DOE Publishes 2014 SSL Manufacturing R&D Roadmap

The U.S. Department of Energy published the 2014 Solid-State Lighting
Manufacturing R&D Roadmap. The updated Roadmap complements the SSL R&D
Multi-Year Program Plan that guides the Product Development and Core Technology
R&D programs. One of the roadmap’s goals is to guide the Manufacturing
R&D program and help direct funding solicitations for it. The Roadmap also
offers guidance for material and equipment suppliers, based on industry
consensus about the expected evolution of SSL manufacturing.

Industry feedback for the updated report comes from a series of roundtables
with invited experts and from the attendees of DOE’s SSL Manufacturing R&D
Workshop that was held in May in San Diego. The 2014 Roadmap adds the
discussion of the OLED manufacturing cost model. DOE says it will continue to
update the Roadmap annually in collaboration with industry partners, to provide
an outline of research and process development priorities, and new analysis as
the technology and marketplace evolve.

Download the 2014
Manufacturing Roadmap
.

Luxeon High Power

Navigant Consulting conducted the analysis update. Navigant concluded that
in the U.S. the annual source energy savings from LED lighting in 2013 more
than doubled from the previous year to 188 trillion British thermal units
(BTUs). Navigant points out that this is equivalent to an annual energy cost
savings of about $1.8 billion.

While these current energy savings are significant, market penetration is
still quite modest. Navigant estimates that LED-based A-lamps make up only
about 1 percent of all installed A-lamps. However, the company asserts that
growth is happening rapidly. Navigant also reported that from 2012 to 2013 that
the U.S. installed base of LEDs in general lighting applications had more than
doubled to about 105 million units.

Navigant further concluded this that the 188 trillion BTU savings is a tiny
fraction that of the potential energy savings that complete adoption of SSL
lighting in U.S., 4.1 quadrillion BTU. Navigant says that while widespread
adoption may be several years in the future, the potential reveals the need of
developing a robust, high-capacity manufacturing capability for SSL. Market
adoption is likely to accelerate as prices continue to fall, and unit sales are
expected to increase at a much faster rate than revenues, according to
Navigant.

In response to this energy-saving opportunity, the DOE launched the SSL
manufacturing initiative in 2009 to improve SSL product quality and
consistency, establish a strong SSL manufacturing base, and support reductions
in SSL manufacturing cost in the U.S.

Current projects that the DOE Manufacturing Initiative supports include
Philips Lumileds’ development of patterned sapphire substrate technology
for lighting caliber LEDs, Cree’s development of lower cost integrated
LED luminaires, and OLEDWorks’ development of organic light-emitting
diode (OLED) deposition technology for OLED lighting products. DOE-supported
SSL manufacturing R&D projects cover much of the value chain of SSL
production, including designs for lower costs, process improvements,
manufacturing equipment, testing, and materials.

The DOE engaged the LED community through a “Round-Table” meeting of invited
experts to review the state of LED-SSL manufacturing technology and identify
areas for improvement. The DOE followed the meeting with its SSL Manufacturing
R&D workshop and a post-workshop conference call held among
participants.

The participants drew several conclusions:

  1. Achieving the targeted color point adds complexity and cost to the
    luminaire manufacturing process especially in applications demanding tight
    color control.
  2. Long-term color stability is still poorly understood for LED -based
    lighting products and (probably OLED as well). Mitigating color shift over
    time adds to the cost of LED lighting products. Furthermore, the
    participants report concludes that the ability to understand and predict
    color shift over time would simplify the manufacturing process, reduce
    manufacturing costs, and increase consumer confidence in LED lighting
    products.
  3. Luminaire manufacturing is now putting less emphasis on the lamp-fixture
    paradigm and placing more emphasis on integrated luminaires minimize cost
    and maximize efficiency.
  4. The report concludes that highly flexible luminaire and module
    manufacturing will be needed to accommodate the enormous variety of designs
    that customers demanded. Production lines will have to be efficient and
    cost-effective, even with relatively low numbers for any given product
    variant. The required production line improvements may call for innovative
    and perhaps more flexible manufacturing methods and equipment.
  5. The manufacturing of phosphors and down converters and their process of
    being applied to LEDs is costly, and innovations in this area could
    potentially reduce cost, simplify the manufacturing process, improve color
    quality, increase light output, and improve efficacy.
  6. The domestic OLED community could work together to create a viable OLED
    lighting manufacturing infrastructure and promote consumer acceptance of
    OLED products. Larger volume production is required to exercise the supply
    chain and manufacturing processes in order to identify weaknesses and
    opportunities.
  7. The OLED community is preparing to introduce products for lighting by
    examining the barriers in the adoption of LED lighting and understanding
    the needs of lighting designers and luminaire makers.
  8. OLED fabrication methods including vapor deposition approaches and hybrid
    approaches are being explored. Efforts are underway to promote a panel
    fabrication process solution.

The report concluded that currently, the main challenge for LED lighting is
to continue ramping up production and drive down costs while maintaining
product quality and consistency. The emerging challenge is to demonstrate to
consumers the value that LED technology offers in terms of extended lifetime,
energy consumption and added functionality while avoiding consumer
disappointment.

In the short-term, the expansion of LED lighting manufacturing capacity will
require the refinement of existing manufacturing approaches. Longer-term, it
will require the introduction of innovative approaches to lighting product
design and manufacturing.

The report asserts that the biggest challenge for OLEDs is to develop
acceptable, cost-effective manufacturing processes beyond what is being done
for the manufacturing of OLED displays and build demand by identifying lighting
applications that play to the strengths of OLED technology.