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LG Innotek makes a move into thermal imaging

28 Aug 2018

Korean maker of LEDs and displays looking to reduce cost of technology with in-house sensors and camera modules.

LG Innotek, the Korea-headquartered electronic component manufacturer, has revealed plans to enter the market for thermal imaging technology.

The company said it was already working with domestic firms on sensor development, and added that it would accelerate in-house work on core technologies including thermal imaging camera modules.

Beyond defense
Quoting figures from the French market research company Yole Développement suggesting that global sales of thermal imaging cameras will grow from around $3.3 billion this year to some $4.4 billion in 2022, LG Innotek sees cost reduction as critical for the technology to move beyond its traditional applications in the defense sector.

“LG Innotek intends to make inroads into the market with thermal imaging camera modules, whose thermal sensing and image processing performance and price competitiveness have been greatly enhanced by the innovative technologies,” announced the Seoul-headquartered firm, which is aiming to launch its first original products in the second half of 2019.

“Recently, the company started the joint development of the next-generation thermal imaging sensor together with Truwin,” added LG Innotek. Daejon-based Truwin is largely focused on automotive electronic components, including actuators and air pressure sensors.

But LG Innotek says that its new partner also has expertise in the area of infrared sensors, and that by working together it will be able to produce “world-class quality” in the design and production of thermal imaging camera modules.

“This is because the structure and manufacturing process of this module is similar to those of the smart phone camera module,” added the firm. “The company has been the number one in the global smart phone camera module market for seven consecutive years.”

Personalized cooling
LG Innotek thinks that by improving the performance and reducing the cost of thermal imagers it will rapidly expand the number of viable application areas. “The first goal is to expand the market from military application to non-military applications such as home appliances, automobiles, and drones,” it stated.

One suggested new application is personalized air conditioning, where cooling power can be optimized according to the body temperature of an individual – as monitored with the thermal camera.

Unsurprisingly, LG Innotek is also hopeful of penetrating the growing market for advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) and the emerging area of autonomous driving.

Company CEO Park Jong-seok summed up: “The thermal imaging camera module is a product that can make our life safer and more convenient. We will continue to release competitive thermal imaging camera modules so that they can be utilized more widely in various areas.”

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