A huge elevator is taking us slowly up to the fourth floor. It was a half-container-sized behemoth, and a dozen people stood inside all looking empty. It was moving slowly, climbing from the second floor to the fourth floor, for two minutes.
We are located in the factory of Longgang, Shenzhen, the company with flexible screens as its main product is so visible in Shenzhen that it can see its shadow as soon as a plane is on board. On a “soft tree” at Bao’an Airport, the flexible screen of the leaves, which is used as a flexible screen in the subtle air flow, swings at an imperceptible magnitude, and all the leaves change color almost simultaneously.
A line of people came out of the elevator, surrounded by dust-free clothing tightly wrapped. Before entering the factory, we have carefully washed hands, blow-dry, put on hair nets, put on protective clothing, dust shoes, and then through the “wind” to enter.
The rise is due to the fact that the factory that is about to welcome us has a very strict requirement for dust density – 0.5 microns per cubic foot of particulate matter is less than 100. In fact, the factory doesn’t always meet humans, and everything here is automated.
This huge elevator exists to carry huge machines. Machines here are generally three or four meters high, and the 1 meter square panels are made in these machines. Cut into a smaller area, these flexible screens will be used in mobile phones, cars, airplanes, and even clothing fabrics, to reach consumers.
Inside the Joyu Factory . . . Joyu Technology
Press several layers of film into 0.01mm
Producing a fully flexible screen is a bit like making a sandwich. Put a substrate at the bottom, then put a thin-film circuit, the excess part in accordance with the design plot etching off, and then put on the red, green, blue three colors of light-emitting diodes, and finally cover a layer of film, cut into the desired size.
Of course, this is only the main process in the flexible screen manufacturing process. The engineers of Joyu Technology told us that the production of a qualified flexible screen requires cleaning, etching, cleaning, steaming, packaging, cutting and so on, and in vacuum, strong acid, special lighting and other environment sand and repeated processing, and finally produce a thickness of only 0.01mm of fully flexible screen.
This screen is called a fully flexible screen, as the name suggests, the entire screen can be bent at will, even if the screen curled into the index finger thickness of the cylinder, can still be used normally, will not leave any creases.
0.01mm Flexible Screen . . . Joyu Technology
On current mass-produced folding-screen phones, you won’t see the original look of a flexible screen. To cope with the consumer electronics scene, this thin, flexible screen needs to be combined with a drive IC and touch module to form a touch-resistant, crash-resistant phone screen. Therefore, in the eyes of the vast number of consumers, it seems that only responsible for folding part is flexible, the rest is rigid. But in fact, the entire screen is soft and bendable.
In the manufacturing process, the flexible screen and the rigid screen on the ordinary touch screen phone are very different, the key point is that in the case of any bend, also need to maintain the normal use of circuits and light-emitting diodes. In another building outside the factory, the flexible screens sampled as test samples are being tested in high temperatures, stretching, bending, and salt-fog environments. Long-term testing in a variety of extreme environments guarantees the stability of a fully flexible screen.
Find that nail.
The company’s flexible screen factory is currently investing 11 billion yuan, which is not a “big deal” in the industry, according to the company. According to a July 2019 report by Southwest Securities, Huaxing Optoelectronics has invested 81.5 billion yuan in flexible screen production lines, while Beijing Oriental has invested 208 billion yuan. Overseas, Samsung, JDI, Sharp and so on have also vigorously layout flexible screen.
Each display technology company invested heavily in flexible screen factories, firepower all open to increase production capacity. But on the demand side, things are not so hot.
For the whole of 2019, less than 1 million folding-screen phones were shipped worldwide, a figure that represents only one-third of BOE’s annual production capacity, according to Research by StrategyAnalytics. In today’s flexible screen commercial scenario, mobile phones dominate, accounting for about 80%.
While a fold-screen phone is a “new species” emerging from the sky, it is uncertain whether it will sweep the globe like a touch-screen phone. First of all, “foldable” is not the need for mobile phones, and when the price can be reduced to the level that ordinary consumers are willing to accept, are factors affecting the direction of the market.
The fully flexible screen, as a hammer for the next era, is in urgent need of finding the nail that belongs to it, in addition to the phone.
Juyu has made a lot of attempts to expand the application. In the exhibition hall of the Yuyu Shenzhen factory, there are some ideas that are beginning to hit the ground. Among them are the luxury brands in line with the embedded flexible screen clothes and leather bags, but also cars, elevator scene under the curved screen, as well as flexible screen made of electronic brand name.
Juyu Car Surface Screen . . . Joyu Technology
Among the many attempts, car, airplane and other ride scenes may be the next exit of a fully flexible screen. For vehicles, there is a natural need for screen weight and post-impact safety, and it is also the most motivated to try new technologies. In this area, The company has now reached cooperation with Airbus, Ferrari and other brands. Because of the long product development cycle of car manufacturers and aircraft manufacturers, perhaps the next generation of products will be available, a fully flexible screen will be able to enter our lives in a gesture other than mobile phones.