Oki to increase investment in LEDs

July 6, 2009
Oki’s new cleanroom will result in a fourfold increase in production capacity, accelerating its printer business and helping to develop new LED-related businesses.
Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd., a Japan-based printer manufacturer, plans to increase its LED production for print heads used in its non-impact printers, and enhance new LED-related businesses.

The company says this will be achieved by acquiring an LED production facility in Japan’s Takasaki City in Gunma Prefecture with a ‘clean room’ that is approximately twice the area of its currently-used facility.

Oki says that it aims to further enhance its non-impact printer business, in addition to developing new businesses using LED technology, such as displays.

Hideichi Kawasaki, president of Oki Electric Industry, said “I believe that increasing our LED production capacity will enable us to apply our competitive LED technology not only to our printers but also to new areas, such as ultra small displays, where growth is expected.”

He added that the company has been revamping its business structure. “We now focus on two business areas: ‘info-telecom converged business’ and ‘mechatronics business,’ which is represented by ATMs and printers. We have been shifting resources and creating strong technologies and solutions to achieve robust business growth.”

Oki’s LED technology is currently used in the print heads as a light source for its non-impact printers. The company has also developed Epi Film Bonding (EFB) technology, which uses intermolecular bonding forces to join thin-film materials without the need for adhesives. Oki was the first in the world to successfully manufacture this technology for commercial use, and expects to deploy it in various applications.

In order to expand, Oki Digital Imaging Corp. (ODI) will acquire at the end of November 2009 a former semiconductor front-end process line from Renesas Technology Corp. Operations at the new location in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture are scheduled to start in April 2010.

“With a clean room that doubles our current capacity, Oki Data expects to boost its LED print head production by fourfold. This will help us double our non impact printer sales by the fiscal year ending March 2012,” said Harushige Sugimoto, President and CEO of Oki Data.

The average annual growth rate of the global non impact printer market (excluding ink jet) for business-use, is said to be 5%, and the market size will increase from 21 million units in 2009 to about 25 million units in 2013.