With the Union government’s Rs 76,000 crore incentives package for domestic manufacturing of semiconductors and displays, Elest, a subsidiary of Rajesh Exports, has decided to build India’s first modern display manufacturing unit in Telangana.
There is no easily available public information on who is providing the technology knowhow to Elest. However, based on various pointers, Swarajya had reported that it is likely that a company called Grantwood Technologies could be guiding them.
In May 2021, in media reports like this which gave hints of the upcoming incentive scheme for display fabs, there is a mention of a study by the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) and Grantwood Technologies. Director and chief executive officer of Grantwood Technologies G Rajeswaran (also a Professor of Practice at IIT Madras as per his LinkedIn profile), was quoted in some of the media reports as a display expert and has played a key role in the study published by ICEA.
The nearly 50-page study titled “Flat Panel Displays — Creation of a Display Industry in India” is available on ICEA website, and gives an overview of flat display technologies and market in general and opportunities for India in particular. As per the report, the global market is predicted to be about $126 billion by 2024, most of which is driven by mobile phone, followed by televisions.
Flat panel displays are fabricated by the integration of its building-block technologies, namely,
a) Thin film transistor (TFT) backplane,
b) Liquid crystal (LCD) panel or organic light emitting diode (OLED) panel frontplane and,
c) The assembly of module components.
There are several technology choices within each of these building-block categories and the combination of technology choices is selected to ensure that the can meet or exceed the technical requirements demanded by the centric end product.
The active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED) based were first demonstrated in 1999 by the combination of TFT backplanes used in TFT-LCD and OLED devices deposited over them. They entered mass-production in 2002 and were first commercialised in 2003 for digital still camera and mobile phone applications. The first AMOLED displays for use in TVs was developed in 2006 and introduced to the market in 2012.
The manufacturing supply chain consists of suppliers of patterning materials, functional materials, optical materials, process equipment, metrology tools, subcomponents for module assembly, driver ICs, factory automation, cleanroom and auxiliary equipment either for LCD or AMOLED production.
The bill of materials (BoM) for of LCD assembly of a smartphone contains the following items: a) touch panel, b) LCD in-cell, c) BEF — brightness enhancement film, d) Diffuser — light controller, e) LGP — light guide plate (distribution of light through screen), f) Reflector, g) LED backlight assembly, h) Polarizers, i) LCD driver IC (LDI) mounted on an FPC, j) Mechanics such as back support frame etc, k) Flexible printed circuit/PCB.
A module contains an assembly of the panel integrated with optical, mechanical and electronic subcomponents. As an example, the figure below shows some of the additional components needed to convert an LCD panel into an LCD module. The LCD panel requires an external broadband light source, such as the LED backlight assembly, for its operation and this light source is attached behind the TFT as shown in the figure below.