Crystal IS manufactures deep ultraviolet (UVC) light emitting diodes (LEDs) based on their proprietary aluminum nitride substrates. These UVC LEDs provide industry leading lifetime and power output in the ideal germicidal range of 260 nm – 270 nm for water, air and surface disinfection. Their solution provides an efficient, viable, mercury-free alternative to delivering UV disinfection which impacts the overall health and living for people around the world. 

Crystal IS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Asahi Kasei Group, based in Tokyo, Japan. Since its foundation in 1922 with ammonia and cellulose fiber businesses, Asahi Kasei has consistently grown through the proactive transformation of its business portfolio to meet the evolving needs of every age. With more than 46,000 employees around the world, the company contributes to a sustainable society by providing solutions to the world’s challenges through its three business sectors of Material, Homes, and Health Care. 

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Crystal IS: Crystal IS works with the leading OEMs in water and air as well as smaller companies looking to disrupt existing markets with UVC LED-based disinfection. We partner with their engineering and product teams to take full advantage of the benefits of UVC LEDs in their designs. And as an Asahi Kasei company, we’re able to provide our customers with a secure, dependable, and well-controlled supply chain for UVC LEDs so they can feel confident in our ability to deliver the price per performance at volumes required for commercial applications. 

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

Crystal IS: We have made great strides in UVC LED innovation – recently announcing lifetime characterization data at 25,000 hours. This means that our customers can now design products where the lifetime of the UVC LED will match the product itself. This is pivotal for the adoption of this technology in the consumer goods area—and will enable maintenance-free water disinfection for many of our customers and their consumers. 

We also recently announced a single-chip product coming out later this year with emission of 160 mW in the 260 nm – 270 nm range. This product will enable mercury-free designs for lower flow point-of-entry water disinfection systems – providing microbial safe water throughout the home. 

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

Crystal IS: Our primary focus is on providing high performance UVC LEDs that enable clean water, air and surfaces. We partner with our customers to integrate this new technology into existing and new products. Our portfolio of commercial UVC LEDs allow us to meet customer requirements that fit with their business model—whether it be premium goods with maximum disinfection capability or maintenance-free designs to unlock new markets. 

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

Crystal IS: We primarily focus on the water market, which includes subsegments around commercial water coolers, point-of-use systems and point-of-entry installations. Over the past decade, the market has continued to innovate around incorporating UV into these systems and we feel that right now the price per performance of UVC LEDs is at a point where it makes commercial sense to opt for LED-based solutions wherever UV is desired. 

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

Crystal IS: As with many industries, in the water and air markets there is a pervasive trend around sustainability. We’re seeing more weight given to maintenance-free, energy efficient designs over traditional consumable business models as the price of energy and labor continues to rise. We are also seeing that the stability of the overall supply chain continues to be a primary concern for OEMs.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

Crystal IS: We’re seeing many of our customers taking advantage of the small size and point-source nature of LEDs to integrate them into products that have not used UV disinfection before. Previously, many designs were constrained by the size and bulk of mercury lamps. However, now we see that UVC LEDs provide the ability for portable, battery powered programs that can deliver clean water across the globe. 

E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2023?

Crystal IS: Interest in UVC LEDs continues to increase as companies look at adopting a more sustainable approach to their product portfolios. UVC LEDs provide an energy efficient, mercury free alternative to traditional UV sources. And now that the performance of these devices meet the requirements for products in water and air disinfection, many OEMs are choosing to incorporate this sustainable technology platform over traditional lamps. We believe that this trend will continue throughout 2023 and into the future.