With Three Technical Breakthroughs, Nationstar Enables UV-C Products to Regain International Market Trust

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public awareness of sterilization notably enhanced in 2020, particularly in international market. In response to robust market demand, a variety of portable UV-C LED sterilization and disinfection products emerged, but demand overbalanced supply instantly as a result of the sudden explosion in demand. Thus, UV-C became an instant hit in the LED industry, drawing on a large and growing investment capital. As the number of UV-C LED manufacturers mushroomed, total market capacity immediately increased severalfold and even up dozens of times.

Spurt in UV-C LED Demand VS Decline in Market Trust

Despite the fact that UV-C LED industry enjoyed a boomlet stimulated by the COVID-19 outbreak, vendors eager for quick success and instant profits did bring on a crisis to the industry. In the second half of 2020, serious quality issues arose in some UV-C LED terminal products on international market, including Euramerican market. For instance, a large number of sterilization products labelled “UV-C LED” were unqualified in bactericidal effect upon testing and some of them had short lifespan and dead LEDs, which were fatal to the industry. Therefore, various sales platforms such as Amazon and Wal-Mart successively took down relevant UV-C LED products. At first, UV-C LED light could have quickly replaced mercury lamps and entered sterilization and disinfection markets by the stimulation of COVID-19 pandemic, but finally it ended up in trouble as those products were taken down on European and the American markets.

Does the occurrence of problems like substandard bactericidal effect and short lifespan indicate that UV-C LED products are inapplicable to disinfection and sterilization industry? The answer, of course, is no. However, in the first half of 2020, some manufacturers sold seconds with best quality prices by reason of tight supply. They dared to do so even though they clearly know the products were sub-quality, and some even served UV-A LED or those with deviant wavelength as genuine UV-C LED, so how can we say such products can effectively kill bacteria or viruses?

UV-C LED in Demand while Domestic Products in an Embarrassing Situation on International Market.

In 2021, the COVID-19 epidemic is still spreading globally with more serious situation founded in countries such as the US, India and Brazil. Thus, sterilization and disinfection products are still in strong demand and UV-C LED, undoubtedly, represents the optimal light source for consumer sterilization products. In addition, as the public raises health consciousness, UV-C LED maintains rapid growth. According to TrendForce’s latest report, 2021 UV-C LED Application Market and Branding Strategy, global UV LED market scale is expected to reach USD 2.396 billion in 2025 with a CAGR of 51% during 2020 to 2025 and UV-C LED will be the main driving force.

European and American markets still have great demand for UV-C LED as TrendForce has learned that the sales of Korea-based Seoul Viosys and Photon Wave continues increasing rapidly on international market in 2021. Whereas, due to product quality issues of some Chinese suppliers, international market has lost trust in the UV-C LED products made in China. On the exploitation of international market, Chinese manufacturers have fallen into a relatively embarrassing situation.

It is undeniable that there is still a gap between the technologies of Chinese manufacturers and of international ones, but Chinese makers have made remarkable progresses. Why trust crisis surfaces? That is because a few vendors sell unqualified and inferior products. Actually, Chinese manufacturers have been narrowing the gap with international manufacturers on product performance.

Nationstar Promotes Domestic UV-C LED to Enter International Market Thanks to its Improvement in Three Technologies.

As one of the main UV-C LED suppliers in China, Nationstar continues making advancement in technologies since it established the Non-Vision Light Source Segment in 2018. Currently, Nationstar’s UV-C LED products have been widely used for air sterilization, surface sterilization and water sterilization, and the company is committed to expanding and enriching product lines. As to technologies, what breakthroughs have been achieved by Nationstar?

First of all, WPE (Photoelectric Conversion Efficiency) improvement. Nationstar is the first to achieve WPE of 5.6% for small- and medium-power UV-C LED by virtue of the company’s complete material system in the upstream. Nationstar combined advanced fluororesin and modified fluororesin with new nanometer materials, which turned out to be relatively great technical breakthroughs. It expects WPE to reach 6% in the fourth quarter of 2021. In terms of optical power, Nationstar can achieve fairly fine binning, for example, binning of 0.2-0.5mW. For different applications, selecting disparate optical power can achieve higher consistency.

Nationstar’s UV-C LED package material system

Secondly, improvement in gas tightness. Based on the analysis on chip structure , Nationstar improved gas tightness by adding micro nanometer structure design at the raw material design stage in light of UV-C LED semi-inorganic and full-inorganic package structures. Meanwhile, Nationstar inspected packaging process and imitated conditions with high humidity. The result demonstrated that its UV-C LED package devices can steadily work for a long period at the condition of 90%RH.

Gas tightness design based on microstructure

Finally, improvement in heat dissipation management. Nationstar optimized existing thermoelectric separation design by imitating thermal distribution and reducing the thermal resistance of the UV-C LED devices by 3-4K/W compared with conventional products. For high-power products, lower heat resistance contributes to less heat accumulation and faster heat dissipation, and thus product lifespan can be extended.

Optimizing thermoelectric separation design to reduce heat resistance and extend lifespan.

By virtue of the technical breakthroughs, Nationstar’s UV-C LED products have gained recognition from international customers. At present, Nationstar’s UV-C LED sales of international market and of Chinese market respectively accounts for 50%.

Product Line Extended to Module End and Products Widely Used in Diverse Fields.

Nationstar has extended its product line to module end rather than merely focus on package devices. Its new UV-C LED module can be flexibly integrated into terminal equipment in line with different application scenarios to meet customer needs.

Module for water dispenser and humidifier

Nationstar’s UV-C LED module for water dispenser and humidifier can shortly inactivate all kinds of micro organisms including bacteria and viruses. Thanks to pollution-free and highly eco-friendly characteristics, it is applicable to occupied spaces.

Module for air conditioner

UV-C LED module for air conditioner uses quartz glass lens with excellent water-proof performance, which can protect the devices while increasing UV light utilization.

Module for air purifier

UV-C LED module for air purifier uses aluminum substrate with high heat extraction coefficient. It is characterized by good heat dissipation and long working life, etc.

Module for surface disinfection of closestool

UV-C LED module for surface disinfection of closestool adopts surface sterilization and inhibition design. It can realize automatic closed-off sterilization when the toilet cover closes and automatic power off when the cover opens without manual interference.

All in all, COVID-19 outbreak is regarded as a catalyst for UV-C LED industry which actually speeds up its market growth. Whereas, owing to the occurrence of trust crisis, growth rate has been slowing down. In the long run, UV-C LED industry is still promising, but healthy industry development should build on correct attitudes of the manufacturers. After all, selling unqualified and inferior product will definitely put the industry in a passive situation while improving technologies and ensuring product quality are the right ways to sustainably develop UV-C LED, and that is what matters!

(Author/Translator:Allen/Janice from LEDinside)

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