22 March 2012

Linde LienHwa China to supply ammonia to Xiamen-based LED maker Kaistar

Gases and engineering firm The Linde Group of Munich, Germany saysthat its joint venture Linde LienHwa (LLH) China with Taiwan’s LienHwa MiTAC Group has strengthened its commitment to LED manufacturing via an exclusive supply agreement to deliver bulk gases and high-purity ammonia (NH3) to the new production facility in Xiamen of Kaistar.

Kaistar is a joint venture of Epistar Corp of Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park (Taiwan’s largest LED chipmaker) and China Electronics Corp (CEC), a state-owned conglomerate under the direct administration of central government (spun off from the former Ministry of Electronics Industry in 1989, and the largest state-owned IT company in China, with over 70,000 staff).

Specialist high-purity gases are crucial for the manufacture of LEDs, says Linde. In particular, ultra-high-purity ammonia is used to ensure the highest-quality LEDs, since oxygen-containing molecules such as moisture - even in trace quantities - can significantly reduce their light output.

Kaistar’s new facility will be constructed near to Linde’s ultra-high-purity ammonia plant in Xiamen (opened in 2010) to meet demand from the fast-growing Chinese LED industry. Using technology for purification, packaging and analytical methodology, the facility is the first operating plant in China to produce ultra-high-purity ammonia.

The Chinese LED market will reach US$6.9bn in 2012 and up to US$11.1bn by 2015 - equivalent to a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.7% - estimates analyst group iSuppli. This rapid growth is reinforced by lucrative incentives and funding led by the Chinese government and subsidies provided by local governments to stimulate the country’s LED manufacturing industry.

The first subsidy policy on LED general lighting applications is jointly conceived by the China NDRC (National Development and Reform Commission) and the Ministry of Treasury, totalling RMB8bn, and is planned for launch in 2012. The policy to stimulate the end-market is expected to further expedite the penetration of LEDs in general lighting, creating domestic demand for the vast capacity of LED supply built in the past two years.

Linde says that its ammonia plant guarantees security of supply to Kaistar’s new facility and to other LED makers’ facilities as the growth of the local LED industry continues. The plant, which has an initial capacity of 500 tonnes per year, produces ultra-high-purity ammonia at the 7N (99.99999%) level.

To help reduce the cost of manufacturing and to ensure consistently stable high purity, Kaistar will use Linde’s new SpectraPure high-flow ammonia delivery system, which provides the very high flow rates and cost-effective logistics required for high-volume manufacturing in today’s large fabs, with integral purification helping to improve process consistency and ensuring the highest available purity supply to Kaistar’s facility, Linde says.

The agreement between LLH China and Kaistar is an extension of Linde’s existing relationship with LienHwa MiTAC Group, i.e. the joint venture Linde LienHwa (LLH) Taiwan (which is already one of Epistar’s biggest suppliers of high-purity gases).

“Kaistar will become one of the world's leading LED total solution providers, making this exclusive agreement our most significant gas supply contract in the LED sector to date,” believes Andrew Lau, president & general manager of LLH China. “As LED chip manufacturers look to adopt more advanced, cost-effective and energy-efficient manufacturing processes, the demand for Linde’s leading gas solutions will continue to grow. We are confident that our ammonia supply capabilities in Xiamen are able to meet a wide range of LED customer needs,” he adds.

“With the fast development of the global LED industry, our new facility in Xiamen enables us to capitalize on the huge growth potential of this space in China, especially in the close partnership with Taiwan business,” says Kaistar’s deputy general manager Ren Liu.

Tags: Linde Group Ultra-high-purity ammonia Kaistar LEDs

Visit: www.linde-gas.com/electronics

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