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Backlight, general lighting drive China LED market

Posted: 13 Apr 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LED  China market  backlight  display application 

LED production in China continues its momentum as LEDs have broken into the backlight and lamp markets dominated by cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLS) and CFLs. The technology thus expands from LED display niche applications to varied illumination requirements in consumer electronics.

Suppliers expect wider if not mainstream adoption once the cost barrier lowers with the resolution of chip and patent issues. New notebook PCs, for instance, will be LED-backlit by 2012 and more than 50 per cent of LCD TVs by 2014, according to DisplaySearch.

LEDs are also seen to top fluorescents as the worldwide campaign for energy conservation and environmental protection intensifies. Globally, they are projected to achieve a CAGR exceeding 30 per cent, or Rs. 6,003.01 crore ($1.3 billion) by 2012, according to LEDinside.

Supply, however, cannot keep up with demand for high-brightness blue chips, which has increased sharply because of adoption in TVs and lighting products. But the situation is expected to improve as companies across the Taiwan Strait expand capacity. However, chipmaker Epistar believes the industry will need 200 additional MOCVD machines to fill the projected requirement of 1,250.00 crore (12.5 billion) LEDs in 2010 for LED TVs alone.

Mainland China has always relied on Taiwan for more than half of its component requirement. Makers cite better cost performance over those from sources such as Nichia, Cree, Osram and local providers. To ensure a stable stock, some mainland manufacturers cultivate ties with Taiwan's various suppliers including tier 1 operations Epistar, Opto Tech and Huga, and Formosa Epitaxy and Arima in the second tier.

Using this as driving force, the mainland chip sector continues to enhance quality, providing 1W high-power types that can deliver 80- to 90lm/W. It is targeting to develop 130lm/W units and realise mass production of 100lm/W versions this year.

Improving quality
Reducing the light attenuation remains a priority, even as makers have achieved a lower than 3 per cent rating after 1,000 hours of operation, or zero attenuation by industry classification.

After a process improvement, Shenzhen Smalite was able to realise this in some of its products in normal conditions after 3,000 hours. It produces mainly top and high-power LEDs. Shenzhen Refond is expanding the parameters past 5,000 hours for its 3528 top units.

Shenzhen Quantum, meanwhile, is striving beyond the standard driving current. In extreme conditions of 85°C temperature, 85 per cent relative humidity and after 3,000 hours, the company is aiming for lower than 10 per cent attenuation and below 10ppm defect rate.

Lucky's rollouts have a maximum luminance of 130 lumens. Its LL-HP60MWEB model runs at 350mA and 700mA current, achieving 95 to 130 lumens at 350mA. Guangzhou Hongli offers 100lm/W units.

Better efficiency is also a development target for SMD and DIP types. Shenzhen Smalite hopes to raise the 100lm/W rating of its 0.3- and 0.5W top variants to 110lm/W in 2010. Shenzhen Refond's products average 7.2 lumens or 120lm/W, or even up to 9 lumens or 150lm/W under 20mA standard driving current. This is higher than the typical 6 to 6.5 lumens or 100- to 110lm/W.

Taiwan's high-brightness priority
Taiwan is aiming for an increased production capacity for high-brightness LEDs to take advantage of strong demand for backlights used in midsizeise and large displays.

The island accounts for about 25 per cent of global output. It has more than 100 LED packaging suppliers offering the diode type, with the leading ones conducting aggressive R&D activities. Other companies are expected to swell their ranks and advance Taiwan's status further as a hub offering cost-down and innovative options.

The fastest-growing LED category worldwide, high-brightness units have an estimated value of Rs.25,397.35 crore ($5.5 billion) in 2009, or a 78 per cent share of the total. By 2012, this will reach 90 per cent. The line finds widest use in mobile devices, which account for about 37 per cent of output, followed by displays and signage with 28 per cent. Due to the economic crunch, demand from the first experienced a downturn in 2009.

Published with permission from Electronic Components. Read full article here.

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