Industry News November/December 2017 Issue 6

By Jenny Donelan

United Technologies to Acquire Rockwell Collins for $30 Billion

Aircraft-parts suppliers United Technologies Corp. (UTC) and Rockwell Collins recently announced that UTC will acquire Rockwell Collins for $30 billion, or $140.00 per share in cash and UTC stock.1 According to Bloomberg Technology, the combination of Boeing’s second-largest supplier (UTC) with its ninth (Rockwell Collins) should give the new entity, Collins Aerospace Systems, considerable clout in negotiating with Boeing as well as with other customers, including Airbus SE.2

Bloomberg also noted that the new company will achieve near “one-stop-shop” status in terms of parts. Rockwell Collins is known for its avionic displays, flight controls, and aircraft interiors. Display products for avionics include “head-down” industrial-grade flight-deck displays with full-color-graphics video as well as night vision capability and sunlight compatibility. These displays are used in a majority of the world’s commercial and military aircraft. Rockwell Collins also makes head-up displays used by international military tankers/transports, airlines, and flight-training companies, and it makes helmet-mounted displays for pilots, on-ground military personnel, and simulation and training applications.

UTC makes flight actuators, Pratt & Whitney jet engines, and much more. The deal is expected to close by the third quarter of 2018.



The Phones of Fall

As usual, Apple announced a new line of smartphones in September, including its first-ever OLED-based unit. Samsung and LG had new flagship offerings as well: the Galaxy Note 8 and the LG V30, respectively.

The most talked about of these phones may not end up being the one most bought, owing to its $999 price tag, which breaks new ground in terms of smartphone pricing. The iPhone X (Fig. 1), due to ship around press time, features a 5.8-in. screen with almost no bezel, except for a notch housing sensors, cameras, speakers, etc. at the top of the display. This notch has been variously described as a bug or a feature. Since it is theoretically possible to incorporate the sensors into the bezel, as other manufacturers have done, some reviewers, including The Verge,3 surmise that the notch may be an intentional design meant to replace the circular home button (now gone) in visually differentiating the iPhone from other devices.

Fig. 1:  Apple’s iPhone X features a minimal bezel with a distinctive and/or controversial notch at the top for the phone’s cameras, sensors, and speakers. Image courtesy Apple.

The OLED display, which Apple calls Super Retina HD, has a resolution of 2,436 × 1,125 and provides outstanding imagery. (Since Apple’s OLED panels are produced by Samsung, they should be at least as impressive as those in the Galaxy Note 8 described below.) The phone also features facial ID and Apple’s Animoji application, which allows users to create customized emojis using facial recognition software. There are also a new iOS, wireless charging, and Apple’s all-new A11 bionic chipset.

Along with the iPhone X, Apple introduced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which are LCD-based upgrades of the iPhone 7. The new phones have wireless charging, fast performance, and upgrades to the camera, screen, and speakers. Their starting storage size is 64GB, double that of the iPhone 7. The 4.7-in. iPhone 8 and the 5.5-in. iPhone 8 Plus start at $699 and $799, respectively.

The Galaxy Note 8 (Fig. 2) is another recently released big, beautiful, expensive phone. It arrives amid high expectations, as the comeback device for the well-regarded but ultimately recalled Note 7. (In the wake of the Note 7’s battery problems, Samsung has established a multipoint battery safety check for these devices.) This phone has a 6.3-in. OLED-based, 1,440 × 2,690-pixel “Infinity Display,” 6GB of RAM, two best-in-class rear cameras, and a price tag approximately $50 less than the iPhone X’s.

Fig. 2:  The Galaxy Note 8 comes with the S Pen, which enables freehand drawing, note-taking, highlighting, and more.

LG Electronics began shipping its new LG V30 smartphone to customers in its home country of South Korea in September, with rollouts in America, Europe, and other key markets scheduled throughout fall of 2017.

LG’s engineers fit its 6-in., 18:9, 1440 × 2880 FullVision (OLED) display into a bezel that is 8 mm shorter and 3 mm narrower than the phone’s predecessor (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3:  The LG V30 incorporates LG’s own plastic OLED (P-OLED) touchscreen display.

The V30 is sheathed front and back in tempered glass that curls around its edges. It weighs only 158 grams, which LG claims makes it the lightest smartphone in existence in the 6-inches-and-over category.


LG and Samsung Invest €25 Million in CYNORA

CYNORA, a developer of organic emitting materials for OLED displays based on thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) technology, recently announced that LG Display and Samsung Venture Investment Corp. were investing a combined €25 million in a Series-B financing round to support the German company in the development of a full-color portfolio of organic-emitting materials for AMOLED displays. (This is not the first time both display powerhouses have invested in the same TADF technology; in 2016, both companies, as well as Japan Display/JOLED and several Japanese venture capital funds, participated in a $13.5 million Series A round of funding for TADF developer Kyulux.)4 Going forward with CYNORA, LG and Samsung will establish separate development efforts to assist with CYNORA’s R&D, according to OLED-Info.5

With its TADF technology, CYNORA claims it will be able to commercialize the first high-efficiency blue-emitting material on the market. Blue is currently an elusive and sought-after material among OLED display makers. High-performance blue materials will enable a significant reduction of power consumption and allow higher display resolution.

According to Gildas Sorin, CYNORA’s CEO, these investments validate the importance of his company’s materials to the OLED display industry. Said Sorin in a press statement: “CYNORA will work in close collaboration with LG and Samsung to support their respective activities. The cash injection will also be used to strengthen our worldwide presence as a supplier of high-efficiency emitting materials. We will commercialize our first blue product by the end of 2017, followed by green and red.”(Information Display interviewed CYNORA CMO Andreas Haldi for the November/December 2016 issue.)


LG Invests in OLED Fabs

LG Display is wagering heavily on OLEDs, as underscored by its recent investment of KRW2.8 trillion into a Gen 10.5 (2,940 mm × 3,370 mm) OLED production line at its P10 plant in Paju, Korea. The obvious use for a Gen 10.5 line is OLED-based TVs. The company will also invest KRW5 trillion in a new Gen 6 (1,500 mm × 1,850 mm) plastic OLED (P-OLED) production line in Paju.

According to LG, its Gen 10.5 OLED production line will be the first of its kind in the world. The size of mother glass produced in 10.5-generation production lines is 1.8 times larger than that in Gen 8 generation production lines.

LG does note that it will only begin mass production of OLED TVs after stabilizing the technology for producing extra-large panels and oxide backplanes for the mother glass, and determining which size large-TV panels are most desired in the marketplace. •