Phil Optics is currently expanding the overall size of its battery business, in order to reduce the impact of the decline in investment for the display business, which used to be its cash cow.
On the 23rd, Phil Optics set a goal of raising its battery equipment sales to more than 50% next year in order to make up for the deterioration of the display industry. As of last year, display equipment accounted for 90.7% of total sales (279.7 billion KRW), while battery equipment was only 3.1%. However, the situation has changed this year as investments available to domestic display panel companies has decreased. The percentage of display equipment dropped to 37.4% of sales (45.4 billion KRW). Instead, the proportion of battery equipment accounted for 34.4% of the total.
An official from Phil Optics said, "Due to the decline in the display industry and delay of Samsung Display’s investment, decrease in orders made given an impact till this year,” and ”the proportion of the battery business is expected to be over 50% next year. Samsung SDI is developing the new battery process. Once the equipment is in place, it will bring steady sales. For next three to four years.
"There are two types of battery equipment: notching for the medium and large-sized and assembly. Notching, co-developed with Samsung SDI, is the method which utilizes lasers to cut the anode and cathode materials. This is done in the Roll to Roll(R2R) process by using infrared(IR) wavelength fiber lasers. The assembly equipment is for assembling square-shaped batteries used by Samsung SDI. It is used for welding the lid after inserting the cell into the metal can.
R&D manpower has been increased in preparation for battery business. In September, Kim Gwang-il, former head of Samsung SDI Center for Production and Technology(executive director) was appointed to be the general president of business division. Even if there is a fixed cost burden, they plan to respond to the situation in which internal employees are highly skilled by next year.
Based on optical technology, they also enter the new equipment market such as 3D inspection machine and film laminator. The 3D inspection machines aimed at the semiconductor equipment market rather than the display. They also established a local subsidiary for making inroads in the US market. The film laminator for edge display production has been dominated by Toptec, but it has received few orders due to allegations that it was trying to leak related technology to China. SFA Engineering, APsystem, and Semes are competing over this position, including Phil Optics.
An industry observer said, "Samsung Electronics has supplied OLED laser application equipment to the Samsung Display A3 line, and sales have been growing rapidly. However, the decline in investment will bring large damages,” and “because they’ve developed other display devices jointly or have many competitors, they have to focus on battery business.”