The trade publication i-micronews has a Q&A post up on its site featuring STRATACACHE CEO Chris Riegel, providing detail and color about his plans for that big, old semiconductor plant in Oregon that he’s turning into a microLED factory.
The interview was done by a couple of guys from Yole Développement, a French research firm and consultancy that has a DEEP background and understanding of microLED displays.
Here are some of the particularly interesting aspects to the interview:
While Riegel runs a group of companies heavily focused on digital signage and shopper marketing applications, the microLED plant he’s spinning up will be focused on smaller, much higher volume products like wearables and other small form-factor displays, as opposed to video wall products.
Q: What kind of applications are your planning to address with your microLED displays?
A: “Mobile, Wearable, Transparent, Flexible. Principally in the B2B space where the unique attributes of MicroLED drive value above the commoditized TFT-LCD or OLED competition.“
From the lens of digital signage people, large format video walls like Sony’s Crystal LED and Samsung’s The Wall are seemingly what microLED is all about. But these are super-premium, super-expensive products that sell by the week or month, not the minute.
Q: MicroLED is still in its infancy. Complex technological challenges such as LED chip efficiency, mass transfer, display driving, yield management and repair etc, still need to be solved to enable volume production. Most companies are still exploring a multitude of display architecture options and processes to solve those issues. Has STRATACACHE already made its choices for each of those technology nodes? Are you developing your own technology bricks or working with partners to shop for, and acquire licenses for the processes and design choices that you see as the most suitable ones?
A: I’ve spent a significant amount of my time the past 4+ years absorbing and learning as much as possible about MicroLED. Is the market still early, yes, no question. That being said, in hundreds of discussions across industry with people much smarter than me, I can clearly see that the market is capable of delivering specialty products such as ours and ready for explosive growth near term.
In the vast majority of use cases across the stack, the technology is ready to go. Is it perfect, no. Will it compete on low cost with TFT-LCD, no.
That being said, via strategic partnerships, joint ventures, licensing and investment, we are highly confident that we can produce market ready products in 2022 for the sectors we target.
Riegel also gets into the current scale of the various STRATACACHE businesses, saying in an normal year his companies deploy as many as 750,000 screens in various digital experiences.
STRATACACHE is a global Mar-Tech company with 1,100 employees in 28 countries around the world driving advanced digital signage, mobile sensors and artificial intelligence solutions in retail, QSR, transportation, gaming and several other key sectors.
With over 3 million digital signs driven by STRATACACHE today, you see us all the time as part of the fabric of your daily experience. Order at a McDonald’s digital drive thru, shop at an Adidas store, fly thru hundreds of airports worldwide, purchase a lottery ticket, see an outdoor digital billboard, STRATACACHE drives these and dozens of other experiences you engage with.
It’s a little technical, getting into things like growing semiconductor crystal for LEDs, but worth a read if you are into this stuff.