Sunic System: Championing Persistence in the OLED Equipment Industry
SEOUL, KOREA – Embodying the next generation technology, self emitting, thin-filmed and flexible OLED resounds as it gradually emerges earning its reputation and taking over the world of display technology. With evaporation of multilayer organic materials as thin as one-three thousandth of a hair strand proving to be a very promising technology, only a handful of Korean companies successfully commercializing OLED. As Samsung dominates the global market with 97% share through its entire line-up of Galaxy using OLED, global display manufacturers in Korea, Japan and Taiwan are even more motivated to plunge into the next generation display market.
OLED Through Time
“In the mid-1990s, despite Sunic System’s rather unpopular stance in Korea, our R&D was the very first in the country to develop an OLED-manufacturing equipment. Although the technology drew very little attention at the time, we never stopped dreaming and incessantly invested in research and development as we envision the future of display. Finally developing a technology equally competitive with Japanese firms, our persistence and dedication didn’t let us down. Sunic System, still has a long way to go before ultimately reaping the fruits of success; however, the market has spoken and our company’s rapid growth is leading the OLED industry with its 20 years of experience and knowhow,” said Young-jong Lee, CEO of Sunic System
While Japanese companies greatly focused on the Asian market, Sunic System decided to go out of Korea and tap into the European market. As the company gained trust through supplying R&D equipment to Germany, they began to export equipment to the Center for Organic Materials and Electronic Devices Dresden (Fraunhofer COMEDD), formerly known as Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS). Today, Sunic System distributes 100 systems to 49 clients worldwide including the U.S., U.K., China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea.
OLED: Total Solution
Another highly potential area for OLED application is the lighting industry. OLED lighting has more natural than LED - it’s lighter, more flexible and transparent enabling application of diverse designs. Recently signing a distribution contract with Acuity Brands, LG Chem, the global vanguard for OLED lighting, heralded a full-fledged start of OLED lighting market which is set to rapidly grow and expected to reach USD 6,000 million by 2018, according to Display Search. Developing an exclusive evaporation system, Sunic System supplies second- generation OLED evaporation equipment for mass production on turnkey basis, and is now undergoing the development of its 5.5 generation OLED equipment as a national project.
Dr. Lee affirms, “I am confident that Sunic System will successfully break into the global market with more cost and technical competitiveness as compared to our Japanese rivals.” Sunic’s OLED equipment application is not only limited to mobile and TV displays but also applicable in microdisplays such as 3D video glasses and military and Organic Photo Voltaic (OPV) devices.
Sunic System’s Evolution
On the client’s perspective, Sunic System’s competency lies on its flexibility to meet customer demands as well as produce highly efficient equipment. Its excellent customer service is evidenced by maintenance centers established in Germany to promptly resolve components and other technical issues by European and even U.S. clients.
Established in 1990, Sunic System debuted with the development of vacuum equipment for semiconductors. Possessing years of technical knowhow, the company shifted its concentration on the OLED R&D equipment industry because of its high growth potential. With the emergence of PMOLED (Passive-Matrix OLED) in the Korean market, the company was even more determined to acquire more technical skills in enhancing its R&D and mass production equipment. Backed by hefty investment and the implementation of an efficient system provided by Dong A Eltek, its parent company, Sunic System made USD 30 million (35 billion won) in sales, last year alone, boosting their business plan to aim at USD 45 million (50 billion won) this year. The company is due to get listed on KOSDAQ, Korea’s biggest stock exchange, next year. He added, “We are geared toward a USD 450 million (500 billion won) sales by 2020 through mass production of display, lighting and OPV to solidify our status as a leading OLED company in the global market.”
Prior to joining Sunic System, Mr. Lee worked for LG Semiconductor, now SK Hynix, and afterward started an LCD Plasma company in 2001. In 2003, he succeeded in developing and supplying the equipment to China and Taiwan as its primary clients. The company was listed in KOSDAQ in 2005.
Asked about his managerial philosophy, Mr. Lee emphasized the importance of communication. “We are making efforts to have clear and constant communication among employees. Regularly, executives spend time conversing with entry-level employees. I also encourage openness. So, if anyone in the company is troubled, my office is always open to listen to and understand the employee’s concern about the company, their families, and future plans. Retaining talented personnel and creating a favorable working environment, I believe, root from continuous communication with employees eventually leading to the success and growth of Sunic System.”