This post was written by Keith Dawson for UBM Tech’s community Web site All LED Lighting, sponsored by Philips Lumileds. It is archived here because the All LED Lighting site has gone dark. This material is Copyright 2013-2015 by UBM Americas.


DuPont's Big Bet on LEDs

Dupont announced its ability to produce seven times more of its CooLam thermal substrate, used in LED manufacturing, than it was able to supply before.

The company's CooLam thermal substrates are "laminates composed of metal foil and proprietary polyimide dielectric with thermally conductive inorganic fillers bonded to a metal base." They are designed to dissipate heat in submount, chip-on-board, and metal core PCB LED packaging applications. According to DuPont they "provide an ideal insulated metal substrate for high brightness LED lighting." DuPont claims that CooLam has advantages over other thermal solutions, as documented in this 2009 benchmark study.

Until now DuPont has manufactued CooLam in a factory in Towanda, Pennsylvania. The company recently scaled up additional capacity at its "state-of-the-art" production facility at Hsinchu, Taiwan.

The press release quotes industry estimates that LED lighting grew 80 percent from 2011 to 2012 and is expected to gain an additional 50 percent from last year to this. The fact that Dupont is multiplying its CooLam manufacturing by more than 700 percent represents a bet that it can expand the substrate products' market share far faster than the LED market itself is growing.

Reality check
Those of you who know about thermal design for LED packaging: How plausible to you is the story on the DuPont CooLam substrate products? If the material is as good as DuPont claims, how much of a price differential on the bill of materials would it be worth to secure its claimed advantages of long life and improved reliability?

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