Trend of LED package manufacturers entering EMC lead frame technology to target mid/high power LED

Strong demands for mid-power LED products have increased shipments of Epoxy Molding Compound (EMC) lead frames. Taiwanese and Chinese LED package manufacturers have jumped into EMC lead frame technology. Taiwanese LED package manufacturers Everlight, Lite-On Technology (Lite-On), Unity Opto, and Advanced Optoelectronic Technology (AOT) are producing EMC package components. Chinese manufacturers including Lighting Optoelectonic Technology (LOT) and Refond possess EMC package component production capacity. Market research shows EMC lead frame prices are falling quickly, which is why most manufacturers are trying to improve price/performance ratio by applying EMC lead frames in 2-3W mid / high power LEDs, according to LEDinside. In the past, most EMC lead frame applications were for 1-2W LED.

As the LED lighting market matures, mid power LEDs are in high demand. Manufacturers are becoming actively involved in EMC package technology that is mostly applied in mid-power LEDs. Japanese manufacturer Nichia has an advantage in EMC material, and has developed fastest in the field. Among Taiwanese manufacturers, Everlight, Lite-On, Unity Opto, and AOT are the most active, and are gradually increasing production capacity.

Chinese manufacturers are close behind in EMC package technology and strategies. Chinese LED package manufacturer Refond, and LOT, a San’an Optoelectronics company, have started EMC package component production, while specifications for most Chinese manufacturers are 3014 and 3030. Korean packaging manufacturers on the other hand are entering the EMC package component supply chain. Korean companies including Samsung, Seoul Semiconductor, and LG Innotek have introduced EMC package technology.

From an EMC lead frame supply perspective, Japanese manufacturer Nichia’s EMC lead frames are produced mostly for their own consumption, while Panasonic supplies EMC lead frame products. Among Taiwanese manufacturers, Chang Wah Electro-materials (CWE) is the largest supplier of EMC lead frames. CWE’s EMC lead frame shipments in 2Q13 reached 0.3 million(which can supply about 250 million-300 million LEDs), and is estimated to mushroom to 0.6 million by the end of 2013. The company has a presence in Taiwan, China and Japan LED package supply chains. Taiwanese manufacturers including Fu-sheng, Techwin, and SDI have also entered the EMC lead frame supply chain. In addition, Hong Kong manufacturer ASM has developed EMC lead frame production capacity, and is currently one of the few manufacturers with clear shipment targets.

In 2013, mid-power LEDs were widely applied in lighting products, and rise in lighting demands has sped up introduction of EMC package technology. Based on current price differences amongst EMC, PCT and PPA (polyphthalamide) lead frames, prices have dropped for EMC and PCT lead frames. The price difference between EMC and PPA lead frames closed to approximately double the price, while there is almost no price difference between PCT and PPA lead frames. Manufacturers are also more inclined to use EMC lead frames in 2-3W LED package, to increase the EMC package component’s price/performance ratio. 

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