SKC Kolon PI’s polyimide (PI) varnish line has been put into test operation.
On 12th, an SKC Kolon PI official said, “We have started trial operations. If the customer is confirmed, we will start mass production.”
PI Varnish is a material required to manufacture flexible organic light emitting diodes (OLED). When the PI varnish in a liquid state solidifies, it becomes a PI substrate. In addition to flexible OLED panel substrates, it can be used in secondary batteries, and the demand is expected to expand in the future. SKC Kolon PI invested 12 billion won last year to build the PI varnish production line.
Yoon-Sang Lee, a researcher at Kyobo Securities, explained, “Global display companies are expanding their flexible OLED investments, and the demand for PI varnishes will skyrocket in the future due to the imminent launch of smartphones using foldable OLEDs.”
The key issue is securing customers. Samsung Display will procure PI varnish through SU Materials, a joint venture formed with Ube Industries, Japan. LG Display has procured PI from Kaneka Corporation of Japan. LG Chem recently developed and supplied PI varnish samples to supply LG Display. Experts have explained that it is not easy to break such special relationships and close the supply deal. For this reason, it is expected that SKC Kolon PI is seeking Chinese display customers.
According to Researcher Min-Woo Joo of Mertiz Securities, the PI varnish sales of SKC Kolon PI this year are estimated at 12.1 billion won, 4% of its total sales (291.1 billion won). It is unlikely to make a significant contribution to the company’s overall profits as it has not entered the mass production stage yet.
SKC Kolon PI is the world’s largest PI film maker. SKC and Kolon Industries each invested 50% into the company, which was established in 2008. The company makes flexible printed circuit boards (FPCB) for smartphone and PI films for heat dissipation sheets. PI film sales account for 99% of its total sales. The portion of sales is 50% for FPCB and 35% for heat dissipation sheets. The sales and operating profit are estimated at 26.2bn won and 65.6bn won, respectively. The company’s head office is located in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province. It was listed on the KOSDAQ in 2014.