What is your comment on the growth of the global lighting industry?

The global lighting market is currently undergoing a radical change. Fueled by the exponential urban growth expected over the next decade and the drive towards ever greater energy efficiency, the market is transforming from conventional to energy efficient lighting technology. According to a McKinsey report, the industry is expected to touch EUR 90 Bn by 2016 at a CAGR of 6% and will cross the EUR 100 Bn mark by 2020.

Various mega trends such as global population growth and urbanization are increasing the overall demand for lighting products. At the same time, resource scarcity and climate change are of increasing concern. Governments around the world are responding to this with greater regulation towards energy efficiency, and the lighting industry is addressing the issue by pursuing the development and enhancement of more energy-efficient lighting technologies.

Despite fluctuations in the economy and the general lighting industry, the outlook for the LED lighting market is very bright. Due to the significantly increased energy efficiency, LED lighting continues to occupy a significant portion of the overall lighting market. The market penetration rate of LED lighting is projected to climb from 31% in 2015 to 54% in 2018 according to Strategy Unlimited Luminaire Report 2015. Forbes has predicted that the LED market will continue to grow throughout the next decade, with the global market share reaching above 70% by 2020. Due to prosperous architecture market during urbanization and the governments’ strong support for energy saving lighting, Asia has strong demand for LED lighting products.

How is Covestro India contributing to this journey?

The population growth and rapid urbanization coupled with growing concern towards climate change has unlocked vast potential in India for LED lighting. The low energy consumption and long service life of LEDs offer wide-ranging potential for a host of applications. But despite the numerous advantages the Indian manufacturers rely heavily on imported lighting parts due to limited availability of LED technology in India. To overcome this barrier, Covestro India – through its facility in Greater Noida – has started manufacturing raw materials with a vision to encourage local manufacturing and faster product development.

With our technically capable dedicated support team, we offer range of polycarbonate resins and blends, along with design support, for designers and manufacturers in the LED lighting industry. We help in guiding the customer to design smartly and increase overall production efficiency with the advanced solution from Covestro.

How are the polycarbonate materials supporting the innovations in LED lamp?

Glass and transparent plastics have long been used in the lighting industry for various aesthetics and functional purposes. As the lighting industry evolves, there has been growing interests in plastics, especially polycarbonates, due to its unique properties and versatility.

Ever since the invention of polycarbonate, in 1953, by Hermann Schnell at Covestro R&D Center in Germany; it has remained as the material of choice for the electrical industry in various applications for more than 60 years.

For the LED applications, Covestro provides the solution from its broad portfolio of polycarbonate grades that are eminently suitable for the LED market. In addition to high light transmission, all our grades display good heat resistance, excellent stability when exposed to LED luminous flux, outstanding flame-retardant properties, and a number of special features that are ideal for a wide range of LED applications.

Makrolon polycarbonate from Covestro is used for making optics, diffusers, reflectors, housing and thermal conductive heat sink applications of LED lighting. It is available in Resin as well as semi finished products (Film & Sheet) form. The material provides high purity and excellent light transmission qualities.

Who are your major clients from lighting industry?

We have partnered with all the major industry leaders and are constantly in conversation to add more partners. We are also involved in the joint development of futuristic LED luminaries with our key customers.

What are the new lighting-centered (peripheral) areas that may benefit from Covestro’s products?

Our innovative polycarbonate products provides manufacturers and designers a lighting materials toolkit to expand the realm of application possibilities. Our products can be used to efficiently manufacture parts with complex geometries, giving OEMs virtually unlimited possibilities for design compared with glass.

Our recent innovation, combining thermally conductive Makrolon TC8030 polycarbonate with polyurethane encapsulation technology utilizing Bayflex polyurethane Reaction Injection Molding (RIM) technology offers unique advantage for electronic manufacturers by reducing the number of components while creating a finished part in a mold without additional manual assembly. In comparison to traditional manufacturing, the benefits of this process include:

  • lower processing cost
    • improves thermal conduction
    • reduces the bill of materials
    • increases manufacturing flexibility, and
    • reduces the weight for many electronic components.

We also offer polyurethane based adhesive (for LED Chip Board assembly), coating materials (Thermally stable coatings) and Transparent Cast polyurethane (Innovative solid Light guides & Flexible light guides) towards the innovations in LED applications.

From reflective colour and light-diffusing, to flame-retardant, UV-stabilized and thermally conductive polycarbonate grades, Covestro has solutions to meet OEMs’ lighting material and technological needs. Our highly reflective Makrolon, with the white reflective surfaces, is another innovative solution that can potentially replace the metalized reflectors without any secondary operation steps in making LED luminaries.

Today, especially after Paris summit, all nations are seriously thinking of energy savings… How is Covestro helping the mission of energy savings?

Sustainable thinking and acting is imperative to preserve our planet and improve the quality and safety of the lives of millions. Covestro is committed towards innovation of sustainable materials that help in conserving resources and in reducing energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases.

We contribute to this goal with products and technologies that benefit society – and reduce the impact on the environment. This is the basis of the company’s vision ‘To make the world a brighter place.’

As per the UNEP statement, electricity for lighting accounts for approximately 15% of global power consumption and 5% of worldwide Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

A switch to efficient on-grid and off-grid lighting globally would save more than $140 billion and reduce CO2 emissions by 580 million tonnes every year.

A simple phasing out of inefficient lighting could reduce carbon emissions cheaply and easily making it one of the most effective and economically advantageous ways to combat climate change.

As a leading materials supplier, Covestro develops and manufactures products that are used in many areas of daily life – at home, at work, on the move and in recreation. Several of these products support tackling the challenges of climate changes and the environment.

Especially our solutions to LED will benefit the manufacturers with (approx.) 20% cost savings in their end product and increase the productivity compared to the traditional manufacturing process – in doing so we stand committed to the energy saving mission and drive by the Indian government as well.

Please tell me in brief about Covestro’s contribution in the field of digital revolution.

The digital revolution is set to dominate lives as computers become cleverer and thousands times more powerful.Covestro uses materials that make products more efficient and user-friendly, with good design and safety features, and are as sustainable as possible.

Our high-tech plastic polycarbonate material is increasingly being used for laptops, tablet PCs, smartphones and flat-panel displays, with the latest generation of reinforced polycarbonate technology making even ‘ultra-notebooks’ significantly lighter and razor-thin, while maintaining sturdiness and safety.

To further support the Indian government’s Digital India initiative, we have localized and fully prepared with our product portfolio to the network systems, mobile phones and other smart digital devices.

What kind of support do you offer to the client companies in their R&D efforts to develop new engineering products?

We provide end-to-end support to the client companies. Right from the project inception, in the product development life cycle – our support continues till the customer’s market launch of the product. We offer support in designing, material selection, and process and flow design for developing new engineering products.

We also offer onsite support for trials, testing and pilot runs of the prototype product. Moreover, we are also involved in the joint development of futuristic LED luminaires with our key customers.

What would you like to communicate to the decision makers of Indian lighting industry?

Indian Lighting Industry has been growing steadily at 10% CAGR for the last few years. The growth has remained consistent, even when there has been ups and downs in many other sectors due to the slump in the recent past in the world.

The consistent favourable policy by the Government of India is one of the major factors for rapid development of the light industry in India. The Government of India’s policy of rural electrifications and infrastructural development covering urban housing, roads and other projects has created new demand for lighting products. The push for LED lighting under the Domestic Efficient Lighting Program is another step in the right direction and will provide long term benefits in terms of efficient power usage and sustainability in the lightning industry.

We would urge the Indian government to collaborate from the initial stages. We can help the government with our global knowledge and application expertise to play a vital role in setting standards in lighting industry. The absence of national standards for lighting and luminaries manufacturing is resulting in import of sub-standard products, which in turn is hampering the growth of local players – and is also eroding consumer confidence in new energy efficient technologies.