Development of transparent/ opaque adjustable nextgeneration smart window

Q-sys Co., Ltd. (Jon-hoo Hong, CEO)

Korean nano technical power takes 4th place in the world, but new market and new business creation effects using this technique are insignificant. Accordingly, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy introduced the ‘Nano-fusion 2020 Project’ in order to induce early industrialization by connecting existing research performance in the Nano-fusion field to industrial demand, and to support new market and new business creation. As a result, many innovative market leading products have been produced so far
through this project. Among these products, the ‘polymer dispersed liquid crystal smart window’ developed by Q-sys is capturing attention as a world-class PDLC smart window product, and growth as a global hidden champion using this product is highly expected.


Realizing ideas through the Nano-Fusion 2020 project

When start-ups venture businesses were booming, Jin-hoo Hong, CEO of Q-sys, which was established in 2000 was a biochemistry polymer engineering professor in active service in the engineering college of Chosun University. He selected the company name of Q-sys that stands for ‘Cure System’ containing the meaning of ‘hardening’ and ‘healing’ in ‘Cure’, and guided Q-sys as a technical innovative small company that leads light technology. Q-sys is manufacturing and producing various functional UV coating agents, UV adhesives, and their application products used in LCD optical film, electronic materials, and coating industry, including polymer dispersed liquid crystal applied for display industry. Especially, Q-sys’ ‘polymer dispersed liquid crystal smart window’ developed through Nano-fusion 2020 Project receives attention as this product is truly the result of much R&D and made through Q-sys’ perspiration and passion.


In this context, CEO Hong said that “When we started the company in 2000, it was hard to industrialize smart windows even though we had the technical skills. First, the product price was so expensive that the market is not formed, and most of all technical skills we had were seriously insufficient compared to the USA and Japan. Due to the critical situation that the idea would have died out after all, we combined electrode material technology owned by the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology and liquid crystal technology we owned and could gradually see the way out. On that occasion, the Nano-fusion 2020 Project provided a big impetus, and finally enabled us to succeed in world-class smart window development.”

Developing next-generation smart window film that can substitute for ITO film

The price of ITO-PET film used in smart windows so far was so high that it accounted for 60% of total raw material costs of the product, and its sheet resistance wad so high, 150Ω or higher, that driving voltage is higher than 100V. And because the resistance was increasing when it was exposed to the air, the product commercialization was difficult due to long-term stability issue. Moreover, it had limit to apply existing ITO-PET film to next generation smart window film that is characterized by high efficiency, low driving voltage, color adjust function, and ultraviolet blocking function, therefore developing and applying were required for substitutive electrodes made of transparent electrode material that has superior mechanical resistance against external bending as well as better electric & optical features than ITO-PET film.
In this sense, polymer dispersed liquid crystal smart window technology developed by Q-sys will bring a new sensation to the smart window market.
For this, Yang-bae Kim, chief of Q-sys optical material & surface treatment research center said that “If we apply high transparency and low price ZITO transparent electrode film developed by Q-sys instead of existing ITO transparent electrode film to smart window, ITO substrate that consumes too much indium, a rare earth element, can be replaced and we can achieve price reducing and improvement in droving voltage and efficiency. Especially, there is energy saving function because infrared and ultraviolet wavelength blocking is possible depending on metal oxide structure adjustment and the type and the thickness of inserted metal to be applied to transparent electrode film. Therefore we have higher technical skills compared to rival Japanese and Chinese products, and secured about 3~5 years of technical gap with late starters.”
Likewise, as Q-sys secured the world best level of smart window technology, it started the commercialization of Smart fitting product, and starting trial production in February 2014,
concluded 6 billion won of export contracts with the USA and Japan. Further sales increases are also highly anticipated.

Targeting automobile market, striving to be a globalleading company.

Smart windows, which is also a niche market, are being sold as fittings for buildings, with expanding markets being created across the world; billboards, although the volume is small; and display optical shutters. When the automobile smart window market that is predicted to be worth about 2-trillion won is open in full-scale soon or later, the position of Q-sys will be much different from now.
Indeed, Q-sys is focusing on transparent display optical shutter and smart window for automobile sunroof for which market expansion is expected. Q-sys is finding a way to become the world number 1 company worthy of its name by targeting the automobile smart window market. CEO Hong said, “This company secured technical competitiveness for world-class PDLC smart window.
Based on that we will secure superior position in automobile smart window market that is expected to grow, and at the same time we will aggressively involve new product development for the next generation special glass that is high value added and competitive product including color changeable glass, energy-saving thermalefficiency glass, and hybrid products with solar cell. We also plan to dominate the market along with new market creation, furthermore to seek smart window market exploitation for small domestic appliances and household appliances.”
Above all, however, the biggest competitive power of Q-sys can be found in true academic-industrial-research collaboration. Because strong competitive power as a united body can ultimately be secured by overcoming the limit of weak capital strength of small business and solving technical difficulties through research institutes and universities. CEO Hong also said, “Like a relief pitcher emerging from a critical situation where we would go down even before start, the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology introduced relevant substitute material technologies and Nano-fusion 2020 Project supported our research through ‘product idea industrialization support.’ Therefore we could achieve our current valuable performance.” and “We will keep investing in R&D and secure independent liquid crystal/polymer formulation and design technology and UV crosslinking production process technology to gradually expand the market share. We hope that our technology is applied to other domestic industries and contributes to creating new markets and new business.”
Also, CEO Hong explained, “Cure in the Q-sys company name means hardening of the treatment process developed by us as well as implying the spirit of customer satisfaction to cure and solve problems due to the production process. Furthermore, as shown in the management philosophy that all of the company members build a beautiful and fertile future through spiritual and practical changes and practical changes, although the market is small because it is a niche market, all of our staff and executives will do their best for a better future and to make Q-sys a small but strong company that can hold the first ranking for a long time. Also we will keep continue our efforts to take the position of a global leading company that leads the relevant markets.” | Blog Magazine of korean electronics, brands and Goods

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