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    Everlight plans to commercialize automotive LED headlamp by 3Q 08

    By Siu Han and Greg Wu

    LED packaging house Everlight Electronics – in cooperation with Hua-chuang Automobile Information Technical Center (Haitec), an affiliate of local Taiwan automobile firm Yulon Group – claims that it has successfully resolved issues concerning heat-dissipation for LED headlamps, and Everlight estimates that the LED headlamp will soon pass heat-dissipation tests and be ready for commercialization by the third quarter of 2008.

    LED lamps used in automobiles can be grouped into two categories, interior and exterior lighting. In the past LED lamps were applied in interior lights such as reading lights, dashboard illumination and UV light catalysts. Recently, LED lamp usage in automobiles has been extended to exterior lights such as for brake lighting, direction signals and headlights. The LED headlight in Audi's R8 sport car was developed by Magneti Marelli with LED modules supplied by Philips Lumileds lighting and OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, Chinese-language Tech-On recently cited Allen Cheng, a researcher at Taiwan`s Automotive Research & Testing Center (ARTC) as saying.


    The Lexus LS 600 luxury sedan is another example of a car that has successfully employed an LED headlamp application, noted Cheng. The LS600's LED headlight adopts several heat-dissipation solutions to counter the high temperatures seen in the engine compartment, with cooling solutions including cooling fans, pure-water circulating cooling pipes, structural changes in the LED chip design, and adoption of glass packaging materials for LEDs, he added.

    Major companies in the market such as Nichia, Osram, and Lumileds are currently working with automotive partners to get a big share of the market that is expected to be worth US$1 billion by 2014, according to research firm Strategy Analytics (SA). SA contends that vehicle lighting and driver information applications will see the highest growth rates because they require higher priced high brightness (HB) LEDs for exterior lighting assemblies and LCD display backlighting.

    Before working on headlamps, Everlight successfully made inroad into LED lamp usage in direction signal lights and brake lights, according to Robert Yeh, chairman of Everlight Electronics. He also stated that the company spent five years passing the direction signal light certification tests for Mercedes Benz and BMW, as those lights need to function properly at a temperature of minus 20-100 degree centigrade. Yeh noted that profit margins for this type of application can exceed 50% due to the high barrier of entry.

    Everlight became even more aggressive in the automotive market at the end of 2006, when joined together with Haitec for research and development of LED headlamp applications, which are considered the most difficult automotive LED solutions to resolve successfully.

    Haitec expects to release the first car model with Everlight's LED headlamps and Foxconn Technology's heat-dissipation device by the end of 2008, according to the company. In addition, in order to make inroads into the China automobile market, Haitec is looking to introduce Everlight's LED headlamps to Dongfeng Motor, a Top-3 automobile group in China.


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