Praxair, Inc. has announced the start-up of a new air separation plant (ASU) to support Samsung’s display manufacturing complex in Tangjeong, South Korea, its third such plant at the facility.

The new ASU will supply 700 tons per day (tpd) of nitrogen to the electronics complex, and builds on a more than 25-year relationship with Samsung.

The company has been supplying Samsung’s display operations with nitrogen, oxygen, argon, helium and other gases since 2005, including its LCD factory in Tangjeong. In this latest instance, Praxair’s nitrogen will be used for cooling and purging applications in Samsung’s manufacturing process.

The Tangjeong complex, the world’s first and largest sixth-generation flexible Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) panel plant, is expanding to meet increasing demand for future generations of displays. OLEDs are used in a variety of products including televisions, mobile devices, digital cameras, virtual reality headsets and laptops.

B.S. Sung, President of Praxair Korea, enthused, “Praxair has enjoyed a relationship with Samsung for more than 25 years and is committed to supporting their expanded production capabilities with a broad array of gases, applications technologies and customer support.”

“We have been recognised as a consistently reliable supplier to Samsung and look forward to a long future together supporting their growing requirements in the country and throughout the world.”

Intensifying

Capacity and market share have both been intensifying in South Korea over the last 12 months, a market estimated to have generated revenues of $1.8bn in 2015, according to gasworld Business Intelligence.

Praxair had furthered its footprint in the country in September (2016) with a long-term contract to supply industrial gases to Hyundai Oilbank, under which it will build, own and operate four new vacuum pressure swing adsorption (VPSA) plants. One month later, Air Products announced it was to build a new large air separation unit (LASU) in the industrial powerhouse of Ulsan, as demand for gases in the region continues to increase.

In terms of market share, one of the biggest players in the South Korean market, Daesung Industrial Gases, changed hands in February when private Asian equity firm MBK Partners won the race to acquire the company. Previously owned by multinational financial giant the Goldman Sachs Group and Daesung Group Partners C.o Ltd, the deal seemingly sees 100% of Daesung Industrial Gases sold in a price reported to be around $2bn, although there was no official confirmation from any concerned parties.

And Linde Korea signed a definitive agreement to acquire the onsite and bulk business of Air Liquide Korea in October, which will see the company procure 10 gas production plants including all related storage tanks, equipment and supply contracts in the acquisition and will integrate Linde’s existing business portfolio synergies in the domestic market.

According to gasworld Research Analyst Toby Pimlott, Praxair was the second-largest Tier One industrial gas company in South Korea in 2016, with a market share of 18%. “With the country’s industrial gas business having a strong dependence on the electronics sector, and Samsung in particular currently entered into more than 20 supply scheme contracts with a range of industrial gas companies, Praxair is well positioned for future growth in this market.”