Merck to Use Epson Ink Technology for Large OLED Displays

Chemical giant Merck and electronics-manufacturer Seiko Epson Corporation recently announced a partnership with regard to ink-jet inks used to make organic light-emitting-diode (OLED) displays.  Under the terms of the agreement, Epson will supply Merck with ink technology that allows a compound to be formed when combined with the Merck OLED materials.  The compound can then be ink-jet printed to deposit the OLED materials in a viable form for display manufacturing.  The inks will be produced for commercial introduction by Merck to the display industry.

his announcement goes to the root of one of several manufacturing obstacles faced by OLED TV manufacturers: deposition (see the article “Large-OLED-TV Makers Face Manufacturing Challenges” in the November/ December 2012 issue of Information Display). “Both the industry and our customers want deposition processes that can enable and facilitate large-sized OLED-display production,” said Eddy Claes, Director of OLED Marketing & Sales in Merck’s Performance Materials Division.

Claes said he was not at liberty to comment on when Merck’s client manufacturers would begin selling products based on the new process.  But he did stress that Merck and Epson have been collaborating “intensively” for the last 3 years to develop the ink formulations. “Fundamental roadblocks in terms of OLED material performance and durability in ink-jet processes have been resolved by both partners,” he said, adding that display-industry companies are now conducting trials using the new ink on large-sized displays.

Merck, a global leader in liquid-crystal materials for LCDs, began investing in OLED technology in 2005 when it acquired Covion’s OLED activities.  Since then, according to Claes, Merck has continued to invest in the development of state-of-the-art materials for the production of OLED displays based on evaporation production processes.

–Jenny Donelan

Konica Minolta Optics Buys

In December 2012, Munich-based Instrument Systems GmbH was sold to Konica Minolta Optics, Inc., of Japan for an undisclosed sum.  Instrument Systems’s subsidiary company Optronik Berlin GmbH was also included in the sale.  Instrument Systems specializes in lighting measurement that will potentially expand the sensing division of the Japanese company, according to an announcement from Konica.  The Instrument Systems brand and its locations in Munich and Berlin will be retained.  Previous owner Richard Distl will also continue as President and CEO.

–Jenny Donelan