South Korean tech news site The Elec reported last week that the company has delayed its plans, which initially envisioned production starting at sometime between 2022 and 2023, until 2025 or 2026. However, though production has nominally been set back for three years, the sources said it is in fact an indefinite delay, as there’s no fixed timeline on when production might begin.
The revelation comes after LG Display said in January it was holding off from making any further investments in its new facility, which has been dubbed “P10”. At the time, LG Display said it would likely stop investing in P10 until 2023. That decision came about a month after LG Display informed its equipment suppliers that it expects a long delay in the start of production at the new plant.
LG Display had originally planned to begin manufacturing OLED panels at P10 by 2022, with an output of around 30,000 substrates per month. That would have risen to 45,000 substrates a month by early 2023. The company has already purchased and installed sone of the necessary chemical vapor deposition equipment required to begin production. That equipment, which was supplied by U.S. firm Applied Materials and South Korea’s Jusung Engineering, was installed at the factory in May 2019, The Elec said.
But LG Display has held off on installing other equipment that’s necessary to begin production. For example, it plans to buy OLED deposition equipment from a South Korean firm called YAS, but that company has yet to receive the order from LG even though it was due to be supplied in February of this year.
The delay in production likely stems from the reduced demand for large-sized OLED panels, which has resulted from the coronavirus pandemic and the consequent economic turmoil it has caused. Production at LG’s current 8.5 Gen plant in Guangzhou, China, has also been delayed due to the pandemic and other issues, and has lowered its operation rate. The Elec said production at Guangzhou will need to recover first in order for LG to restart investments at the P10 factory.
LG Display is set to make a public announcement about its plans for the P10 factory when it delivers its second quarter financial results later this month.