EMD Performance Materials produces FPD photoresist (light-sensitive material) for FPDs and photoresist, ancillaries and silicon chemistry based products for other industries.
Demand in display materials is being driven by three primary trends: the economic and demographic shifts in emerging markets, technological advancements, and new business models for technology companies.
The general move towards screens with higher resolution, brightness and frame-refresh rates is leading to further penetration of low temperature poly-silicon (“LTPS”) technology for small to medium-sized panels, and indium gallium zinc oxide (“IGZO”) technology for medium to large panels. Both technologies require advanced photoresists and more layers, increasing the consumption of photoresist for a given area of panel. The launch of ultra-high definition television also created demand for silicon-based chemicals used in planarisation and dielectric insulation applications. These technological advances will be beneficial for technically strong companies such as EMD Performance Materials, as they will potentially widen the gap with lower-tech suppliers.
Another important driver of display materials demand is the development of premium devices which can be positioned above the mass market. These devices may feature high resolution, 3D, internet integration, touch panels, thin form factors, low weights, low energy consumption and panels which are non-breakable or even flexible. Organic LED (“OLED”) technology will have a part to play in this.
However, consumers’ willingness to pay for these devices will be key, so panel makers will continue to tightly control their costs and the timely introduction of new devices by carefully watching the market. In the meantime, they will work to control yield, as yield loss tends to be a significant cost for them. The introduction of LTPS and IGZO technologies is likely to create a capacity squeeze, encouraging manufacturers to further reduce yield losses. EMD Performance Materials is set to benefit from this trend, with our portfolio of advanced materials and strong customer and technical service.
New business models for technology companies
Technology companies are increasingly competing with each other by producing their own devices. Major players such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, which have traditionally provided content and services, have all entered this arena. In addition, semiconductor makers such as Intel are starting to push directly into the device market.
The existing panel makers who form EMD Performance Materials’ customer base will continue to fabricate the devices, benefiting from a furry of exciting products. This is expected to revive consumer demand in other wise largely saturated markets.