Category: BusinessTechnologydigital

Plessey, an embedded technologies developer located on the edge of Plymouth, UK, is disrupting the global display market with a new generation of Augmented Reality (AR) devices and display solutions using their unique and IP protected MOCVD based GaN-on-Silicon (GaN-on-Si) monolithic microLED display technology.

Up until 2017, the business model was focussed on high-powered solid-state lighting, horticultural lighting and healthcare/ safety sensors sectors. This changed when senior management took a risk to pivot to the research and development of microLED’s. This advanced and cutting-edge technology is the first new display technology to be commercialized in over a decade and will replace existing LCD and OLED technologies used in an array of applications from HDTVs to smartphones, smart watches, Head up displays (HUDs), and AR headsets.

A microLED display has many advantages such as high brightness, ultra-low power consumption, fast response time, very high contrast rate, wide colour gamut, long lifetime, environmental stability, high resolution, the option of flexible backplanes and integration of sensors in the display. Its main challenges are manufacturing complexity and yield issues, all of which Plessey are addressing, through its innovative and cutting-edge technology.

Consumer electronics and television manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, Apple etc. are all looking to create products using microLED technology, which could dramatically improve the functionality, durability and longevity of their products. MicroLED forecasting report by n-tech Research projects the overall market opportunities for microLED technology to grow from $0.5B to $22.4B by 2024.

Plessey has had a highly successful year with the development of its microLED technology, and has received recognition from the electronics and display industry globally with successful exhibition shows, technical speaking opportunities, and receiving multiple awards including being named as a CES 2019 Innovation Awards honoree in the ‘Embedded Technologies’ category, in addition to having a double-win at the Electronics Industry Awards for ‘Display Product of the Year’ and the ‘Embedded Solution Product of the Year’.

Chris Bailey, Plessey’s Financial Director & Controller, said: “Plessey is continually striving to innovate and deliver manufacturing excellence, and this past year saw a record result in sales following three years of continual growth. The recent technology breakthroughs such as the development of the native green light and achieving the world’s first GaN-on-Silicon monolithic full HD microLED bonded displays, would not be possible without the continual investments and highly-skilled workforce based at our Plymouth facility.”

A recent investment includes the refurbishment of an underutilised area, which has been completely transformed into a modern mixed work and leisure space. The new space, designed by AMH Projects, features break-out areas with comfortable velvet sofas, private booths and a fully functioning kitchen; offering a space for both employees and external visitors to use and enjoy.

As the microLED technology drives forward, there is a phased plan to modernise other key areas at Plessey. Supporting this, the company will invest heavily in recruitment, with the aim to increase the current headcount of 140 to an estimated 170 employees by 2020. The company will also undergo a comprehensive corporate rebranding, including a new company logo.

Sam Langridge, Plessey’s Marketing Manager said: “The rebranding reflects both the evolution of the company as well as its vision for the future. The branding will further enable the company to stand out in the emerging microLED market whilst giving a clear outlook to our customers and stakeholders. A new milestone within our organisation has been reached and the rebrand is a testament to the confidence we have in the innovative and cutting-edge technology we are developing”

The space was officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday 10th September 2019. Attendees included local dignitaries from Plymouth City Council, Plymouth University, Plymouth Manufacturing Group, DIT and local manufacturing businesses to help celebrate the exciting new space, and to hear about Plessey’s latest technology breakthroughs, investments and future plans.

About Plessey

Plessey is an award-winning provider of full-field emissive microLED displays that combine very high-density RGB pixel arrays with high-performance CMOS backplanes to produce very high-brightness, low-power and high-frame-rate image sources for head-mounted displays (HMDs), and augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) systems. Plessey operates leading-edge 150mm and 200mm wafer processing facilities to undertake design, test and assembly of LED products, and a comprehensive suite of photonic characterization and applications laboratories.

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