By BizLED Bureau
Jan 26, 2016: While the LED industry is growing globally, the manufacturing tool market is facing the challenge of making tools more efficient and cost-effective.
However, the increasing demand for LED products has been proving beneficial for the manufacturers of metal organic chemical-vapor deposition (MOCVD) tools that are required for LED manufacturing.
The demand for sophisticated tools are rising because the LED manufacturers are not been able to keep up with the increasing demand with their existing machinery. Hence, they are going in for new and sophisticated machinery. Companies like Veeco in the US and Aixtron in Germany that hold about 90% of the MOCVD market, are getting orders particularly from Chinese LED manufacturers like Sanan as, according to industry analysts, China is trying to become the “LED Valley,” where many companies are manufacturing end products for LED companies in the West.
How the tool makers reacting to the demand?
While the LED market is picking up fast, tool makers are also making efforts to ramp up their production. LED fab equipment vendors also also under pressure from the customers to lower their tool cost-of-ownership.
With the aim to meet this high demand, MOCVD manufacturers are making efforts to minimize the time required for wafer-level epitaxy, and also improving device uniformity. The tool manufacturers are facing the challenge of making reactors that can support different wafer sizes as well as substrates that are recently being used in LED manufacturing.
Uniformity is an important issue for the MOCVD makers because it enables LEDs with matching flux and color profiles. Uniformity also increases productivity, thereby, reducing manufacturing costs.
Majority of LED manufacturers has been using GaN-on-sapphire technology, but in the last five years there has been a shift. Many manufacturers also use silicon as it is cost-effective as it allows the use of existing IC manufacturing equipment and techniques.
The increased demand in the LED lighting market has also impacted the MOCVD tool makers. To meet the rising demand in this space, MOCVD tool makers have advanced their tools, made efficient investment, and improved performance in terms of throughput and uniformity.
For example, Aixtron next-generation MOCVD system AIX R6 has been designed to manufacture production LEDs based on GaN and can be delivered in 12×6-, 31×4-, 121×2-inch wafer configurations. The company has equipped it with various technical innovations and claims that the new tool will lower operational costs significantly, and simplify the manufacturing process.
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