The pilot line is will establish manufacturing technology for mass-production, and will enable Konica Minolta to sell OLED products on a limited basis.
Construction will begin in the middle of November, 2009 and is expected to be complete by autumn 2010. The total investment will be 3.5 billion yen (around $39 million), and the product will be commercialized within the fiscal year 2010.
In March 2007, Konica Minolta signed a strategic alliance agreement with US-based General Electric Company to accelerate the development of OLED lighting, with the aim of commercialization within fiscal year 2010.
Prior to the alliance, in June 2006, Konica Minolta succeeded in developing a white OLED device with a world-record power efficiency of 64 lumens per watt at 1000 candela per square meter, while having practical light emission level of approximately 10,000 hours - a brightness suitable for lighting applications.
Technologies such as material, coating, multi-layer design, and optical design technologies, nurtured through the development of photographic film and optical lens, have been fully adopted in the development of the OLED lighting.
For the pilot line, Konica Minolta designed and developed its own roll-to-roll coating method to manufacture flexible plastic-base OLED lighting. This method will serve as the key to accomplishing cost advantage when the OLED lighting flourishes in the future.
OLED lighting is attracting attention as the next generation lighting having such unprecedented features as flexible, thin, light weight, and sheet form. In addition, it features high energy efficiency, relatively low temperature, and ease of recycling since it is mercury-free unlike fluorescent lightings. Furthermore, OLED lighting technology is mild to eyes and friendly to people, since it is free of ultra-violet rays and is sheet form.
Konica Minolta says that it considers OLED lighting as one of the most promising energy and environmental conscious new businesses, where the company can take full advantage of its core technologies.