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Nichia, the 30th anniversary of the invention of the high brightness blue LED, the light that changed the world

30 August 2023

Nichia’s hi-brighteness blue led invention has revolutionised the lighting sector and as pioneer at Quality of  Light continuously launched innovative products. The meeting of the ROAD SHOW held in Milan, was not only a great occasion to celebrate a significant milestone in the history of lighting, but also the opportunity to grab some insights about how Nichia continues to ride the wave of success directly from whom enjoys a privileged point of view and knows in deep all its department: development, production, logistics, sales, marketing and so on. 

 

Insights from

Takashi Onishi, Vice President, Nichia Europe

Yuji Itsuky, General Manager Nichia Corporation

 

Nichia is not only a proud supplier to LED lighting: this would be too narrow a view of the company. The application diversity drives scale and profitability giving Nichia the ability to wheater all sorts of market challeges and mantain its solid foothold. At a time when instability dominated manufacturing globally, Nichia remained a stable, balanced and diversified manufacturer. In 1988, after twenty plus years of producing phopshoros for fluorescent lighting and TVs, Nichia established a plant dedicated to the future of LED tecnology.

 

Staff Editoriale: What was the moment LED switched from pure efficiency to more quality?

Mr Onishi brings us back to “History of the Blue LED”: “During the 1993, thanks to many different factors NICHIA was able to control Advanced Chip Technology, and Advanced Packaging Technology and achieved something experts sayd wouldn’t be seen before the end of the century: the world’s first high luminous nitride blue LED”. “This was the missing piece thanks to which it was possible to lay the foundations for the commercialization of new products and subsequently for the creation of a real new market in the field of the lighting sector and general lighting”.

 

Staff Editoriale: In a matter of three years achieved a next great advance, the development of the first White LED. A new era in Lighting was born.

Mr Onishi In 1996, the white LED was developed by Nichia. Since then the company has been committed to continuous improvement of LED technology in order to develop new products and meet new demands for quality of light”.

 

Staff Editoriale: Both of you remarked that two key words made the difference in market competition providing Nichia a significant edge over others who were just were trying to survive. In particular the complete control of the spectral distribution and customization of packaging of its LED.

Mr. Onishi continues and quickly goes over some basic steps “Since 1996 The White LED by NICHIA initialized at least three different waves of innovation: concerning the general illumination it paved the way to the quality of light, it’s function and the Human Centric Lighting topic, then many different consumer application (e.g. displays, thin, curved) and finally products specifically dedicated to the automotive sector thanks to digitalization and miniaturization”.

Mr. Itsuky adds: “For all these reasons today it is possible to find Nichia LEDs in homes, schools, officies, city streets, hospital, stores, in stadiums and beyond”.

 

Staff Editoriale: when and to what end did you realize that CRI became so important?

Mr Itsuki explained that one of the main end in Nichia was to look at ways to control the spectral distribution to creat light that has the look and feel of an incandescent bulb.  “The final result should have been a color and quality of light “looking right” when everybody could have known it simply seeing it”. Mr Itsuki continues his reasoning going into the concrete of one of the most recent product developments: “Thanks to H6 developed early in 2020 Nichia was able to offer the true alternative to the tricolor fluorescent lamp”. “H6 increased the Ra from 80 to 90  while maintaining the efficacy of Ra 80 by introducing Trigain technology”.

A clear example in this perspective is given by people age as the crystal lenses of their eyes turn yellow. As a result, the transmittance of violet – blueish-green decreases with age, and objects become appear yellowish.

Mr Itsuki: “Nichia made the Clear-White color with ”Less Yellow” spectrum. Clear-White color (7800K) has less luminous flux than Standard Ra80 (6500K) by 5%. However! the most of elderly people feel Clear-White color much brighter than Standard. Because the luminous flux is just one factor of the brightness, but it is not the whole. The shape of the spectrum, CRI and the chromaticity point are also important factors. A really good light is one that is perfectly suited for its purpose”.

All this strengthed the potential of the Clear White Color and rised the expectation of use in multiple different contexts: from nursing homes, on stairs in buildings and apartments, during reading or in dining rooms. This kind of results comes from the deeply integration of different sectors in the company. Nichia’s vertical integration immediatly appeard during the short interview as a key of its success. In Nichia nothing is otsourced or left to chance. Quality it is totally internally controlled and derives from a vast portfolio of intellectual property which ensures and sustain growth.

 

Further information here

 

Thanks to the direct contribution of:

Takashi Onishi, currently the VP in Nichia Europe specializing in business planning, sales, and marketing in the LED industry. Prior to his move to the European headoffice, Onishi-san was the General Manager of Nichia America Corporation. With strong leadership abilities, Onishi-san strengthened customer relationships and developed new leading products.

Yuji Itsuki, General Manager of the Marketing Group at Nichia Corporation in Tokushima, Japan. He has played a crucial role in guiding customers on optimal usage of NICHIA phosphor to unleash its full potential. In the past decade, Itsuki-san seamlessly transitioned to supporting LED customers as the General Lighting industry shifted from fluorescent to LED technology. Leveraging his knowledge in coordinating light with phosphors, he continues to excel in ensuring optimal LED performance and customer satisfaction.

 

Other sources directly and indirectly cited:

“Lighting the way for generations.” Commercial Brocure by Nichia Corporation

“The blue LED and how it shaped the world of illumination” Presentation given by  Xavier Denis Head of Technical Marketing Nichia Europe (Milan, 28/06/2023)

“Discover what’s next in lighting innovations” Presentation given by Kenta Niki Sales & Marketing Manager Nichia Europe (Milan, 28/06/2023)

Roadshow in Collaboration with Welt Electronic S.p.A, distribution partner of Nichia (Milan, 28/06/2023)

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