BOE of China’s mask tensor orders are expected to create competition between domestic companies. It is expected to be intense as the company that receives orders this time is likely to continue supplying BOE’s new plants.
According to the industry on the 9th, the mask tensor orders for B12, the third flexible OLED plant of Chinese display maker BOE that started being constructed in November, is likely to be decided in the second quarter of this year.
Several industry officials said, "It seems that the supply contracts will be finalized in the second and third quarter for front-end process equipment such as deposition and laser crystallization (ELA), and other equipment such as logistics systems will be decided at the end of this year, which is one quarter after the first decision is to be made.”
For B12 mask tensor orders, KPS Corp. and Hansong Neotech. KPS Corp., two domestic display equipment companies, will compete with each other. KPS Corp. had supplied mask tensors to BOE's second flexible OLED plant B11, which is scheduled to start operations this year.
An official of KPS said that it will be "from BO11's full-fledged OLED line B11." The industry thinks that the products mass-produced at B11 will be the first ones to be supplied to Apple if BOE starts to supply Apple.
The mask tensors for BOE's first flexible OLED plant, B7, were supplied by Hansong Neotech. An official of Hansong Neotech said, "We were selected as 'Best Supplier of 2018' by BOE for contributing to the increase of B7 plant's yield.” B7 started mass production at the end of 2017. At a recent investor briefing, BOE said, "We are in the process of raising the production line (yield)."
As each company has supplied mask tensors in turn, it is expected that this B12 mask tensor supply will lead to the supply for BOE's fourth flexible OLED plant, B15. BOE announced its B15 investment plan last December.
A mask tensor is a device that attaches a mask (FMM) to a substrate during the OLED deposition process. It attaches and welds tightly so there would be no gap between the substrate and the mask, and cuts off unnecessary parts, and checks whether the mask is attached to the correct position. Through the very fine holes in the mask, organic materials will be filled over to the OLED substrate. It is similar to the print printing principle.
The global mask tensor market is dominated by Korean display equipment makers. KPS Corp. and Hansong Neotech are major players, in addition to HIMS, which was an exclusive supplier for Samsung Display.
A HIMS official said, "Our equipment price is much higher than other companies and the performance is unparalleled. We are doing business a lot with companies other than BOE.” The company has been supplying mask tensors to AUO, a Taiwanese display maker, for its new flexible OLED pilot line.