definition (WQHD)2.
  • DNP maintains numerous patents and a broad-based know-how related to metal mask materials, manufacturing methods and products, along with stable supply and superior development capabilities.

[Looking Ahead]

In addition to engaging in the stable supply of high precision metal masks to organic EL panel makers, DNP will also forge ahead with the development of products compatible with high resolution definitions, in excess of 1000ppi. And by maintaining appropriate production capacity in line with market expansion, and supplying products in a stable manner, the Company aims for sales of 30 billion yen in 2020.

 
1:  ppi: Pixel per inch
2: WQHD: A 2560 X 1140 pixel resolution.
* Product prices, specification and service contents mentioned in this news release are current as of the date of publication. They may be changed at any time without notice.