Konica Minolta Organic EL Light Panel for Large Scale Production

Recently, Konica Minolta announced the construction of an organic EL light-emitting panel (OLED panel) factory for lighting applications. Japanese manufacturers Pioneer and Mitsubishi Chemical also plan to achieve mass production of organic EL light-emitting panels in the near future.

Organic EL lighting is different from traditional lighting in that it emits light close to natural light, is light in size and generates less heat. Organic EL lighting can be directly embedded in furniture, mirrors and walls, and become part of building materials, thus having functions that traditional lighting cannot achieve.

Konica Minolta invested about 10 billion yen to build a factory that produces millions of organic EL panels per month in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, Chuo-ku. President Matsuzaki Masahiro emphasized that it will develop organic EL light sources for general commercial and home lighting. It plans to mass-produce this fall and sell organic EL light sources to lighting equipment manufacturers. Konica Minolta's organic EL lighting panel is a white light panel with a length and width of 150x60mm, a thickness of 0.35mm and a weight of 5g, and a length and width of 50x30mm and a thickness of 0.29mm. With a 0.6g weightable panel, the ultra-thin and flexible nature of the organic EL panel is ideal for aircraft and automotive interior lighting.

Also optimistic about the application market prospects of organic EL lighting panels, Pioneer and Mitsubishi Chemical will jointly produce low-cost organic EL light-emitting panels in Yamagata Prefecture, and strive to reduce the price of products to one-tenth of the original products. It is expected to be in the second half of 2014. It can realize the production capacity of 40,000 pieces per month with a square panel of 10 square centimeters.

The Yonezawa Plant in Yamagata Prefecture, which was invested by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, has already started producing organic EL illuminating panels for 11 years, but only has a monthly production capacity of 5,000. In contrast, Konica Minolta's monthly capacity of one million pieces is currently the largest in the industry, and it is expected that the competition for mass production will become more and more fierce.

According to Philips Electronics Japan, the price of organic EL panels sold to lighting manufacturers in February was 20,000 yen. Toshiba Lighting has been selling lamps containing organic EL light sources since April, with a pre-sale price of 30,000 yen. With the popularity of mass production of organic EL light-emitting panels, the distance between organic EL lighting and consumers will be closer.

According to Fuji Economic Analysis, the market size of organic EL lighting in Japan in 2012 was 1.1 billion yen, and will exceed 100 billion yen in 20 years. The replacement of fluorescent lamps and LED lighting will gradually be realized. However, the LED lighting and organic EL lighting, which are mainly concentrated in the price range of 5,000 yen, are very expensive because they are subject to technical expertise and production facilities. Mass production is the key to further reducing costs and achieving universal adoption.

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