LG Chem develops a foldable cover window technology for foldable IT devices that is as hard as glass but folding areas are as flexible as plastic.
LG Chem develops new cover window technologies that can be used for foldable IT displays using new materials and accumulated coating technologies. The device called ‘Real Folding Window’ is as hard as glass, and as flexible as plastic, according to LG Chem.
Cover windows are core materials located on the outermost part of IT devices to protect the display from impact, while delivering clear images. Its durability and transmittance enable the curved characteristics to be able to fold flexibly.
A speaker from LG Chem said, “Unlike existing polyimide films and tempered glass-type materials, the cover window that applied LG Chem’s new coating technologies will maximise flexibility, while also providing optimised solutions for foldable phones such as making improvements to chronic issues like fold impressions on the connecting part of the screen.”
The ‘Real Folding Window’ that LG Chem developed is coated with a new material at a thickness of a few dozen micrometers (㎛) on both sides of PET film, which is a type of thin plastic, to enhance heat-resistance and mechanical properties of plastic materials. It is thinner compared to existing tempered glass and has the same hardness, but no cracking on the screen. LG Chem also made significant improvements to the fold lines that occur on the folding parts of the screen.
The price competitiveness is superior compared to existing polyimide film and due to its outstanding flexibility. LG Chem claims that durability is still maintained even when folding more than 200,000 times.
While currently commercialised cover windows are optimised for in-folding methods in which the screen folds inwards, LG Chem’s ‘real folding window’ has the advantage that it can also be used for out-folding methods where the screen folds outwards.
LG Chem is also developing technologies to produce a thin ‘Real Folding Window’ with only coating without the PET films.
Coating-method products without PET films are expected to be applied in foldable phones and rollable IT devices, and have to be very thin.
LG Chem plans to procure mass production abilities by 2022 and begin full-scale sales of the product from 2023.
Chang Do Ki, vice president and division leader, IT Materials Division, Advanced Materials said, “Through the Real Folding Window that we newly developed, we were able to take a step closer to resolving the pain points of customers, and we have already received proposals for joint projects from multiple clients.”
He added, “We will strengthen our partnerships with leading companies of the smartphone industry and expand our market starting with mobiles before going on to new foldable applications such as laptops and tablets.”
Meanwhile, according to the global market survey company, Omdia, the foldable phone market is expected to grow from 3.5 million units in 2020 to 50 million by 2026.
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