LED makers face several challenges to cracking the lighting market

Manufacturers of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) need to make significant improvements in performance-especially in dollars per lumen and in lumens per watt at full power-to capture profits in applications such as automotive lighting, architectural lighting, and general illumination, says Philippe Roussel, senior analyst for compound semiconductor activity at market analyst Yole Développement in Lyon, France.

LYON, France - Manufacturers of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) need to make significant improvements in performance-especially in dollars per lumen and in lumens per watt at full power-to capture profits in applications such as automotive lighting, architectural lighting, and general illumination, says Philippe Roussel, senior analyst for compound semiconductor activity at market analyst Yole Développement in Lyon, France.

“It is now clear that the LED market needs to expand into new and profitable sectors with higher margins,” Roussel says. “We believe that this growth will come from three additional application areas: automotive lighting, architectural lighting, and general illumination, in addition to the LCD backlighting market.”

LED component volumes have been driven mainly by mobile phone sales recently, showing an annual compound growth rate of more than 45 percent per year, yet revenue growth has grown at only 8 percent over the last two years due to the strong pressure on component prices, Yole officials say.

New approaches in manufacturing technologies are necessary in materials, design, front-end, back-end, and packaging to profit from the potential of ultra-high brightness LED: UHB-LEDs, Yole officials say.

Recent announcements from LED manufacturers show impressive results on the lumens-per-watt efficiency parameter (150 lumens per Watt has been proved in the laboratory), yet only at currents of less than 20 milliamps, says Tom Pearsall, secretary general of the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC) in Paris.

The difficulty in obtaining high power and high efficiency simultaneously underscores the immediate need for dramatic improvements in manufacturing technologies, Yole experts say. Today, no more than 70 lumens per watt has been demonstrated with LEDs stronger than 1 watt; LEDs still lag behind the performance of fluorescent lamps for general lighting applications.

LEDs have a natural advantage in automotive outdoor and backlighting, but a new business model is necessary to penetrate the general lighting sector where fluorescent light remains a strong competitor, Yole officials say. The industry needs to solve the challenge of building a growing market of lighting products with a quasi-infinite lifetime while developing mass production methods for the next-generation of UHB-LED.

For more information contact Yole Développement online at www.yole.fr, or EPIC at www.epic-assoc.com.

More in Home