Merck Invests EUR 30M in New OLED Production Plant in Germany

Merck, a leading company for innovative, top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials, laid the cornerstone for a new OLED materials production plant in Darmstadt today. Production of high-purity OLED materials for use in state-of-the-art displays and lighting systems is scheduled to start in the approximately 2,000 square meter building in July 2016. With the investment, which amounts to around EUR 30 million (US$ 33.78 million), Merck is strengthening its position in the OLED business. Merck aims to be a leading supplier of OLED materials by 2018. The company wishes to make use of its experience in the liquid crystals business, where it is the global leader.

OLEDs are semiconducting organic materials which emit light and luminesce when electric voltage is applied. They are particularly suited for applications in the very latest generation of displays and lighting because they provide brilliant colors and sharp images from any viewing angle. In addition, they have a long lifespan and are highly energy-efficient.

“The new OLED production plant is one of the largest single investments that Merck has made at the Darmstadt site in recent years. It reflects the absolute highest technical standards,” said Bernd Reckmann, Member of the Executive Board of Merck. The cornerstone laying ceremony was also attended by Stefan Grüttner, Minister of Labor of the German federal state of Hesse, and Jochen Partsch, mayor of the city of Darmstadt. “OLED technology has the potential to become the technology of the future for displays and lighting. We invested significant sums in this technology at an early stage. The new production plant is thus another important link in this chain,” Reckmann added.

With around 100 guests attending the cornerstone laying ceremony, Reckmann took a look at the future of OLED technology. Merck is cooperating with the Japanese printing technology specialist Seiko Epson on printable displays for OLED screens. These materials stand out due to their tremendous innovative potential in smartphone, tablets and televisions. Flexible or rollable screens are also possible for private consumers in the form of ultra-thin, energy-saving displays for portable devices or large video walls that are produced with OLEDs using thin-film technology. The automotive industry as well as the fields of medicine and education are also opening up new possibilities for the materials.

“The fact that Merck is still investing and thus creating new jobs at the location where the company was founded nearly 350 years ago is good sign for the region,” said Stefan Grüttner, Minister of Labor of the state of Hesse. “Merck is a substantial force behind the large number of innovative and strong companies in Hesse.”

“As a research-based company, Merck is a pillar of Darmstadt, the city of science,” said Jochen Partsch, mayor of Darmstadt. “Both the new OLED production plant and generally the current investments in the expansion of the global headquarters of a major company here in Darmstadt are a welcome sign of commitment to this location.”

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