Jeremy Ng, managing director-R&D, Panasonic Semiconductor Development Asia, tells EFY bureau, the potential of LED drivers market in India
AUGUST 2011: Q. How do you see India as a market for LED drivers? What is the potential?
A. We see a very vibrant market for LED drivers with tremendous potential to grow in various sectors such as general lighting, automotive lighting and industrial lighting.
Q. Do you see India just as a consumer market for LED drivers or would you also like to reach out to design engineers’ community in India, which in turn can influence the sales in manufacturing hubs such as China and Taiwan?
A. We definitely want to reach out to the engineers in India who have the capability to build their own LED drivers. This is one of the reasons why we have been advertising about our LED driver and conducting seminars in India.
With the fast adoption of LEDs in India, we believe that manufacturers need to design their own solutions to differentiate from competitors and also to customise to India’s requirement. Panasonic is committed to serve the Indian consumer market with its LED driver solutions. We are most willing to work with the local design engineers’ community to raise India’s capabilities to influence the sales beyond India.
Q. What are the latest technological changes that have happened in LED drivers?
A. LED drivers are becoming more general-purpose and flexible to cater to several applications. Higher integration, high efficiency, high current accuracy, power factor correction and lesser external components including elimination of E-Caps are some of the latest features in LED drivers.
Q. How is Panasonic placed in the Indian market?
A. We are determined to increase our existence by maximising the customer’s value through our close support and relationship with them. Panasonic has been increasing its presence for the consumer products in Indian market in the recent years. However, as regards Panasonic Semiconductor, we are still rather new in the market. Not everyone knows that Panasonic manufactures semiconductors and therefore we are still building our awareness level in the Indian market.
Q. What is Panasonic’s strategy for promoting their LED drivers in India?
A. We will implement the following strategies so as to provide our customers not only LED drivers but other semiconductor products as well:
1. Strong relationships and partnerships with our Indian distributors and local entrepreneurs to directly cater to local needs.
2. Provide comprehensive technical support.
3. Provide total solutions to customers.
4. Shorten the time-to-market for customer.
Q. What are the key things to look out for when deciding on LED driver solution?
A. Regardless of the target applications, a solution which maximises the power-efficiency is a good point to start. The solution should also be design-flexible such that it can be implemented in multiple LED lighting applications. This eases the design process and shortens the duration of design. From the view-point of reducing maintenance costs and improving the lifetime of LED lighting system, select solutions which have minimal parallel LED strings.
Q. With Indian consumers preferring end-to-end and customised solutions, does Panasonic face any limitations?
A. Panasonic has no issues in providing end-to-end and customised solutions to customers. Although it is challenging for the local customers to source for the specific components in India, Panasonic is working to overcome this issue.
Q. What are the unique features of Panasonic LED drivers as compared to other solutions available in the market?
A. Our ‘multi-mode’ LED driver AN30888A can be used from 1 watt to about 60-70 watt LED driver applications. It can be configured in buck, boost or buck-boost modes as per customer’s requirements. Customers do not have to source or stock multiple LED drivers for their different applications. By doing this they can bring down their sourcing and inventory costs. Moreover, with low number of external components the e-BOM cost of our solutions are among the most competitive in the market.
Our LED solutions offer low-cost advantage and ease of design, and our technical staff can provide strong support to achieve customers’ design requirements.
Q. What kind of challenges are you facing in India and how are you handling them?
A. The challenge that we face in India when selling the LED drivers is the huge volume of enquiries from various manufacturers with small production quantity. This can be labeled as ‘high-mix, low-volume.’
Q. Price has been a major hindrance for mass applications of LED lights. Do you see LED prices going down in the next two years?
A. With the increasing trend of LED luminaries for lighting in infrastructures, automotive and general-purpose use, the price of LED is forecast to drop in the coming years.
Q. Where do you see Indian LED market five years down the line?
A. We expect the main cities to shift to LED lighting with the support from government. With the emphasis on being eco-friendly, we think that LED market in India has great potential, especially in the areas of general lights, street lights and other high-power industrial segments. In addition, India’s automotive sector also has the potential for using LED lighting.