First Full-Cycle LED Device Production Plant Opens in Kazakhstan

ASTANA – Last month, Chairman of the Board of Samruk Kazyna Umirzak Shukeyev took part in the opening ceremony of a new plant for the production of lighting devices based on light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the Astana-New City Special Economic Zone. The LED System Media plant was built pursuant to the 2010-14 State Programme for Accelerated Industrial and Innovative Development (PAIID), as well as in connection with the adoption of the Law on Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency.

The American SemiLEDs Company, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of LEDs, has become a technical partner of the enterprise. The Parasat National Science and Technology Holding has become a technology partner on a transfer.

The LED System Media Company has organised full-cycle production of LEDs and LED lights based on technology from the American SemiLEDs Company. At present, the unique enterprise has no parallels in Kazakhstan.

Among the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Russia has several companies producing LEDs. Azerbaijan launched a new plant to produce solar panels and LED-lamps on April 24. In its initial stage, the plant is to produce 120,000 solar panels, 36 million LED chips and 12 million LED lamps per year.

At the domestic plant complex, the entire process of producing LEDs will be highly technological, conducted in four stages and aimed at developing nanotechnology in Kazakhstan. One of the stages of assembling LEDs is assembling surface-mounted devices or SMDs. SMD technology is a process of making electronic devices in which chip components are mounted on printed circuit boards. Nowadays, this technology is the most common method of constructing and assembling electronic components for printed circuit boards.

The plant is equipped with all modern technologies. It has SMD-assembly equipment with a capacity of 40,000 components per hour, equipment for producing high-brightness LEDs with a capacity of 1 million units per month and a workshop for assembling the finished products.

“The production capacity of the equipment using SMD-technology is 40,000 components per hour; the boards for various electronic devices such as cell phones, iPhones [and] TVs can be equipped with chip cards on an automatic line. It produces not only LED bars and modules, but also power supplies and electronic devices,” Director General of the LED System Media Company Amangeldi Taukenov said.

Automatic lines apply chip components quickly and accurately on any electronic board, including boards for cell phones, iPhones, iPads and other modern devices. The motherboards, equipped with chips, serve as sources of light for the device.

The plant’s products will be street, industrial, office and various types of lighting devices. Experts believe LED lights have great benefits, including saving 3-3.5 times the energy of other lights, 15 years of service life, environmental friendliness and safety.

“LED is the most promising kind of lighting in the world. The service life is 50,000 operating hours or 15 years on average. In addition, it is completely safe, unlike fluorescent lamps that contain mercury,” Taukenov noted.

Currently, the second stage of production is underway, during which equipment for recycling mercury-containing lamps will be installed at the plant. In addition, workshops for quality control of products, producing plastic cases (using thermoplastic automats) and manufacturing metal cases (using machines, presses, ultra-precise laser welding machines and paint chambers) and a production line of autonomous lighting systems based on wind turbines will be built at the plant.

According to Taukenov, 5-10 percent of the content of the lamps will be foreign and the rest will be domestic. Only chips will be purchased outside of Kazakhstan.

The plant’s output of packaged LEDs is expected to reach one million units per month, which is equal to 250,000 light bulbs. In addition, depending on the wattage, the plant will produce a variety of street lamps, lamps for housing and LED lamps for greenhouses and farms. About 6,000 different LED products are expected to be produced per month. In addition, the enterprise plans to launch production of traffic lights for railways.

“We have signed a Memorandum with Kazakhstan State Railways or Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), under which we will produce LED traffic lights for railways. In addition, we have signed an agreement with the Parasat National Scientific and Technological Holding, which includes dozens of academic and research institutions. In partnership with them, we want to develop our own LED lighting system in Kazakhstan, the first Kazakhstan-made light bulb, and the first Kazakhstan-made LED luminaire that will meet all our requirements, with national colours and design,” Taukenov said.

The enterprise plans to export its products to Central Asia, where the production of LEDs is still in the early stages.

“In view of the fact that our enterprise embodies almost the whole cycle of production of LEDs, we are focusing on the countries of Central Asia, such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and so on. They represent a consumer market for us to which we will export our products soon. We will export to the nearby areas and the border areas of Russia,” Taukenov said.

The enterprise has created 30 new jobs. The company’s specialists have been trained at production sites in Russia and at the American SemiLEDs Company, located in Taiwan.

About 500 million tenge of private investment and public funds have been invested in the project. The plant, which is about three hectares in size, will reach full capacity by mid-2013.

By working with LED System Media Company, Samruk Kazyna will implement a programme for energy efficiency in lighting its subsidiaries and affiliates and will implement a transition to efficient LED lighting, which will allow it to reduce its power consumption.

At present, the cost of a single LED light bulb is 2,000-3,000 tenge (20 dollars). It is expected that after the plant reaches full capacity, the price will decline to 1,000-1,200 tenge (eight dollars).

“We plan to actively encourage the public to use LED lamps. People will be able to give us their used lamps and receive a coupon that will give them a discount for buying a new lamp,” Taukenov said.

According to him, LED products will be cheaper every year and eventually will be consumed by all segments of the population and will ensure a high level of energy efficiency in the country.

Germany, Italy, Sweden, Japan and China are currently developing competitive technology in the world market for consumers with high aesthetic demands for quality, multifunctional sources of light and low-cost products with a wide range of applications.

The Osram Company of Germany recently completed construction of a plant to produce LEDs on an organic basis (OLEDs). The plant, worth 20 million dollars, has already started production and will be able to surprise the market with fresh innovations soon. Osram Company products will have record low prices because the company’s experts have recently invented a way to reduce assembly labour costs by 90 percent. Consequently, the cost of production will fall significantly.

In addition to LEDs, Osram plans to produce transparent organic light-emitting diodes (OLED modules), the average thickness of which will be one-hundredth of a human hair. OLEDs are a source of scattered light, unlike LED-crystals.

The Kaneka Corporation of Japan manufactures OLEDs with a colour temperature of 3,000 kelvin and light output from 12 to 20 lumens. Kaneka Corporation presented its OLED lighting installation, “Infuse,” at the Milano Salone 2013 in Milan last April. In this installation, the goal is not to illuminate an object or display a source of light, but to create an environment defined by an intermediate condition of light. The exhibition area is not so much an interior, but an environment like a landform where the soft light provided by many OLED panels infuses the space, forming a large ‘light-scape.’ Through the use of a detailed light-control programme, a space with shifting changes is created. Lumen Centre of Italy has developed overhead lights of different dimensions in decorative frameworks made from different materials: artificial stone, metal (aluminum or brass) and acrylic glass. They have also developed a “Marine Collection” based on red-green-blue (RGB)-LEDs and micro-LEDs, which are 20 times smaller than ordinary LEDs and may function for 80 years without replacing or recharging the power supply.

Swedish scientists have printed LED chips on paper using nanotechnology, which may allow the technology to be applied to curtains, wallpapers and other flexible surfaces. The unique technology of placing LED chips on paper has become possible with zinc oxide nano-crystals. They are an inexpensive, recyclable and environmentally friendly material.

Experts believe the new technology of printing OLEDs on paper is cheap enough and gives some new perspective to the production of OLEDs, and that this technology may become prevalent in the production of LEDs.

Experts from Phillips 66 and Solarmer Energy in partnership with scientists from the South China University of Technology (SCUT) have set a new world record in power conversion efficiency for polymer-based organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells. Their record of 9.31 percent efficiency is a breakthrough and may signal an opportunity for the commercialisation of organic solar cells technology.

OPV is lightweight, performs better in low light and is easy to manufacture, making it a potentially cost-effective renewable energy technology on par with current conventional energy technologies. These efficient solar cells can be easily made using the so-called roll technology (roll-to-roll processing), which is the process of producing electronic devices on rolls of flexible plastic or metal foil.

Scientists also believe that they will be able to achieve an efficiency of over 10 percent soon. At present, they are focusing their efforts on manufacturing technology with the goal of delivering the first OPV products this year.

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