Merck to Use Epson Ink Technology to Manufacture Ink for Large OLED Displays

Merck and Seiko Epson Corporation today announced a cooperation and licensing agreement for inkjet inks used in the manufacture of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays. According to the agreement, Epson will supply Merck with ink technology that dissolves Merck’s OLED materials so that they can be used for the production of printable displays used in OLED television screens. Financial terms of the business agreement were not disclosed.

The use of inkjet technology for printing OLED displays requires a combination of long-lasting OLED materials and ink technology for firing (printing) the OLED materials both quickly and accurately. The partnership will combine Merck’s capabilities in high-quality, long-lasting OLED materials for inkjet manufacturing with Epson’s expertise in technology that converts OLED materials into ink, and allows this ink to be fired from an inkjet printing device.

“We are excited about our strategic decision to partner with Epson, one of the world’s leading inkjet-printing technology companies,” said Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Executive Board, Merck. “Our printable OLED materials will greatly reduce manufacturing costs. Combining our technologies with Epson will make the mass production of large OLED displays possible, which until now with current technologies has proven to be financially and technically difficult.”

“Inkjet printing of large OLED displays solves many of the productivity issues associated with conventional vapor-deposition techniques,” said Minoru Usui, president of Epson. “Today’s agreement is another example of how Epson’s unique Micro Piezo inkjet technology can be used to improve on traditional manufacturing processes. And Merck, with its deep technical knowledge in the display industry, is an ideal partner for this new application.”

Merck and Epson will also continue their close cooperation to create a strong ink-formulation roadmap in order for Merck to commercialize and address current and future requirements of the OLED TV industry, including the creation of industry-standard inks for manufacturing OLED TVs using inkjet technology.

Through this cooperation with Epson, Merck is now active in all relevant current and future TV technologies. According to market researchers*, OLED TVs will be the second biggest TV technology after liquid crystal display (LCD) TV. It is forecasted that by 2017, LCD TVs will have a 93% market share of all TVs sold and OLED TVs will fetch the remaining 7%. The increase of OLED’s market share will then continue.

* Source: DisplaySearch, 2012 / Q3

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