With Russian IP, Optogan succeeds in Western European LED markets

August 01, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In a competitive environment dominated by large-scale manufacturers from the Far East, LED company Optogan may appear as an outsider. Nevertheless, the company with Russian roots goes from strength to strength. In an interview with EE Times Europe, General Manager Markus Zeiler provides insights into the company's strategy and shares his views on the future market development.

Innovative technology, high quality standards, low manufacturing costs thanks to slim processes and a strong standing in Eastern Europe are the building blocks for LED manufacturer Optogan's success in Western Europe. The company counts more than 500 enquiries from distributors for its LED products such as light bulb replacements, downlight LEDs and commercial lighting elements. 

Nine months after the launch of its LED production line in a disused semiconductor complex formerly owned by chipmaker LFoundry, Optogan has achieved very high quality standards, at this production site, explained Zeiler. The two most important factors contributing to this high quality level are Optogan's patents on epitaxial chip manufacturing processes and the availability of highly trained and motivated staff. The intellectual property goes back to the research of Professor Alarov in Russia, Zeil explained. "These patents are very significant for the crystal growth - an aspect in LED manufacturing that determines the quality of the semiconductor", he said. The qualified staff is what was left when LFoundry ceased operation in the Lower Bavarian region around Landshut a year ago. Optogan today occupies a relatively small percentage of the former LFoundry production line; nevertheless, the facilities in Landshut offer more than enough capacity and a solid growth perspective for the company. 

The semiconductor production line in Landshut however is only a small part of Optogan. With locations in Helsinki (Finland), St. Petersburg (Russia) and Dortmund (Germany), the vertically integrated company develops modular concepts and products from the bare LED to complete luminaires - including driver circuits and heat sinks. Even OLEDs are on Optogan's agenda, albeit for the time being just as a research project. 

In the interview, Zeiler gave insights into the development of the LED industry. He explained why a strong market share in Russia helps the company to maintain an edge over competitors in Western Europe, when the LED will replace current CCFL energy saving lamps and why Zhaga standards are