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KINGRAY partners with SONY to pioneer a new era of dToF technology


     In a recent announcement, Sony, the renowned global imaging sensor manufacturer, disclosed two significant pieces of news. First, their subsidiary, Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation (SSS), will launch the cutting-edge dToF SPAD depth sensor—IMX611 Single Photon Avalanche Diode image sensor—designed for smartphones. Additionally, Kenichiro Yoshida, the chairman of Sony, visited several Samsung Electronics semiconductor facilities in South Korea. This visit indicates that Sony’s imaging sensor factories will expand their production beyond smartphone requirements, delving into automotive imaging sensors as well.

      An intriguing development follows with the company KINGRAY (6787), which has been part of Sony’s Japanese imaging sensor supply chain since June 2021. The firm now reaps the rewards of Sony’s advancements in the Time-of-Flight (ToF) core component market in the form of Near-Infrared Bandpass Filters (NBPFs). This particular innovation is a crucial element in ToF camera modules, expanding opportunities in AR/VR gaming, machine vision, facial recognition, access control, surveillance, security, autonomous driving, and smart manufacturing.

      At present, only Viavi Solutions Inc. in the United States, Crystal Optoelectronics in China, and Crystal Optech in Taiwan possess patents and mass production capabilities for NBPF technology. Viavi’s pricing strategy has historically focused on high-profit margins. However, as ToF camera applications in Apple smartphones continue to rise and non-Apple competitors seek to enter the market, the previously high cost of ToF modules has become a significant barrier to entry. KINGRAY, though, secured a critical U.S. patent last year, granting them a competitive edge with their “NBPF World-Only Duo Patent” and industry-leading yield rates and mass production equipment technology.

     Notably, KINGRAY NBPF filter products have obtained patents from eight major industrial nations, particularly in the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France. The company has also garnered certifications from numerous international manufacturers, earning qualified supplier status. Last year, KINGRAY secured a U.S. patent for its NBPF filter, becoming one of only two global NBPF manufacturers with a marketing advantage. Their 940nm NBPF filter products have started receiving small test orders from a top-ten American sensor semiconductor manufacturer for use in ToF 3D distance measuring modules. Coupled with their entrance into Sony’s next-generation Japanese imaging sensor supply chain, Crystal Optech has gone deep with both the U.S. and Japanese markets, applied to end-users in facial recognition for smartphones, automotive LiDAR, smart logistics, and the Metaverse (META), and expects a booming operational outlook.

      The order of KINGRAY  intake is progressively increasing, and they have recently completed a capital increase, raising $ 180 million in funding. The primary objective is constructing new facilities to solidify its position as the leading non-Apple supplier, sharing the lucrative global NBPF filter patent market with American giant Viavi.

     Following their recent accomplishments, KINGRAY (6787) is poised for continued success in the rapidly evolving imaging sensor industry. With their unique offerings, they are now firmly positioned as pioneers, shaping the future of their technology.

      As the demand for advanced imaging solutions in various sectors such as smartphones, automotive, and IoT devices continues to grow, KINGRAY is well-equipped to adapt and innovate. Their collaboration with Sony and involvement in the supply chain of next-generation imaging sensors ensure that the company will stay at the forefront of emerging trends and technologies.

      The ongoing research and development in the field of ToF and NBPF technologies will undoubtedly lead to new applications, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in areas like AR/VR, autonomous vehicles, and smart city infrastructure. By staying agile and embracing new opportunities, KINGRAY is set to capitalize on the potential growth in these markets.

     Furthermore, Crystal Optech’s commitment to securing patents in major industrial nations demonstrates its dedication to safeguarding intellectual property rights, which is crucial in maintaining a competitive edge in a fast-paced industry. This also opens up opportunities for international collaborations and partnerships, further expanding the company’s global reach.

      In summary, KINGRAY’s ongoing achievements in the imaging sensor sector, coupled with its strong collaboration with Sony and its unwavering dedication to innovation, will undoubtedly propel them to even greater heights in the coming years. By staying ahead of the curve, Crystal Optech is well-positioned to thrive as a leading player in the global imaging sensor market.

      With the emergence of dToF, a technology that has already been proven to have significant commercial value in Apple smartphones, related component suppliers are gradually being put in place. After breaking through the supply and supplier quantity barriers, manufacturing and adoption costs are expected to decrease significantly, and the overall application ratio will be greatly improved, forming a new supply chain. At present, there has been significant progress in NBPF filters, and the other key component in the LiDAR market, the SPAD single-photon avalanche diode, is also growing rapidly under the full promotion of companies such as Sony and Canon. Coupled with the growth potential added by ADAS in the electric vehicle autonomous driving field, SPAD development and manufacturing of SPAD technology is currently a hot topic of discussion. It is believed that in the near future, the content of market discussions will no longer be “Who has SPAD technology? Who uses LiDAR?” but it will become “Who doesn’t have SPAD technology? Whose products haven’t adopted LiDAR?” In the foreseeable future, leaders with a long-term vision will surely ask themselves, “Do we have SPAD? Do we have LiDAR?”