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OCI aspires to become a top provider of sapphire

The Korean-based manufacturer is currently shipping GTAT's ASF-grown sapphire material to large LED customers in Taiwan, Korea, China and Japan. The firm hopes to be one of the top 3 ingot providers of 6" sapphire by 2015

OCI has begun manufacturing sapphire boules and cores in its new facility, using GT Advanced Technologies' equipment.

The company says it has now completed the initial installation of GT’s ASF sapphire growth furnaces that were purchased in January 2011.

OCI held a ceremony on March 2nd 2012, to inaugurate its new sapphire production facility in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province in South Korea.

The new eco-friendly plant has an annual production capacity of 4 million millimetres of sapphire.

OCI said it has begun the shipment of 6-inch sapphire cores as well as 2-inch and 4-inch products to 5 leading LED manufacturers located inTaiwan, China, and Japan. The firm is also shipping to Korean companies.

According to a report by Goldman Sachs, the LED market is estimated to grow into a $13.7 billion business and is expected to have an average annual growth of 16% by 2015. And the LED lighting market is forecast to post an average annual growth of 30% over the same period.



GT's ASF sapphire growth furnace which utilises HEM for producing high quality boules and cores suitable for the LED industry and other industries requiring high quality material

A recent article in The Korean Times reported that GT’s ASF furnaces, which use the Heat Exchanger Method (HEM) growth process, incorporate a cost-effective sapphire crystallisation methodology for the high yield production of quality material.

HEM, was initially developed in the US to produce 8" - 12" single-crystal sapphire in 1971. OCI says it is different from other methods as the single-crystal sapphire ingots grow from bottom to top. What's more, HEM produces large diameter single crystals with precise control over the temperature gradient. 

“Starting up a new sapphire production facility takes tremendous planning and coordination to ensure a successful launch,” notes Cheryl Diuguid, GT Advanced Technologies’ vice president and general manager of its Sapphire Equipment and Materials Group. “I am proud of the effort of our service and installation team who worked closely with OCI’s production and engineering team throughout the entire process to deliver a state-of-the-art sapphire production facility that is now producing high quality material.”

OCI says its ability to produce LED-grade sapphire at diameters of up to six inches will help to position it as a top sapphire producer in the region. The company's entrance into the LED industry using GT’s ASF sapphire growth technology expands the relationship between the two companies. OCI and GT have successfully partnered together for a number of years in the PV industry.

Now OCI says it is looking to capture a 20% share of the global ingot market by 2015 and to emerge as one of the world’s top 3 ingot providers.  

OCI CG Business planning team leader Yang Jae-yong concludes, “After pilot operation at the end of last year, the mass production has been put in place, and the product has passed the sample tests of the world’s leading wafer manufacturers. We will focus on 6-inch ingot, a high value-added product, and try to increase consumer satisfaction and secure competitiveness in the global market.” 
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