Organic electroluminescence (EL) is the next-generation lighting that allows for a wide range of applications, such as illumination pasted on the ceiling and illumination of advertising display of a shop, and it does not get hot. However, the high production cost is the biggest drawback.
Mitsubishi Chemical will mass produce organic EL in alliance with Pioneer toward the end of 2013. The two companies have been working together to develop a mass production technology since 2010, and successfully developed a new technology to produce an organic EL panel by applying organic substances to the glass. They will construct a pilot plant with an investment of 1.5 billion yen by the summer to test the new technology for one year. They can currently produce a 13 cm square organic EL sheet that is 9 mm thick at about 50,000 yen on trial, and they plan to reduce the production cost to less than 5,000 yen in one year.
Kaneka will introduce vacuum coating equipment that deposits luminescence materials on the glass substrate efficiently and review thoroughly such components as glass substrate and luminescence material to reduce the production cost of a 10 cm square organic EL panel to less than 5,000 yen. Konica Minolta developed an organic EL panel with better luminous efficiency than the existing EL panel in 2011. The company is developing a mass production technology to be put into practical use after 2014.
A 60W electric light bulb is merely 100 yen, and an LED bulb with the same brightness is 2,500 yen. An organic EL bulb with the same brightness costs 300,000-750,000 yen. Accordingly, developing new applications besides reducing production cost is indispensable. According to a survey company, the domestic market of EL lighting is supposed to be 1.1 billion yen in 2012, but it is estimated to be 108.5 billion yen in 2020. Although Korean companies are one step ahead of Japanese companies in commercializing organic EL panels for TVs and smartphones, Japanese companies are pressing hard on them.
Organic EL ligting