Strategically Blogging

Highlights of DOE Solid State Lighting R&D Conference

Shonika Vijay 02/09/2015

Recently, we had the DOE R&D conference in San Francisco. As always, it was a great event as the key industry players and decision makers came under one roof. I wanted to share some of my highlights and experiences from the event. Before that, one of the treats for me was looking at the new Bay Bridge from the shores of Treasure Island. Though I am a Bay Area resident, I regret that I hadn’t done this before—I usually just drive through it. The Bay Bridge looked magnificent, as it wore jewels of LED lights. The directionality of the lights was brilliant and it limited light spillage into the bay. So thank you, DOE, for allowing me this experience.

What does LG Chem's "5 lm/$" really mean for lighting?

Stephanie Pruitt 02/05/2015

LG Chem came out this week claiming to have the world’s highest OLED lumen-price ratio at 5 lm/$, but what does this really mean, and how does it compare to traditional and LED lighting?

To really see how this ground breaking development in OLED lighting compares, I have listed below the average selling prices (ASPs) for the general lighting luminaire form factors that Strategies Unlimited believes OLEDs can potentially penetrate: downlights, troffers, and suspended pendants (we do not believe OLEDs will play in track lighting, high bay, or street lighting due to current lumen output, efficacy, and price).

LED COB is Coming

Martin Shih 01/26/2015

We have now released our latest market research report, The World Market for COB LEDs in General Lightingwhich covers the market for LED COBs and Multichip Array COBs. We forecast the overall market for these COBs will grow significantly to $4.35 billion in 2020 from $1.54 billion in 2014. In addition, the report indicates that the market will grow by 40% YoY in 2015. The long term growth is mainly due to the increased penetration of COB luminaires and lamps into some specific lighting applications, such as downlights and spotlights. With better light distribution and design flexibility, we expect a significant growth for COB, especially in directional lighting applications.

Revolution vs. Evolution

Philip Smallwood 01/22/2015

At the 2014 Strategies in Light Europe conference, there was one recurring theme that I thought was very interesting: evolution vs. revolution. I think it is very important for people in the lighting industry to understand that LEDs in themselves are not a revolutionary (disruptive) technology that is changing the industry, but rather a natural evolutionary progression of light emitting materials/methods to create usable light. As presented by Dr. Thomas Knoop, the Managing Director of INTEGRATED, a technology is disruptive in an industry when it attacks the market by offering a different value driver (usually convenience or price) and not when it just fulfills the need of the average customer. The two charts provided below are visualizations of these ideas. 

Lighting Industry: 2014 in Review and What to Expect Next

Shonika Vijay 01/19/2015

As the year 2014 recently ended, I thought now would be a good time to review what the lighting industry has gone through along with what lighting trends we anticipate in the near future. 2014 was an amazing year for LED lighting. Here a few recent key things that LED lighting experienced in 2014:

The solar market and the 2nd-Derivative Paradox

By Tom Hausken
How could equipment sales in an exponentially-growing market be anything but upward? It happens all the time. Welcome to the 2nd-Derivative Paradox. That's my name for the trap that one can fall into when it comes to capital equipment markets. Solar is a great example. It's hard to explain the paradox, though, so bear with me.

Start with installed capacity. If you are a power generator, you think in terms of the cumulative installed generating capacity in the world. This is what the users actually use. The figure shows three scenarios how that might play out, and they all look pretty much the same in this chart. Nice, steep slopes. Note how they all start at the same point and end up at the same point.



Then look at panel shipments. But the solar panel industry isn't interested in what's already out there. It needs to ship new panels every year. The shipments amount to a 1st derivative: the new capacity that's added to the infrastructure every year. Now the differences in the scenarios show through, as shown in the second figure. But the scenarios all show steep upward growth. What's to worry about?


Now look at panel manufacturing equipment. The solar manufacturing equipment industry, and that includes lasers--isn't even interested in solar shipments, but the need for more manufacturing capacity to make the panels. You only need more equipment when you are shipping more panels than before. That amounts to a 2nd derivative of the cumulative generating capacity, and can give wildly different results. New equipment is shipped in all three scenarios, but in the "sustaining" scenario the equipment shipments are flat year after year, while in the "slowing" scenario they start out strong, but then decline. Ouch.

Other traps. Of course we would all like to live in the "growing" scenario. The trouble is, strong positive exponential growth doesn't last indefinitely, no matter what they say. And that's not even considering some ups and downs along the way, like this year. A slight shift in the solar panel shipments wreaks total havoc for equipment shipments.



Other things that juice equipment sales. The same trap exists in other industries, too. But there are other details to consider. First, there is usually some churn in suppliers. Machines also get obsolete. And there is also the early obsolescence forced by things like Moore's Law. These all have to be considered.

Watch that 2nd derivative. Don't get me wrong. I love solar. I had a summer job at TI testing solar cells back in the Jimmy Carter era. We all believe it's going to be a great thing in coming decades. But it's not enough that the cumulative generating capacity will be on a steep upward slope for years to come, because when it comes to manufacturing equipment, it's the 2nd derivative that counts.

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