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Epistar Promotes Co-Activation Service Model and Develops Driver on Board Chip Technology

Competition in the LED market has been heating up with China-based LED firms aggressively integrating the whole supply chain vertically from chips to packaging to modules. China-based firms are able to provide one-stop-shop services and use low-price strategies to expand their presence in the LED application market. This is negatively impacting Taiwan’s LED makers, especially small- and medium-size packaging and module firms, who are experiencing shrinking market share. Against this backdrop, Taiwan-based LED chipmaker Epistar began promoting Co-activation Service Model three years ago hoping to turn the tide by teaming up with Taiwan-based packaging and module firms.

Virtual vertical integration of the supply chain

The core concept of Epistar’s Co-activation Service Model is virtual vertical integration. In this business model, it is Epistar that mainly receives projects from clients and coordinates cooperation with other firms. “We will evaluate the project’s needs, find the most suitable packaging and module firms that we can work with, and build an optimized supply chain for partners to sell the products or to provide OEM services,” according to Ita Lin, associate vice president of Epistar’s Marketing Center.

In reality, due to issues concerning the company size, sales, marketing, and brand recognition, it is difficult for Taiwan-based small- and medium-size packaging or module firms to obtain orders from well-known lighting firms or mobile device back lighting suppliers. In contrast, Epistar is a world-leading LED chip maker and has established a strong brand image and trust within the industry, allowing it to play a leading role in the virtual vertical integration for the Taiwan LED industry in its completion against others in the world.

HV DoB is popular in the market

Due to the demand aforementioned, Epistar currently relies on Co-activation Service Model to mainly promote driver on board (DoB) solutions with high-voltage (HV) chips. The one big advantage of  HV chips is their ability to operate under HV direct current, hence in the process of turning alternative current (AC) into direct current (DC) there is no need to dramatically lower the voltage. This also means the chip does not require expensive drivers but can rely on linear driver circuits. In fact, in the 2014 Frankfurt Light + Building exhibition, some of Epistar’s major customers such as Philips and other Europe- and US-based firms showcased HV linear lighting products.

The DoB technology is to package power drivers directly onto the circuit board which can help minimize the size of the light source. This means the integration of  HV chips into the DoB can greatly lower BoM costs and simplify designs. The DoB module introduced by the Co-activation Service Model provided by Epistar and its fellow partners can be immediately used after the lighting fixture firm takes delivery and puts two screws on it. This greatly lowers the entry barriers faced by traditional lighting fixture firms in the LED lighting market, and therefore this solution is quite popular.