LED growth a factor for AkzoNobel and Solvay
WHILE AkzoNobel is to boost capacity at one of its US sites, Solvay has introduced a new polyester grade to meet the strong growth of LEDs. The global LED industry is projected to grow by over 20% a year, driven by applications in displays such as televisions, PCs, laptops and tablet screens.
AkzoNobel says the investment at its facility in Texas involves extending the Tri-Methyl-Aluminum (TMAL) unit and building a new Tri-Methyl-Gallium (TMG) plant - consolidating the plant's status as the largest of its kind in the world. TMAL is a feedstock for TMG, a high purity metal organic (HPMO) used in products such as LED wafer manufacturing.
The expanded TMAL unit is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2013, while the new TMG plant will be ready in August 2014.
Meanwhile, Solvay Specialty Polymers in the US has unveiled a new high-performance polyester compound that delivers higher heat and light stability than competitive materials for LED televisions. The Lavanta compounds are an extension of Solvay’s high-performance polyester line that includes Xydar liquid crystal polymer (LCP) for electronic components such as connectors.
The firm says a growing trend among television manufacturers is to use fewer LEDs to reduce cost. This is accomplished by sending higher amperage (current) through the LED, resulting in significantly higher junction temperatures above 100°C and greater brightness. Previously used materials are unable to withstand the higher heat and light output, discolouring prematurely in applications such as reflector cups.
The first grade in the series, Lavanta 5115 WH 011, is a 15% glass fibre-reinforced injection moulding compound developed specifically for LED electronic packaging applications that utilise surface mount technology. The material has high reflectivity (greater than 95%) with whiteness retention even after thermal and light ageing. This gives it reliability for LEDs that operate at high junction temperatures.
It can also fill very thinwall sections required for low-profile, side-view LEDs. It also has good dimensional stability due to its low moisture absorption and weld line strength.
In the near future, Solvay plans to expand the Lavanta product series with an enhanced version with greater heat and light stability for longer product life and reliability. In addition to LED TV applications, the material is targeted for general lighting for indoor and outdoor applications.