German firm Oram Licht AG reported that Osram’s new LED chip factory in Kulim, Malaysia, has begun operation as previously scheduled for the end of 2017. “We are both on schedule and within budget,” noted Olaf Berlien, CEO of Osram Licht AG, during the opening ceremony in Kulim.
“Given our enormous recent growth rates of 19 percent in the LED business, we are pleased to have the new production capacities. Our investment in Kulim also attests to the technology shift and our transition to becoming a high-tech corporation: At the beginning of this decade, conventional lighting still accounted for 80 percent of Osram’s business. Today, two-thirds of our sales are based on optical semiconductors.”
Back in November 2015, as part of its Diamond growth and innovation initiative, Osram announced plans to construct the new LED chip factory in Kulim. So, just two years after the announcement and one and a half years after the ground-breaking ceremony, the modular, expandable factory has now been put into operation.
The company invested a total of €370 million in the first stage of completion and can further expand the factory in two additional stages for a total investment cost of up to one billion euros depending on the demand. The additional expansion would also include an increase of LED assembly capacities in Osram’s global factory alliance.
Aldo Kamper, CEO of Osram Opto Semiconductors business unit, boasted about the enormous production capacity in Kulim, “With one week’s production we could completely retrofit the street lighting of the metropolises New York, Rio, Hong Kong and Berlin with LEDs.”
Osram’s new factory in Kulim will manufacture blue LED chips. Such chips utilizing a converter layer can generate white light. Osram produces these converted white emitting LEDs for general lighting including the previously mentioned public street lighting, façade lighting, private and commercial interior and exterior lighting, and billboards, as well as for specialized applications such as horticulture lights.
Osram says that the white LED chips produced in Kulim on 6-inch wafers in the medium term will go into premium applications, such as automotive lighting and video projection.
Company Also Investing in Expansion of Six Existing LED Production Sites
The company also revealed that it is currently investing worldwide in expanding its existing six LED production sites. For this reason, Osram is plans to expand its plant in Regensburg, which currently employs about 2500, and will hire up to 1,000 additional employees. At the Regensburg facility, the company plans to fabricate premium LED chips and laser diodes, which are used, for example, in high-quality car headlights.
Osram also intends to produce infrared diodes for sensors that can be utilized in applications such as facial recognition in mobile phones, or for proximity control and intelligent assistance systems in cars. Furthermore, Osram announced plans to expand its site in Schwabmünchen and will produce LED primary materials in clean rooms there.
In addition, Osram also has another manufacturing plant for LED primary products in Exeter, New Hampshire.
The company also indicated that in Wuxi, China, it is growing its capacity for assembling LED chips into complete LEDs packages with a housing and partly with primary optics. Additional packaging and assembling of LEDs is performed at the company’s site in Penang, Malaysia, located near Kulim.