Review of Major Lighting Manufacturers LED Grow Light Developments

As LED applications gradually shift towards biology, medical, and health related market sectors, LED grow light applications large market potential has been recognized by the industry, according to a report from CALI. Chinese and international companies have entered the LED grow light market, with traditional lighting manufacturers Philips, Mitsubishi Chemicals, Seoul Semiconductor, Everlight, and Showa Denko all contending for market shares. The LED grow light industry is still mainly led by large multinational companies that have sufficient financing, advanced technology, and strong awareness of market deployment strategies.

Some of the manufacturers have their own LED chip production capacity, and LED package patents. The companies are also working with LED grow light companies that have international patents, or those planning to develop LED grow light sources. Additionally, traditional lighting companies with good brands, client market, and distribution channels are also have strong LED technology and market potential in developing LED grow lights.

Philips Lighting

Philips Lighting market applications include highly energy efficient lighting solutions for streets, office, industrial, entertainment and residential lighting. Philips has a leading market position in constructing the future architecture of new lighting applications and technology, for instance ambient lighting and garden lighting applications.

To strengthen its leading market position in the LED chip market sector, the company previously acquired Lumileds, but has spun-off the company into an independent entity and sold it to Go Scale Capital this year for US $3.3 billion. The business transaction is currently still under review of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which has blocked the deal over unstated concerns.

Philips previously had the most comprehensive supply chain in the LED industry, and very advanced lighting technology. The company has promoted LED grow lights in many countries in Europe and Asia. Additionally, its parent company in Netherlands has been the leading contemporary garden and agricultural company, and has excellent industry, technology and cultural background. At the same time, the company has been an important member in Beijing LED Grow Light Factory Strategic Alliance. The company’s market competitiveness should not be underestimated.

Mitsubishi Chemical

Mitsubishi Chemical was founded on Oct. 1, 1994, and is one of the leading petrochemical companies in Japan and the world. The company planned to develop a LED and solar cell lighting system by 2009 that was mainly applied in plant growth factories. Fairy Angel, a vegetable cultivation venture company, which is constructing a new factory in Mihama, a town located in Fukui Prefecture, Japan, according to a Nikkei Technology report. The new factory will be mass producing vegetables in the near future.

The factory grow lights mostly uses fluorescent lights and a regular power systems. Mitsubishi Chemical has an investment of about 16% in Fairy Angel, and the company has introduced on trial basis LED and solar lighting systems into Fairy Angel’s new factory. Mitsubishi Chemical is collaborating with Fairy Angel and lighting equipment manufacturer CCS in experiments aimed at optimizing plant lighting systems. Fairy Angel intends to sell vegetable factories using the co-developed lighting systems in the future.  

With cooperation from Fairy Angel, which has expertise in the operation of vegetable factories, and lighting equipment manufacturer CCS Inc, Mitsubishi Chemical will begin a joint experiment aimed at optimizing the lighting system.

Si-based solar cells was the first that Mitsubishi Chemical procured for the lighting system it developed back in 2008, and at the time it intended to release on the market by 2015. In August 2015, the Japanese company collaborated with 3M on organic based solar films for buildings. Mitsubishi Chemical has patents for LED raw materials, LED chip, LED package and other in-house developed grow lights and related LED products. The company’s investment in the grow lighting industry indicates it has a comprehensive supply chain, and is ahead of competition. The company has mostly been targeting the Japanese market.

GE

GE has placed its hopes in LED lighting products, and has been one of the earliest international companies to enter the LED lighting business. From 2007 to 2009, GE’s LED product investment’s Compound Annual Growth Rates (CAGR) reached 28%.

GE has a very clear LED lighting strategy established on the backbone of its global platform. The company has continued R&D in core technologies and is actively developing general lighting applications. GE also has very clear product market positioning, which mainly is focused on light sources, modules, outdoor streetlights, indoor and architectural lighting sectors. GE’s advantages include stellar product design, manufacturing, and system concentration, as well as global distribution channels, and brand recognition. GE is promoting LED streetlight and other applications in China, similar to GE’s other product promotion strategies, the LED streetlights will mostly take form of construction projects.

GE is the main grow light supplier in China, and its high pressure sodium lights are widely applied in China’s greenhouse vegetables and artificial light sources. The company has aggregated a large client pool, and high market recognition. Additionally, the company has displayed its strength in integrating upstream to downstream LED systems. The launch of horticulture lighting products has further honed its market competitiveness.

Seoul Semiconductor

Seoul Semiconductor’s major businesses include producing LED package, and standard modules. The company has also released AC Solid State Lighting (SSL) products including Acrich, high power and high brightness LEDs, side view LEDs, LED ceiling lights and SMD LED. The products are widely applied in general lighting, display lighting, mobile phone backlight, TV, laptops and automotive lighting.

Seoul Semiconductor technology has four advantages: 1) Light projector and light receiver module technology; 2) digital circuit technology; 3) the company has both blue and white LED solutions; 4) possesses ultra-small and ultra-thin technology. Seoul Semiconductor has shown high interest in LED grow light market, and supplied 300,000 Z-power LEDs to a Japanese luminaire company for a ‘LED Farming Demonstration Project’, that was organized by Japan’s minister of Economy, Trade & Industry in 2009, reported Semiconductor Today.

Seoul Semiconductor’s participation in the project in 2009 reflected the company’s advanced lighting technology in japan, and showcased the potential its LED light sources had in the grow light market. Seoul Semiconductor is mainly targeting Korea and Japan market.

Osram

Osram is one of the earliest international manufacturers that has followed LED technology developments, and has deployed its market strategy in epiwafers, LED components, fluorescent material, applications and other industrial supply chains. Currently, Osram’s LED business is mainly concentrated on LED components and automotive lighting applications.

In the LED grow light market, Osram has mainly been releasing lighting for aquariums, and deployed a comprehensive patent strategy in China. The company’s grow light products could become more competitive if it cooperated with downstream factories or research institutes.

(Translator/Editor: Judy Lin, Chief Editor, LEDinside)

[Editorial Note: The original article has been modified to reflect recent developments in the LED industry.]

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