Strong demand for mini LED in 2020 is expected offer related equipment suppliers, driver IC vendors, panel makers and materials distributors lucrative business opportunities.
US-based semiconductor equipment supplier Kulicke and Soffa Industries (K&S) expects mini LED equipment to outrace advanced IC packaging equipment in providing growth momentum for the company, as mini LED may replace LCD backlights or OLED in 1-2 years, thanks to its energy conservation, high brightness and high contrast ratio, according to CB Chang, senior vice president at K&S.
Up to 20,000 mini LED chips are needed for TV backlighting, compared to only 50 chips for a traditional LED backlight unit (BLU), Chang said, adding that his firm’s mass transfer equipment can process 50 mini LED chips per second, 3-5 times that of traditional pick-and-place systems. He disclosed that K&S has secured orders from two major clients and expects its mini LED-related business to grow 5-10% in the new fiscal year.
Taiwan-based Tian Zheng International Precision Machinery already started shipments of mini LED testing equipment in the first half of 2019, and LED driver IC designer Macroblock has also tapped into the supply chains of leading Korean panel and system makers, according to industry sources.
IC components and materials distributor Supreme Electronics, which now distributes LED driver ICs for Samsung, is expected to benefit from the Korea firm’s launch of large-size flat-screen TV with mini LED backlights by the end of 2019, the sources said.
Another distributor Topco Scientific has signed a contract with US-based SiliconCore to sell patented LED PWM (pulse-width-modulation) driver ICs and system modules for smart display applications.
China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) has also developed large-size mini LED-backlit panels and will cooperate with Huawei to roll out 65-inch TVs. For Taiwan’s panel makers Innolux and AU Optronics (AUO), mini LED will provide an opportunity for them to compensate their weaker deployments in the OLED segment, the sources indicated.―Digitimes