Chip Scale Packages (CSP)

Recently, an article in "Strategies Unlimited" entitled "Surprises in the Worldwide Package LED Market Update" attracted my attention. It cites a "...slow adoption of CSPs within the general lighting segment...".

To me, this does not come as a surprise. Chip Scale Packages are less costly, but they require much more attention and higher technological capabilities on the assembly side, and potentially present some optical particularities as well. Smaller integrators that typical lighting companies work with often need additional tooling, resources, and skills to properly assemble these parts. Furthermore, thermal management becomes more challenging due to the small footprint and pads of such packages, often necessitating more expensive PCB material *. Last, but not least, undomed parts typically exhibit lower luminous efficacy, which translates into a higher part count to achieve the required efficacy on the luminaire level.

These are the real reasons behind the sluggish adoption of CSP packages by the lighting community. While CSPs are a great product for special applications and technology focused companies, they are much less convenient for many smaller and medium-sized users. In fact, by shifting more and more of the actual integration work to their customers, LED manufacturers may have gone too far in their effort to take out cost of their LED packages. In addition, they have deprived themselves of good margin business, which they now try to win back by offering higher integration levels. Every LED manufacturer offers own integrated modular solutions with varying degrees of flexibility.

Yet again, this interferes with the often strong ties between the lighting manufacturer and their integration partners. Lighting manufacturers depend on those partners not only for populating LED boards. Very often, those partners also manage at least partially the supply chain, stock PCBs, LEDs, and other components. Additional customer-specific functions requiring electronic components not present on standard integrated modular solutions make the latter not very appealing to lighting customers.

These are some of the challenges LED manufacturers have to deal with in today's business environment. cenogent helps the lighting community to address such challenges and to promote innovation. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

© Harald Pier, 8.6.2017


* Update 22.6.2017:

For the thermal challenges, please also see the article published in LpS: Looking for the Best Thermal Solution for CSP Module Designs