Osram's Malaysian LED factory starts up

November 23, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
Osram has brought its 150mm wafer fab for the production of LEDs in Kulim, Malaysia, into production at an initial cost of €370 million (about $440 million).

"We are both on schedule and within budget," said Olaf Berlien, CEO of Osram Licht AG, during the opening ceremony in Kulim on Thursday. "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." 

Osram announced plans for the LED chip factory in November 2015. The wafer fab is modular with the potential for two additional stages bring the total investment above one billion euros (about $1.2 billion).

Aldo Kamper, CEO of Osram's optical semiconductors business unit, commented: "With one week's production we could completely retrofit the street lighting of the metropolises New York, Rio, Hong Kong and Berlin with LEDs." Five and a half years' production at Kulim will produce enough LEDs to upgrade the all the street lighting in the world, the company said.

LED lighting can produce energy savings of 80 percent compared to conventional sodium vapor gas-discharge lights. LED lights can be dimmed and adjusted quickly so empty streets and sidewalks do not always have to be illuminated.

The Osram factory in Kulim will produce blue LED chips which, by means of a phosphor layer, can generate white light. They are produced for general lighting purposes, such as the previously mentioned public street lighting, but also for facade lighting, private and commercial interior and exterior lighting, or for billboards – as well as for special applications such as horticulture lights.

The global LED market for general lighting is forecast to be worth €6 billion in 2018, roughly six percent of which is for street lighting.

Osram also plans to produce LED chips at Kulim for applications, such as automotive lighting and video projection.

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