ITRI Announces Spin-Off FlexUP Technologies Corp.

ITRI (Industrial Technology Research Institute) from South Korea says it has licensed a new flexible display and backplane technology to start-up company FlexUP Technologies Corp. ITRI developed this new flexible backplane technology in support of flexible display development.

ITRI described the FlexUP Technolgy in a 2011 paper submitted to the SID Information Display ( ITRI has been working on this technology since then and we assume that it now feels that the technology is ready to enter manufacturing. It is not clear what current specification it can reach, but the announcement from ITRI mentions that, ‘The product is expected to have broad applications in epaper, touch panel, digital X-ray and OLED lighting fields’. Interestingly, it left the field of OLED display technology out of the announcement. It is not clear if this means that the licence excludes these fields or if ITRI thinks that the technology is not capable of supporting OLED technology for display applications.

This licence announcement comes after another ITRI article from 2013, when it announced a co-operation with Kaneka Corporation for the development of an IGZO TFT array on a polyimide substrate that allows for the manufacturing of active matrix back planes on a high transparent PI film with low CTE. The licence announcement does not mention the TFT array. ITRI states that the technology is aimed at providing substrate materials for flexible and more durable devices. It also expects that the spin off will attract investment in the order of NT$1 billion ($32 million).

Display Daily Comments

On a basic level, flexible displays will require a flexible substrate material. Many materials have been used in the development of flexible displays, including metal, glass and a variety of plastic substrates. The key issue with the use of plastic substrates in combination with OLED display technology, as well as other organic electronic materials, is their susceptibility to water. (NH)