Which line do you use to make money, Canon has to enter new fields again.

According to Nikkei Report , the chairman of Canon said in an interview that the application of OLED panels in mobile phones and TVs is becoming more and more common, and Canon is preparing to start producing materials for next-generation flexible displays to Nurture new business areas.

Medical, daily chemical, impact, manufacturing equipment, Canon’s business covers all corners of the manufacturing industry.

The details of the current production and the date of production have not yet been announced. Canon’s R & D team and its subsidiary Fukui Materials will take the lead in production. This material may be used in Canon’s own OLED screens.

The background of this decision is that Canon ’s net profit in 2019 plummeted by 51%, to its lowest level in ten years, and in the hot OLED industry, Canon has always been one of the bosses behind it.

Tokki, Canon’s knife in the OLED industry

If it is strictly divided, Samsung and BOE are equivalent to the midstream of the OLED industry chain. Electronic consumer products such as mobile phones are downstream, while upstream, they are OLED materials and equipment vendors.

From the Institute of Foresight Industry

The manufacturing process of OLED can be summarized into three steps, pixel array, evaporation, packaging test, and the second part is the core part of OLED manufacturing, OLThe importance of the ED evaporation machine is equivalent to the lithography machine in chip manufacturing. It is the core of the entire process, which determines the screen’s production capacity and yield.

Tokki, a subsidiary of Canon, is a leader in the field of OLED evaporation.

Tokki has been researching OLED equipment since 1993. At present, the current production capacity of its vapor deposition machine is about 12 units, and the price of one machine is about 100 million US dollars. Both productivity and accuracy lead, Tokki is currently the only manufacturer capable of controlling errors within 5 microns.

Evaporation machine is not a single machine in the strict sense, but a production line with a length of 100 meters. Organic materials are evaporated and the red, green and blue pixels are stored on the screen surface.

A sixth-generation OLED production line requires 3 to 4 evaporation machines, and Tokki’s products have been in short supply. In 2017 and earlier, Tokki’s production capacity was only 6 units, completely covered by Samsung. In 2017, Tokki’s production capacity was increased to 9 units, and the excess capacity was digested by LGD and BOE. It is not an exaggeration to say that without these two evaporation machines, the production lines of these two companies are still difficult to put into operation smoothly.

Interestingly, Tokki currently only has more than 300 employees, and the company is not in the bustling Tokyo or Osaka, but in the city of Mitsufu, in the north-north port city on the island of Honshu, and is known as a rural enterprise. That’s itCompanies have the absolute right to speak of OLED supply.

The pattern of the evaporation field is one super strong, one super is Tokki, and the strong ones are Sunic System, YAS, SFA (supported by Samsung), Vactec, ULVAC of Japan, etc. It is also one of them. Domestic manufacturers are mainly concentrated in the middle and lower reaches, as well as the upstream packaging and testing parts. There is no condition for equipment and materials.

Thanks to Tokki’s continuous accumulation in this field, Canon has played a key role in the OLED screen industry. Positioning high-end (especially small-sized) OLED screens can hardly bypass Tokki’s distillation process.

Even though I have eaten maggots on a production lithography machine, the evaporation machine has allowed Canon to taste the sweetness. Canon, which already has sufficient voice on the device, has begun to march into the field of materials.

I need all the materials and equipment

As mentioned above, another key upstream of OLEDs is materials, which is the basis for the self-emission of OLED screens. Materials account for about 20% to 30% of the cost of the entire OLED panel.

The report shows that Canon is targeting thermal-to-delayed fluorescent material (TADF) technology. Compared with previous fluorescent and phosphorescent materials, TADF has higher efficiency and longer service life, and is considered as the next-generation display material.

Unlike the real-world device monopolized by Japan and South Korea, competition in the OLED material market is more intense.

According to different molecular materials, OLED materials are divided into molecular materials, polymer materials and rare-earth light-emitting materials. Small molecules are the main force of current small and medium-sized OLED screens. The main suppliers are Eastman Kodak (KODK-US) and the United States. Universal (4991-TW) Display Technology Corporation (UDC), Japan Idemitsu Kosan, Mitsui Chemicals, etc. Among them, Idemitsu Kosan has the largest share in this field and is the main supplier of major manufacturers such as Samsung and LGD.

According to a survey by Japan’s TPC Marketing Research, the size of the OLED material market in 2017 was approximately 11.6 billion yuan, and it is expected to grow 1.3 times in 2018. It is expected to grow close to multiples in 2020, and the market size will expand to 23 billion yuan.

Canon’s entry into this field is logical. Its 2019 annual report shows that sales of FPD exposure equipment and OLED display manufacturing equipment have decreased compared to last year. The “industrial equipment and other product business areas” to which this business belongs, last year The annual turnover decreased by 12.5% ​​year-on-year to 737.9 billion yen, and Canon’s goal is to increase revenue from new business areas from 25% of the group’s total revenue to more than 50% by mid-2020.

The situation at present is that OLED is obviously the hottest display technology right now. It is absolutely mainstream on mobile phones and high-end standard on TVs. Smart watches, bracelets and other products also use OLED almost across the board. Midstream is quite hot. In the past, Samsung was a dominant player in the production of OLEDs. However, with the gradual rise of BOE, LGD and other manufacturers, the competition situation of OLEDs has become more delicate. In this case, the upstream supply chain can easily become a competition among various companies. Xiang Xiang, entered the game at this time, do not worry about not having to sell.

With Tokki’s experience, Canon’s understanding of the OLED market is definitely in place. At present, the most critical thing is how the technical level is and how to ensure production capacity and yield.

Horizontal development is the consistent style of Japanese companies. Canon also makes toothpaste and cameras, Yamaha makes motorcycles and pianos, and Canon clearly has a deep accumulation in the OLED market. Today, Tokki’s production capacity continues to increase and can be expanded. New field, who can master the TADF technology mass production earlier, who can occupy the opportunity of OLED material market, Canon does not want to miss.

Samsung Display’s future layout is mainly focused on QD-LED and Micro LED, while Samsung’s QD production line is still supplied by Conon Tokki’s vapor deposition machine. Prior to the support of the Korean government’s policy, Samsung started Supporting local material suppliers, the Japan-South Korea trade war has caused South Korea to get stuck in upstream material imports. Now Canon is also in the game, and the Japan-South Korea screen battle will continue.