Dow Corning: Rapid Growth of LED Lighting Driving Adoption of Advanced Silicone Technologies

General lighting applications for LEDs continue to accelerate in China, thanks to improvements in LED power, efficacy and quality, as well as new government mandates that seek to replace conventional incandescent lighting with solid-state sources. According to market analyst TechNavio, China’s LED lighting market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 26.9% between 2013 and 2018, making the country one of the globe’s largest potential markets for LED lighting. However, as the technology matures, pressure will grow on LED lighting OEMs to offer more differentiated lighting designs within increasingly stringent cost constraints. Dow Corning, a global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, sees advanced silicone technology as playing a key role toward expanding LED design options, lowering manufacturing costs and improving the total cost of ownership for next-generation LED lighting – both in China and worldwide.

"The global demand for LEDs is changing as quickly as it is growing, and Dow Corning’s customers are seeking new materials solutions that will help them innovate and differentiate products able to compete in today’s emerging general lighting market," says Kaz Maruyama, global marketing director, Lighting Solutions at Dow Corning. "As a top innovator, collaborator and supplier to the global LED lighting industry, we take a proactive approach to emerging challenges by working closely with customers to anticipate the advanced silicone-based solutions they will need to optimize the light quality, optical efficiency, reliability and overall cost of their next-generation LED lighting design."

In its continuing discussions with industry-leading manufacturers of LED packaging, lamps and luminaires, Dow Corning foresees three major global trends that are fueling demand for new silicone solutions. They include:

  • Differentiated LED lamp and luminaire designs: As competition along the entire LED value chain grows fiercer, product differentiation is becoming a critical requirement for success. As a result, OEMs are showing greater interest in the unique new design options offered by injection moldable, optical quality silicones. These advance materials are enabling more complex shapes, such as micro-scale optical structures, multifunctional parts and even undercuts that are difficult to achieve with organic polymers or glass due to their superior moldability. Also, because they resist yellowing and degradation at 150°C temperatures above, they help maintain more reliable LED performance vs. organic epoxies or plastics. As a result, they are opening the door to a wider range of design options for secondary optics, light pipes and light guides for general lighting applications.

  • Improving optical quality/streamlining manufacturability: LED device manufacturers targeting general lighting applications are under constant pressure to improve optical quality, manufacturability and cost. Emerging silicone phosphor film technology promises to help achieve all of these goals, by enabling innovative new design and manufacturing options for next-generation LED concepts, such as chip-scale packaging

  • Improving efficiency and reliability: High-brightness LED manufacturers are also under pressure to find new ways of improving optical efficiency and reliability, without making expensive chip upgrades. High refractive index silicone encapsulants, such as Dow Corning’s proprietary phenyl-silicone-based solutions, can boost LED light output without altering the LED chip, case or input power. Bright white reflective silicone materials and coatings are further expanding options to dramatically increase the optical efficiency and reliability of new LED lighting designs.

"As a class of materials silicones offer enhanced thermal stability, moldability and optical properties unavailable from conventional organic LED materials, opening new innovative pathways for LED manufacturers to differentiate their products in an increasingly competitive industry," said Maruyama. "For Chinese LED-makers seeking to compete in today’s global LED lighting market, Dow Corning’s broad product selection, proven expertise and strong IP portfolio offers a uniquely powerful resource for collaboration and innovation."

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