Packaged LED news: Lumileds raises prices, Cree and Nichia actions (UPDATED)

April 1, 2020
Global economic forces have Lumileds raising LED prices, while Cree is addressing TV sports lighting and Nichia has upgraded its UV portfolio.

Lumileds has notified its LED customers that it is raising prices by 4% due to increased costs related to what the company called the current financial pressures and global macroeconomic conditions. Cree, meanwhile, has continued to evolve the performance of its LEDs across the mid-to-high-power segments and claims to be the first company binning high-power LEDs based on the TLCI (Television Lighting Consistency Index) standard. Nichia has demonstrated upgraded ultraviolet (UV) LEDs that it says can power solid-state lighting (SSL) sterilization applications.

Lumileds pricing

While Lumileds did not explicitly cite the coronavirus as an impetus for its LED price increase, the pandemic is clearly one major factor impacting business up and down the supply chain. The company said it has faced cost increases in “transportation, raw materials, components, and other inputs” that together are driving component costs up.

The price increase will go into effect Apr. 15. It will be in effect for both the LED Solutions Business Unit that supplies general lighting applications and for Lamps and Accessories in the Automotive Business Unit.

Like other LED makers, Lumileds had faced challenging times recently with price erosion and the trade war with China. Indeed, Steve Barlow, president of the LED Solutions Business Unit, wrote a column for us recently discussing the current challenges and the opportunities ahead. Of course, neither Barlow, our staff, nor anyone else knew the scope of the challenges our industry would be dealing with at the time the article was written.

Cree upgrades

We are working on a packaged-LED-focused article for our May issue of the magazine and we will cover a number of LED advancements there. Still, we wanted to mention some activity at Cree. As is its custom, Cree evolves LED performance continuously. And the company has hit 224 lm/W in the J Series 2835 mid-power LEDs.

Cree also added versions of the high-power XLamp XP-L2 and XHP50.2 LEDs intended specifically to light professional sports playing surfaces. The XP-L2 is Cree’s highest-performing single-emitter discrete LED. The XHP50.2 is the highest performing four-emitter device in a discrete package and the dot two version came out four years back.

Sports venues require high-output and quality lighting, as we have noted repeatedly. The lighting must work for the players on the field, spectators in the standards, and perhaps most significantly for TV cameras. The European Broadcast Union (EBU) developed TLCI because specifications for color rendering and brightness developed for the human eye don’t translate to a TV camera. Now Cree offers 90–95-CRI LEDs that are binned for TV.

Nichia UV products

Back to the coronavirus pandemic, the situation has brought news from every angle regarding SSL approaches to killing the pathogen. UV-C radiation in the 100–280-nm range will kill the pathogen, but of course challenges remain in component cost, performance, lifetime, and more. Moreover, UV-C can’t be utilized where people are present.

Still, companies are reporting increased interest in their UV components with the latest such announcement coming from Nichia. The company said that it has upgraded the performance of its NCSU334A 280-nm LED to 55 mW at 350 mA of drive current.

*Updated Apr. 1, 2020 2:03 PM for Lumileds business unit clarification.