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Long Wait Ahead for Commercialization of Micro-LEDs

Global LED manufacturers are starting to develop micro-LED but there are still many bottlenecks to overcome before it can enter mass production, and most industry experts agree it might take another five to 10 years before it can be commercialized.

According to foreign investment institute’s research, Epistar’s current equipment indicates revenue contribution from micro-LEDs will not be realized till 2018.

According to the same report, Epistar collaborated with a big American smartphone brand for many years to develop micro-LEDs, and equipment supply chain developments indicates many manufacturers are developing micro-LED production equipment. The companies estimate the equipment will be moved into factories by 2017.

However, the same report revealed Epistar’s micro-LED commercialization date will be after 2018, and has the potential to replace OLED as the next generation display technology for wearables. However, revenues from this segment will not be realized till 2018.

Taiwanese LED bulb manufacturer Unity Opto also told LEDinside it will take another 5-10 years before micro-LED technology can enter mass production phase and maturation, during this period the LED industry will undergo a volatile period. Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers all hope to be able to find carve out their own path, and escape from price wars.

Everlight, a Taiwanese LED packaging manufacturer, for instance has been focused on high end smartphone LED flash lights, and is currently the top small pitch LED display maker. Bright LED Electronics has shown strong IR LED shipment growths, while Unity Opto is increasingly focused on LED luminaires and returning to mid to high end backlight markets, and its profitability is expected to rebound from fourth quarter of 2016 to first quarter of 2017.

At LEDforum 2016 hosted by LEDinside in late September, it will still take some time before micro LED can be mass produced. However, micro-LED has become a trending topic in the industry, and most within the industry agree once manufacturers overcome mass transfer and yield rate issues, it can be applied in small sized displays.