Resources | LpR Article | Commentary | Business | LEDs | Trends | Mar 13, 2017

From Component to System, Andreas Weisl, CEO at Seoul Semiconductor Europe GmbH

The history of Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) is quite short compared with some other electronic device industries. However, it has changed and revolutionized the entire world of light within a very short period of time. The history of Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) is quite short compared with some other electronic device industries. However, it has changed and revolutionized the entire world of light within a very short period of time.

LEDs didn’t start out as lighting applications but rather the colored indicator lights used for consumer electronics and automotive interiors. Before the invention of the so-called InGan based semiconductor in the 1990’s it wasn’t possible to develop LEDs creating blue light, which is the basis for white light. At the beginning, efficacy was so low that there were serious doubts about whether it would be possible to meet future lighting requirements either in general lighting or automotive exterior lighting.

The similarities to the traditional semiconductor business, also in terms of development, production and sales structures, and taking Moore’s Law into consideration as an indicator for the semiconductor industry, the question of how fast LED components will develop every decade was raised. According to the Haitz Law, the LED counterpart to Moore’s Law, the cost per lumen falls by a factor of 10 every decade with the amount of light generated, increasing by a factor of 20. Haitz’s Law predicts an exceptional improvement in semiconductors used in LED technology. This was advantageous for semiconductor manufacturers because it meant they could rely on their long-time experience and competence in the industry that is now benefiting from booming LED trends.

As a consequence, it wasn’t long before the LED could be used for low efficacy illumination. And a few years later LEDs were brought to the market with highly developed efficacy, luminosity and light quality. Today, LEDs can easily compete with or even outperform conventional light sources. At the same time new form factors and extended life times compared to conventional lighting technologies, has been achieved. This has facilitated completely new lighting applications.

New technologies such as AC solutions and interconnectivity are becoming increasingly important - enabling completely new application and form factors in regards to developments in the areas of Smart Lighting, Human Centric Lighting, LiFi, IoT and more complex, smarter city concepts.

Many semiconductor manufacturers have identified potential synergies and entered the LED market in order to combine the knowledge of their previous business approaches with new business chances due to their competency in traditional semiconductor manufacturing and also in terms of the digitalisation of light.

A future trend will be to fulfil the requirements of new solutions while making end device manufacturers’ lives easier. Power of innovation and a good time-to-market approach are today’s success factors. Companies like Seoul Semiconductor have found that offering module solutions, especially customized solutions, based on technologies enables customers to realize their results faster than by just using LED components. Limited resources in customer companies need intelligent, reliable and easy to handle solutions in order to meet their requirements and help their business grow. Pure LED component manufacturers often do not have the capability to follow this trend. Only solution providers can help customers to find any solution they need.

By focussing on module solutions in order to meet global market and customer requirements, solution providers are helping their customers to stay ahead of the competition and they are very often first to market. However, this should be the only step forward in regards to forward integration so they don’t end up competing with their own customers. From a component to a system – the ideal solution.

Andreas Weisl
Andreas Weisl (38), former Vice President Europe of Korean LED manufacturer Seoul Semiconductor (SSC), has taken on the position of CEO at Seoul Semiconductor Europe GmbH based Munich, Germany, with effect from November 11, 2016. In his role as General Manager for Central and Northern Europe since 2010, and as Vice President Europe since 2014, Mr. Weisl is part of the SSC executive and is responsible for business developments in Europe. Mr Weisl looks back on more than eleven years of experience in the area of LEDs before coming to SSC in 2010. Previously he served as a manager, among other roles, at Osram Opto Semiconductors.