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As the hardness material of the world after diamonds, sapphire and consumer electronics products began to spark each other. Sapphire has a Mohs hardness of 9 and is 2 hardness level higher than quartz...

International sapphire market and technical forum fire scene

Date: 2016-03-15
Number: 491


As the hardness material of the world after diamonds, sapphire and consumer electronics products began to spark each other. Sapphire has a Mohs hardness of 9 and is 2 hardness level higher than quartz (a.k.a.sands), so it is naturally superior in scratch resistance, especially for the most common sand abrasion performance in real life. It can be said that if the phone uses sapphire as the screen material, then the phenomenon of scratches can be almost permanently eliminated.


International Sapphire Market and Technology Forum’s Heated Up

The application of sapphire in consumer electronics products has opened up new market space other than LED applications for the sapphire industry. In the future, the application of sapphire in consumer electronics will gradually extend from a “small screen” to a “big screen”, from the current camera, Smaller size such as the Home button gradually develop into larger applications such as watch window and even mobile phone screens. With the increase in sapphire application for consumer electronics products, the future sapphire industry still has room for a booming growth.


Recently, a forum organized by the international authoritative photoelectric market analysis agency Yole Développement and China International Optoelectronic Expo (CIOE)


At the 2015 International Sapphire Market and Technology Forum, sapphire giants including Monocrystal, Orad, GTAT and Chongqing Silian have stated the latest sapphire technologies and discussed the future development trend of the industry.


2015 is the turning point of the sapphire industry


Monocrystal is a world-leading manufacturer of high-tech applied electronic materials. It is mainly engaged in the research and development and production of crystalline silicon solar cell electrode pastes and LED sapphire crystal rods and wafers. It is developed for leading LED, integrated circuit and solar cell manufacturers. Supply the highest quality creative products.

The company has more than 25 years of innovative experience in the development and manufacture of LED sapphire, metal composite pastes and powders. It is a leading manufacturer of sapphire and metal paste for optical equipment in Europe.

At the forum, senior marketing manager Ludmila Zubova pointed out that the sapphire industry is still not mature enough and can only be used in applications related to LED and smart phones. However, how consumer electronics products will stimulate the development of the sapphire industry will bring some solutions. Consumer demand. Moreover, the capacity of the entire market is growing faster and faster.

Research shows that the current status of the sapphire market is oversupply, and in the polishing of the sapphire product market, current products do not meet market expectations.

In addition, since 2015, the price of sapphire has dropped by 30%, and the price of LED chips has also dropped. This has caused the market price to fluctuate. This has made the entire value chain more and more fierce. At the same time, price fluctuations have also increased. It has a certain influence on the enterprises in the industry chain.



Monocrystal Marketing Director Ludmila Zubova


The customer's expectation for the application of sapphire is on LED and consumer electronics. The manufacturer's previous practice was to continuously expand production, and the current situation is that consumers demand better product performance. Therefore, the products provided by manufacturers need to be improved. Add more value, which also brings challenges to manufacturers.

"Such as product gross-profit margin, because the output of sapphire is increasing, but customers need higher added value, which makes the customer's demand side becomes more narrow, and leads to a smaller market, so the added value of the product needs to be higher." Zubova said.

But the good news is that single crystals can help manufacturers overcome many challenges because it can help improve product energy efficiency when processing/manufacturing products, and it can do better in crystal growth. In addition, large-size crystals have become mainstream. However, the current cost of the labor force continues to increase, which also requires manufacturers to increase efficiency. Single crystal is undoubtedly a good solution.

Monocrystal's single crystal solution can help solve the production problem of large-size crystals. Large-size crystals have relatively low stress, and single crystals can reduce the cost of polishing, which can be better applied to LED products. “In addition, the purity of our single crystals is very good, and the requirements for polishing are very high, and the cost can be reduced by more than 30% and the quality can be improved,” Zubova said.

The use of this technology can increase production and increase the output per minute by 40% compared to the previous years. Therefore, it is very helpful to increase the supply force, which will allow the application of sapphire to be continuously expanded in LED applications. Sapphire will be used on LEDs in large scale. It can be said that 2015 is a turning point.

Zubova pointed out that we have combined traditional technologies with new technologies to make screens from small sizes to 6 inches or more. The demand next year will be 8 or 10 inches. More electronic products tend to use large-size sapphires.


Sapphire companies need to improve their strength through innovation

Harbin Aoride Optoelectronics Technology Co., Ltd. is a high-tech enterprise specializing in R&D, production, preparation and sales of sapphire crystal materials and growth equipment. The products cover various types of sapphire LED substrate materials, consumer electronics window materials, and special fields. Applied materials and a variety of specifications single crystal furnace. At the forum, Zuo Hongbo, chairman of the company, gave a speech entitled "Sapphire Technology Development - Convergence, Innovation, and Adaptation to Market Demands".




Mr. Zuo Hongbo, chairman of Harbin Aoruide Optoelectronics Technology Co., Ltd. pointed out that in the future, sapphire will have a great application in the consumer electronics market, LED, and military industry.

The current problems in the sapphire industry are:

1. Most sapphire growth methods are not automated and high personnel dependent.

2. Many companies have grown crystals, and the quality of products is uneven

3. The sapphire processing level needs to be improved

4. Lack of sound and uniform product quality standards

5. Sapphire industry supporting capabilities need to be strengthened

6. The phenomena of excessive investment, blind introduction and blind investment are serious.

Zuo Hongbo also shared the future development trend of the sapphire industry. He said that in the future, the industry would develop in the direction of low-cost growth of high-quality, large-size sapphire single crystals.


"A company that wants to secure its competitiveness and profitability needs to start with the following points: technical reproducibility and difficulty in mastering, product quality stability and applicability, product manufacturing costs, and equipment Stability and maintenance costs, product realization conditions." Zuo Hongbo said.

He also expressed his own vision for the future sapphire industry:

1. Low-cost growth of high utilization, large size, high quality sapphire single crystal is inevitable for the development of the entire industry

2. Effective integration in the industry, cooperation in the upstream and downstream divisions, and new opportunities for the industry

3. The rapid development must combine market demand with the company's own conditions to avoid the waste of funds and resources brought about by the blind introduction of expansion.



A sapphire technology could produce for military equipment

Saint-Gobain crystal JohnFrank introduced the company's EFG methord, a crystal growth technology.

"EFG technology is a new type of technology that can protect the shape of crystal growth and increase the yield of large-size crystals and reduce production costs," said John Frank.


EFG Technology Introduction

Moreover, since the quality of the produced sapphire crystal is very good, it can be used in military fields such as helicopters and tanks’ viewing window.


Can be used in the military field

When the crystal is grown, the material is not used much, and the material used is aluminum (high purity), which saves crystal material.


EFG technology is very efficient

Reducing production costs is a problem that the sapphire industry must confront. In Frank's opinion, whether materials can be recycled should also be included in the production cost. EFG's technology allows some consumables raw material to be replaced during production. Moreover, the sapphire crystal utilization of EFG technology is high, which is higher than the industry's hourly crystal utilization.


Increasing size of consumer electronics

Cellular and other large-screen consumer electronics applications will be more inclined to use large bulk crystals, while EFG is well suited for large bulk crystal applications. EFG technology is more efficient than other technologies.

EFG is suitable for complicated crystal growth, such as large, low-cost and thin-plate crystal growth.



HDSM is suitable for large-size crystal growth


Dr. Hovhannisyan Levon from Czech HIC shared the audience the improved HDSM (horizontal oriented growth) method that can be applied to a variety of shapes, sizes and applications including large windows and wafers.

It is well known that horizontally oriented growth methods contribute to the directional control of sapphire growth. The horizontally oriented growth method was first started in 1964, and horizontal orientation allows the crystals to grow to larger sizes.



HDSM review

The benefits of horizontal orientation: Suitable for sapphire growth in all directions, high substrate utilization, low cost, roasting band, no heating during growth, real-time monitoring. Moreover, the crystal size is very flexible.

At present, the market tends to use large-size sapphire materials, and the light transmittance is very high. The use of PLC-controlled HDSM can increase the growth rate by 20%-30%.



The advantages of HDSM

And compared to the traditional HDSM, the improved HDSM has many advantages, including:



Improved HDSM can make crystals grow bigger

The high cost of traditional materials and the use of materials such as tungsten in the improved version are more cost-effective;

The improved version has lower energy consumption than traditional methods;

With the improved method, the size of the crystal can be made larger and larger.


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