Releases for various vehicle lamps boast better performance and compact structures.
Responding to growing overseas and domestic demand, automotive bulb suppliers in China are rolling out LED and HID models in greater number and different configurations. Further encouraging development of such products are government policies promoting energy-saving lights and fuel-efficient vehicles.
|Hixem’s H3-68SMD-1210 model has 68 SMD diodes and fits fog lights with H3 sockets.|
For the first category, makers are going beyond brake and taillights as target applications. With solid state lighting forecast to be fitted into the majority of new cars by 2013, many are expanding selections to include designs for fog, turn signal, reversing and interior lamps.
Bulbs for the headlights of luxury vehicles are also being developed. R&D work is confined to a few large makers, however, due to the high investment required and the limited use of the line.
In the HID segment, although most models are still being configured for front illumination, the range has expanded to comprise bulbs for 24V vehicles instead of just 12V types.
Jiaxing Guangtai Lighting Co. Ltd is among the enterprises already offering these two categories. Employing silica glass tubes from US-based GE, Models have a rated power of 35 and 50W, respectively.
HID releases for headlights that provide high and low beam lighting are also on the rise. FSL Autotech Co. Ltd is one supplier of such products.
To ensure they meet the requirements of various applications, makers of LED and HID bulbs are boosting product performance, particularly in terms of lumen maintenance. Compactness is also a key consideration in R&D amid carmakers’ emphasis on light weight and fuel efficiency.
Existing models in the first category can maintain 90 percent of their brightness after 5,000hr. Most are fitted with SMD LEDs, which are more compact than straw-hat types.
HID versions currently have a lumen maintenance of 85 percent at 1,500hr. These are packaged with ballasts that are only one-third or one-half as large as older versions.
Besides expanding product selections, some enterprises are enhancing sales and aftersales capability by hiring specialists. Hixem Technology Co. Ltd, for instance, has employed Japanese-speaking individuals under efforts to expand its foothold in Japan.
China has more than 1,500 automotive bulb makers, most of which are in Guangdong province. The industry’s output reaches 3.5 billion units annually, with about 65 percent sent overseas.
Incandescent and halogen types account for over 70 percent of exports. The main markets for these include the US, Brazil, Southeast Asia and Africa.
Priced at least $0.15 per unit, the first type is available in single- and double-filament designs with clear, red, orange, yellow, green or blue envelopes. Models are rated 6 to 24V, with power specifications reaching 130W. The selection includes versions for various interior and exterior lights, including headlamps.
Available in similar wattages, halogen bulbs go for at least $0.50 per unit. These adopt nickel-plated iron bases and stainless steel or molybdenum shields. Such components are sourced from domestic suppliers or overseas-based enterprises with branches in mainland China.
For filaments, makers turn to Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. Schott of Germany provides the bulk of glass tubes. LED types make up approximately 20 percent of exports, while the rest consists of HID versions. These are primarily shipped to Japan, South Korea, the US and the EU. Shipments to the last are mostly to Germany.
Dominating the segment are products for signal, auxiliary and interior lighting assemblies. Targeting the midrange and upscale sectors, units have power ratings ranging from 0.1 to 10W and can last between 10,000 and 50,000hr. Models are available for up to $10 each.
The HID selection may be packaged as stand-alone bulbs or conversion kits, with the latter taking up to 70 percent of exports. Models have color temperatures ranging from 3,000 to 30,000K. Bulbs go for $4 to $25, while sets are priced $20 to $80.
Makers see quotes being stable for the rest of the year or declining up to 5 percent as the fast-paced development of the related production technologies offsets higher material and labor costs. For instance, rates for LEDs dropped 5 to 15 percent in the past year amid the enhanced assembling capability of suppliers in Guangdong and Fujian provinces.
Note: This article "LEDs, HID technologies in automotive bulbs gaining more traction" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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