Penang companies in global LED research Print E-mail

Source : The Star Online (7th June 2010)

Globetronics, Elsoft developing bright LED modules and testers

GEORGE TOWN: Two Penang-based public listed companies are involved in research and development (R&D) work to produce the world’s brightest light emitting diode (LED) modules and the next generation of high brightness LED testers.

Globetronics Technology Bhd has teamed up with a US-based company to develop the world’s brightest LED module in cool white and warm white colour that would be 10 times brighter than the present LED module containing two LED chips with a brightness of over 200 lumens per watt.

Elsoft Research is concentrating to manufacture the next generation of LED testers that can test LED modules with brightness of over 20,000 luminous flux (lm).

Globetronics chief executive officer Heng Huck Lee told StarBiz that the LED prototypes in cool white and warm white colour would be out in the next six months.

“Their cost would be about five times more expensive than conventional lighting, compared to the cost of present LED lighting, which is 10% to 15% higher than conventional lighting,” he said.

Technicians doing LED testing. (inset) Heng Huck Lee ... ‘The challenge is to convert efficiently a high percentage of electricity into light, which will then drive down the cost.’

Heng said the group was investing between RM70mil and RM80mil in the project, which kicked off last month.

“The challenge is to convert efficiently a high percentage of electricity into light, which will then drive down the cost of lumens per watt. “The prototypes should be out in six months,” he said.

He said the group had recently inked an agreement with the US group, which would see Globetronics undertake work related to designing and process development of the next generation LED module.

“We should be on schedule to commence mass production of this new generation LED modules in the first half of 2011,” he said, adding that the new modules would be used in the general lighting industry.

The global LED market is estimated to be US$12bil per annum.

On the group’s integrated circuit (ICs) business, Heng said the group was spending about RM20mil this year to develop quartz-based timing control devices used in telecommunication and consumer electronic devices with a Japanese company.

“The prototype will be out in six months,” he said.

Elsoft Research managing director Tan Cheik Eaik said the group was now working on producing new generation LED testers that could test LED modules of over 20,000 lm using in-house technology.

“Presently, LED testers can test LED’s brightness of over 10,000 lm. We are also working on producing LED burn-in system that can determine the lifespan of LED modules using 350 milliampere (mA) to 5 amperes (A) of current.

“Presently the LED burn-in system available caters to those LED modules using 350 mA to 1 A.

“These prototypes should be out by next year,” he said, adding that over RM2mil had been allocated for the R&D work.

Tan said the group was now involved in several projects to deliver high performance LED testers that could test the brightness of LED modules with over 10,000 lm.

“The supply of such LED testers in the market is still very limited. This why we are increasing production this year of such high performance LED testers,” he said.

Tan said the group’s high performance LED testers were priced between a few thousand US dollars and a few hundred thousand US dollars, which would contribute significantly to the group’s revenue for 2010.

“Since January, we have completed and delivered 50 testers to determine the brightness of LED modules used in various applications.

“We are looking at double-digit growth for our sales this year,”

MMS Ventures Bhd managing director T.K. Sia said the demand for LED testers was coming from the Asia Pacific region, particularly China and Taiwan.

Sia said the group presently manufacture LED testers using US technology that reduce the cost of production, allowing the group to price their LED testers competitively in the market.

“The orders for our products in the second quarter look good, but there is no visibility for the third and fourth quarters,” he said.