LED packaging boom over next five years says report

January 14, 2013 // By Nick Flaherty
LED materials will see a boom over the next five years according to a new report from French analysts Yole Developpement despite challenges to reduce costs.

The LED packaging materials market will enjoy a 20% CAGR during the period 2012 - 2017, driven primarily by package substrate and phosphors, says the report , rising to nearly $900M by 2017. Despite strong price pressure, the associated market for LED phosphors will also enjoy double-digit growth, with a CAGR of 20% during the period 2012 – 2017.

Depending on the device type, packaging can represent 40% to 60% of LED total cost. As such, packaging represents the single-largest opportunity for cost reduction, which is required in order for the general lighting market, says the report. However cost reduction is not going to come from standardization as there is a wide range of packaging approaches.

The profusion of styles is inhibiting LED manufacturing cost reduction by multiplying the Stock Keeping Unit (SKU), thus preventing standardization of the manufacturing process and the associated economies of scale, says the report. As a result LED manufacturers are reacting by developing new manufacturing philosophies/concepts, such as simplifying and standardizing elements whenever possible, and push differentiation as far downstream as possible in the manufacturing process.

“Technological developments are also impacted by the quest for cost reduction, and LED manufacturers are now searching for equipment and/or materials with the right mix between cost and performance”, said Pars Mukish, Technology & Market Analyst, LED at Yole Développement . Equipment and materials suppliers are proposing more and more equipment and materials that fit these requirements, i.e. laser-based dicer, low-cost ceramic package substrate, etc.

At the LED packaging equipment level, growth will return for the next three years, say the researchers. “The LED packaging equipment market, which stagnated in 2012 due to industry oversupply, is growing again and will peak at nearly $650M by 2016”, said Pars Mukish.

LED packagers are still using mostly retrofitted equipment from the IC industry and relying on existing technology solutions and materials to improve LED cost of ownership and performance. While this