It has taken years for LED prices and light output to reach levels necessary to make marketable lighting products to replace conventional tungsten and CCFL bulbs. Having said that, the costs are still not insignificant, and many more times that of traditional light bulbs. Our analysis finds that the costs of such bulbs, which are still produced in modest volumes when compared with more traditional lighting products, is still surprisingly high, but much of these costs are still driven by the LEDs themselves. With enough volume, and perhaps new, more integrated solutions for power management, it is still possible to see significant cost erosion over time with such technology.
This analysis is a grouped analysis of 3 dimmable LED light bulb teardowns with roughly the same specs in the same market: One Philips 12E26A60 (2700K Warm white, 60 W Equivalent output (800 Lumens), 25K hour lifetime, and 12.5 Watts), a GE LED13DA19/830 (Warm White, 3000K, 800 Lumen output, 25K hour lifetime, and 13 watts), and a ecosmart (Lighting Science) DFNA19WWV2120 (3000K Warm white, 60 W equivalent output (850 lumens), 50K hour lifetime, and 8 watts). The GE bulb analyzed in this teardown group appears to be a prototype (there's a handwritten model # on the body and it came with no commercial packaging). 'ecosmart' is a private-label brand that appears to be sold exclusively through Home Depot. The actual manufacturer is Lighting Science.
To the point made above: in the early phases of new products, there tends to be a host of new solutions, or the designs tend to (at first) utilize a handful of discrete components, which later are replaced by more integrated solutions or specialized solutions for the market. It takes time for the IC suppliers to catch up, or for the market to drive the investments needed to produce such solutions. See the design notes section for details on how these bulbs differ from each other.
Replacement for conventional bulbs and CCFLs.
The Philips bulb release date is estimated as mid 2011 (based on Energy Star qualified dates), the GE bulb is an unreleased prototype at the time of analysis (June 2012), the Lighting Science group bulb looks like it might have been Energy Star qualified in mid 2011.
Pricing and Availability
Pricing - Cursory web searches at the time of analysis (June 2012) produced the following ranges of retail pricing of all about $24 per bulb.
Philips - 4 pack available for ~$96 on Amazon - ~$24/each
GE - ~$48 USD (Pack of 2? Not confirmed)
EcoSmart (Lighting Science) - Just under $24 on Home Depot
Though different variants may be produced for different markets (with different standard mounting and probably different electronics to support 220Vac), these versions (E26 base/120Vac) are likely just for the US and/or US/Canadian markets.
150,000 Total Units
2 Total Years
For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed an Annual Production Volume of 150000 units and a Product Lifetime Volume of 2 year(s).
Teardown volume and production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed volumes are different by an order of magnitude, minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis because of this.
While the GE & Philips cost estimates are very close, their cost structures are quite different. The GE unit uses higher-cost LED's but saves money in circuitry, while the Philips uses a lower cost LED but a more expensive circuit design approach. The GE uses a simpler mechanical design, but a higher-cost aluminum substrate LED PCB, and the Philips unit has more complex and more expensive mechanicals but cheaper ceramic LED PCB's. Finally - the EcoSmart bulb seems to be cutting corners with components (fewer LEDs, fewer power support components) which ultimately puts it at the bottom of the cost scale.
Total BOM: $12.83
Top Cost Drivers below: $11.54
% of Total BOM 90%
Main Cost Drivers below
Nichia NCSLx19A-H3 Warm White - High-Intensity, 350mA- (Qty: 10)
Yifang Electronics 1-Layer - Aluminum Substrate- (Qty: 1)
Bulb Housing - Die-Cast Aluminum, White Painted- (Qty: 1)
Texas Instruments LM344x Regulator - AC-DC Controller, LED Driver- (Qty: 1)
Renco Electronics Transformer - Wound Ferrite EE Core, Horizontal, w/ Plastic Bobbin- (Qty: 1)
Cooper Bussman SS-5-1A Box Type, 1A, 250V, Time Lag, Radial Lead- (Qty: 1)
Encapsulant - Silicone Rubber Compound- (Qty: 1)
Vishay Semiconductors IRFRC20 MOSFET - 600V, 2.0A- (Qty: 1)
Center Enclosure - Injection Molded Plastic, Printed- (Qty: 1)
Tenta Electric Industrial MINI MEX-X2 Series Film - Metallized Polypropylene, Box Type, Class X2, 275VAC, 0.022uF, 10%- (Qty: 2)
Not Included in Analysis
The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.
We do provide an Excel tab 'Overall Costs' where a user can enter their known pre and post production costs to build a per unit cost reflective of theirs actual expenditures.
All products were either labeled as Made in China, or were otherwise assumed to be made in China, except the ecosmart (Lighting Science) bulb which was identified as being 'Assembled in Mexico', but we're assuming that the PCB assembly was done in China to get best economies.
Country of Origin
For the purposes of this analysis, we are assuming the following country(ies) of origin for each level of assembly, based on a combination of 'Made In' markings, and/or assumptions based on our knowledge of such equipment.
LED PCB - China
Main PCB - Mexico
Other - Enclosures / Final Assembly - China
Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as hard drives), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.
Labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. "Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.
Component counts by assembly and the number of assembly are indicators of design complexity and efficiency.
Component Qty: 11 - LED PCB
Component Qty: 57 - Main PCB
Component Qty: 8 - Other - Enclosures / Final Assembly
Component Qty: 76 - Grand Total
Looking at all 3 bulbs side-by-side, the range of component counts shows some big differences with the Philips at the top end of the scale at 122 components, and the GE clocking inn at only 58. Nonetheless, despite these big differences in discrete quantities, the overall costs between those two extremes is just a few pennies.
For all 3 bulbs:
The Philips unit is based on a Cypress Semi dedicated AC-DC controller device specifically designed for LED lighting applications. This device appears to be either no longer active and perhaps superseded by other versions, or is manufactured on an OEM or 'semi-custom' basis.
The GE bulb circuit is based on an On Semi PFC IC device only, in flyback mode - no additional dedicated controller device is used.
The ecosmart bulb is based on a Texas Instruments (formerly Nat Semi) dedicated LED driver device. The silicon die is identified as p/n LM3445, but the external package marking code does not match. It appears that this device may be a custom version of the LM3445.