OLEDWorks on the Move in OLED Lighting

The prospects for OLED lighting is getting some serious attention from a company called OLEDWorks (Rochester, NY). They have just announced deals with Corning, Philips and Universal Display to provide new momentum to the category.

Founded in 2010, OLEDWorks has built its production methodology on a novel system that delivers competitive and cost-effective OLED solid state lighting panels, while simultaneously offering flexibility and responsiveness. OLEDWorks was founded by many of the original pioneers in the OLED industry, giving OLEDWorks the unique OLED production experience and insight into manufacturing strategies specifically tailored to lighting.

OLED lighting features large sheets of uniform illumination that can be used in homes but also industry by architects, artists, designers, builders and others. They are thin, offer a nice spectrum of light and can even be transparent when off. This opens up the possibility of adding them to exterior windows – an idea some will want to explore, I am sure.

LEDs are gaining good ground in the lighting and luminaire markets, but these are small and direction lights, for the most part, so a large area light source has a place in many markets.

The deal with Corning is to use its very thin Willow glass as a substrate and hermetic barrier for the OLED luminaire. This should enable flexible and conformable OLED lighting options. Plus, Corning claims that these light panels would provide twice the light output compare to traditional OLED lighting panels. Corning says they have some sort of “light extraction technology” to achieve this.

Last February, OLEDWorks announced a technology licensing deal with Universal Display Corporation. It grants OLEDWorks a non-exclusive license to manufacture and sell phosphorescent OLED lighting products.

The third piece of news is a deal with Royal Philips announced on April 29, 2015. According to the agreement, OLEDWorks has agreed to buy “selected parts of its OLED light source components business.”

Over the coming months, Philips will establish a new legal entity and transfer key parts of its OLED business, including the production facility located in Aachen, Germany, and relevant intellectual property, into it. All shares of the new entity will subsequently be sold to OLEDWorks LLC. Once the new company has been established, OLEDWorks will be granted a license by Philips to market its OLED light source components under the Philips brand. Philips will remain a distributor of the panels through its OEM sales channels.

“The team in Aachen brings OLED expertise in production of quality high brightness panels that complements the OLED heritage and manufacturing innovation of our Rochester team” said David DeJoy, CEO OLEDWorks.

“With our new, expanded team, OLEDWorks will continue to introduce exciting and novel OLED lighting modules that enable, and inspire, innovative luminaire designs. Existing customers will realize continued reliability in performance, delivery and collaboration; new customers can develop differentiated final products with the same support.
In pursuance of our strategic focus we have decided to divest our OLED components development and production to a specialized partner. This will enable us to focus our business and resources on developing innovative connected lighting systems and services for professional and consumer markets,” said Eric Rondolat, CEO Philips Lighting.

Philips has said that it plans to spin off or sell its Lighting division, so this appears to be one of the first steps in this strategy. I just visited the Philips Lighting facility in Turnhout, Belgium where they make UHP lamps for projectors. I will have more to say about a new initiative at this facility soon. (CC)