UBI Research says that as OLED makers are diverting all efforts into flexible OLED production, thin film encapsulation (TFE) is gaining in popularity. Between 2017 and 2021, TFE will be applied to about 70% of all OLED panels in production. The OLED encapsulation equipment market will generate $11 billion in sales.
TFE encapsulation started out as a complex technology that required 11 layers and was slow and expensive. Recent advances allowed OLED makers to reduce the number of layers to just 3 and increase productivity and yields and so lower the production costs. Some film OLED makers opted for hybrid encapsulation (which uses a barrier film) but TFE seems to have become the technology of choice.
TFE uses a combination of organic material deposition (mostly done using ink-jet printing) and in-organic material deposition which is mostly done with PECVD (which is also used in hybrid encapsulation). UBI sees PECVD equipment taking the large majority of the encapsulation equipment market between 2017-2021, generating $6.8 billion in sales. Interestingly some earlier reports suggested that both Samsung and LG are aiming to switch from PECVD to ALD for their in-organic encapsulation process.