Seiko Epson, Merck collaborate for large OLED screen in inkjet technology

October 30, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Chemical company Merck KGaA and Seiko Epson Corp. have signed a collaboration and license agreement regarding inks used in the production of OLED displays. According to the agreement, Merck will obtain liquids used in inkjets that dissolves Merck's OLED materials. This enables customers to manufacture printed OLED displays for the TV market

According to Merck, the utilization of inkjet technology in printing OLED displays requires a combination of durable OLED materials and ink technology for fast and accurate printing processes. The partnership with Epson connects Merck's expertise in high-quality durable OLED materials and Epson's competency in the conversion of OLED materials into printing inks suited for use in inkjet systems.

Epson's technology will enable Merck to significantly reduce its production cost, explained Merck CEO Karl-Ludwig Kley. "The combination of our technology with Epson's will facilitate the volume production of large-size OLED screens. With the technologies currently available this has proved to be difficult in terms of money as well as under the aspect of technology".

Epson president Minoru Uri added that inkjet processes in the production of large OLED screens resolves many of the productivity issues observed with today's vapour deposition processes.

Both companies also announced to continue their close working relationship to formulate printing inks for commercial use by Merck and to meet the current and future demand of the OLED displays industry. Market research predicts that OLED TVs will have the second-largest market share by 2017. The difference in market shares however is huge: DisplaySearch predicts that LCD-based TV screens will have a market share of 93% while OLED screens will have just 7%.