SemiLEDS is a world’s leading LED chip maker, possessing many LED-related patents and technologies.
Recently, LEDinside conducted an interview with Dr. Chuong Anh Tran, President, Chief Operating Officer & Director at SemiLEDs Corp, who shed light on SemiLEDS’ recent LED technological breakthroughs and the company’s latest endeavor on UV LED chips.
LED Lighting to See Upswing in 2H12 and 2013
According to Dr. Tran, SemiLEDs is well positioned and has capacity to satisfy the market demands for general lighting LED products from its Taiwan and China production lines. The company believes that the LED lighting market will continue to develop in in 2H12 and 2013.
With the bans on incandescent light bulbs imposed by more countries around the world, Dr. Tran expects that the energy-saving markets in China, India, Europe and Southeast Asia will see booming growth. He indicated that key technologies, enough capacity and an adequate channel strategy are key factors that will allow a LED company to take advantage of the growth of the LED general lighting market worldwide.
C35 High-efficiency LED Packaging Products
SemiLEDs’ market focus is white-light LED products for the general lighting market and most of its production capacity is for such products, although SemiLEDs is also very well known in the UV LED market and is a major global supplier to many UV application companies.
Recently, SemiLEDs has announced the production and shipment of its C35 series of high-efficiency LEDs. C35 LEDs have been very well received by the market. The luminous efficacy of the C35 LEDs can reach 120 lm/W, and SemiLEDs’ customers are able to request 1 or 2-bin shipments of the C35 LEDs.
In particular, Dr. Tran pointed out that the C35 LEDs are manufactured using SemiLEDs’ proprietary and patented LED chip and phosphor technology. Being able to request LED products in 1 or 2 bin shipments, SemiLEDs’ customers no longer have to deal with binning issues and may significantly decrease their LED inventory – therefore saving costs. Furthermore, because of SemiLEDs’ unique phosphor application technology, the C35 LEDs are also very cost competitive as compared to other LED products in the market.
UV LEDs Highly Profitable, but Technology Barrier Difficult to Overcome
UV LEDs cannot be used in the standard lighting market because it is dangerous to look directly into the light source due to wavelengths. UV LED products are used in specialty markets such as counterfeit money detection and gel curing. According to SemiLEDs, its UV LED products that are capable of emitting radiation at 390-420 nm wavelengths are in production. SemiLEDs also plans to continue to develop UV LED products with shorter wavelengths, such as 365-420 nm and 320-365 nm.
Currently, the demand for UV LEDs comes from panel, semiconductor, solar, mobile phone lens module, and equipment manufacturers (such as C Sun), as well as printing equipment makers such as Japan’s Ryobi, Panasonic, and Mitsubishi. These companies are in need of reliable manufacturers that can provide a steady supply of high-quality UV LEDs. SemiLEDs’ UV LEDs have been qualified and adopted by many global UV industry players.
Traditional UV lamps have a lifespan of 500 to 1000 hours – however, as they require time to warm up prior to use, actual usage time is reduced to less than 500 hours. Additionally, as traditional UV lamps emit large amounts of infrared light which can damage coating, they must be used at a certain distance, further lowering efficiency. Cooling systems and air conditioning equipment are also necessary to manage high levels of heat from the infrared light. High energy consumption, short lifespan, use of mercury, and ozone production are all downfalls of traditional UV lamps.
UV LED light sources, on the other hand, provide a higher level of optical power and have smaller form factor. Furthermore, the advantage of a single wavelength allows UV LEDs to operate at closer range, improving optical efficiency. Because no warm up time is required, UV LEDs have response time of less than 1 ms. In addition, since UV LEDs do not need to be on all day, the lifespan of UV LEDs is significantly longer than that of traditional UV mercury lamps.
Dr. Tran believes that only a few manufacturers have the necessary technology to produce high-quality and reliable UV LEDs. SemiLEDs has already gained a strong foothold in this sector and will continue to supply high quality UV LED light source to the market.
Strengthening India and Southeast Asia Markets
SemiLEDs recently established a new sales office in Shenzhen, China. Dr. Tran indicated that demand for LED lighting is increasing in the Southeast Asian markets and in India. Considering the support of energy-efficient lighting industry by the government of India and the apparent market demands for energy-efficient lighting products in that country, SemiLEDs sees the development and growth of the LED general lighting market in India. SemiLEDs believes in the markets in Southeast Asia and India and is committed to provide the best support to its customers in those markets.
LED Market to See Higher-Power Products, New Applications include Medical and Plant Lighting
Looking at the next five years, Dr. Tran indicated that the LED trend is likely to head towards higher-power, more professional, and more specialized applications. For instance, new applications such as medical and plant lighting will see strong growth momentum. Only companies with solid and strong foundations will be able to succeed in these sectors.
Dr. Tran further explains that these applications differ from traditional lighting applications because they require more accurate binning, as well as better quality, efficiency, durability, and reliability. Meeting these requirements will be key to succeed in the future. But, it will not happen overnight. The companies that arrive ahead of their peers and are well prepared will have an easier time to succeed in the market.