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2007-03-07
Applications, design and technology news from across the industry
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Commentary: Note to (LED) Lighting Industry: Don't Screw Up
 
... With the widespread publicity that California, and now Australia, have received by declaring war on the incandescent bulb (ref. earlier commentary) the LED-based solid state lighting industry has a clear opportunity in attempting to be part of today's solution. The bulk of the opportunity lay in failing at that...

View the full story at the bottom of the current news page, or if this page is a back issue, go here...

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Solid State Lighting Design is here to serve the information needs of lighting designers, specifiers, and decision makers, along with luminaire designers, lighting system integrators and lighting subsystem developers with application, product and market news updates for this rapidly evolving technology. Our readership also includes LED packagers, technology enablers and service companies seeking the answers to how best to meet their customers' needs.

Solid state lighting promises to create unprecedented changes in what we can do with light. Simultaneously, it will deliver on a promise of massive global energy savings and access to useful nighttime lighting that has not been conveniently available to nearly 2 billion people around the world. We're glad to have you join us in the revolution!


Commentary...
Note to (LED) Lighting Industry: Don't Screw Up

 
... With the widespread publicity that California, and now Australia, have received by declaring war on the incandescent bulb (ref. earlier commentary) the LED-based solid state lighting industry has a clear opportunity in attempting to be part of today's solution. The bulk of the opportunity lay in failing at that...

View the full story at the bottom of the current news page, or if this is a back issue, go here...

OptiLED Launches Wide Variety of Fixtures
SSLDesign News Staff

March 7, 2007...LED fixture maker, OptiLED announced on its website the launch of a line of several kinds of new LED fixtures. The first in the variety of new fixtures is the Belt fixture. Built specifically for OptiLED LED lamps, it features watertight construction and has 25 Watts per socket. It comes in flat or round cable varieties, and it can come with either North American, European, or British Style plugs. It has E26 or E27 or E14 variations, and it is great for numerous outdoor applications.

The company came out with what they call their Cappuccino fixture. It comes in either 6 or 9 watts and ships with high brightness OptiLED LEDs already installed. It is housed in a safe and durable package. It features aluminum housing and a clear plastic cover. It can integrate with 110 and 220 volt AC power. OptiLED says it is great for restaurants, office buildings, and public spaces.

OptiLED introduced its ceiling mounted, Cylinder LED fixture. It holds an E26 base lamp, and it supports up to 15 watts. The Cylinder has a white paint finish with a smooth aluminum reflector. The fixture is specifically made for OptiLED’s reflector lamp Par 30 (10 Watt). This downlight is suited to general lighting applications and is ideal for hotel and restaurant installations.

The company released its Espresso fixture. It is 220V AC compatible, and it allows clap mounting for easy installation. It gives off no ultraviolet radiation. It is ideal for accent and decorative lighting and is fits perfectly in settings such as restaurants, office buildings, and public spaces. It has an aluminum housing and clear plastic cover, and like the other fixtures, it comes complete with a high brightness OptiLED LED.

Another of the general lighting products that the company introduced is the Light Engine LEO2. It comes with patented RXI optics installed. Various diffusers can be applied to change the beam shape and size. Integrated power circuitry allows the light engine to be powered by a 12V AC/DC input. It has a mounting bracket for easy installation. The light engine can be used in restaurants, bars, clubs, lounges, and lobbies.

OptiLED introduced a wall mountable lamp with a flexible chrome tube the company calls the Willow fixture. The flexible tube can be adjusted to any direction. Night stands, hotel rooms, bedrooms, and desks are perfect settings for this lamp.

OptiLED’s Silver fixture is a recessed downlight with a sanded silver finish. Its tailor made for OptiLED mini-reflector lamps, and it is compatible with a wide range of OPTILED GU5.3/GX5.3 based lamps. It has a selection of top fitting rings. It can be used in general downlighting applications especially including gallery highlighting, and hotel lobbies. OptiLED New Product Info

Laservision LED lamps illuminate Canon building in HK
LEDs Magazine

March 7, 2007...External LED lighting provides a cost-effective method of illuminating skyscrapers such as Hong Kong's Canon building.

Canon Building, Hong Kong, a prominent Kowloon skyscraper occupied by Canon, has installed LED lighting technology from Laservision, enabling the building to participate in Hong Kong's Symphony of Light show.

The design utilizes 6-watt LED dots, each containing 6 LEDs, 2 each in red, blue and green. A total of 14 rows of LED dots, with 30 dots per row, have been installed along each of the building’s external ribs. The design solves light trespass and light pollution issues that are problematic in illuminating glass surfaces.

Conventional lighting designs utilizing wash lighting and floodlight techniques require approximately 200 kilowatt hours of electricity to run them per night. In comparison, Laservision's LED technology uses 5 % of this energy per night.

The low energy design for the Canon building uses only 12.5 kW.hr at a cost of under US $2.00 per hour. At such a low energy requirement, this lighting design has the option to be serviced by sustainable energy solutions such as solar power.

Installation of LED lampsThe final view provides spectators with intensely bright, color-changing effects, regardless of the audience's viewing position, even from oblique angles.

Laservision claims that the individual fixtures have an expected lifetime of 70,000-80,000 hours, compared with 3000 hours for traditional wash lighting fixtures.

Laservision's Digital Data-Pump II provides the control system for the Canon building's new lighting design and enables integration into Hong Kong's "Symphony of Light," a nightly show that is the world's largest light and sound show. --LEDs Magazine

Avago Releases 3-Watt SMT LED
SSLDesign News Staff

March 1, 2007...Avago Technologies of San Jose, California USA, has released its white 3-Watt surface mount (SMT) LED for architectural, decorative, portable, and backlighting applications. The new LED, called the ASMT-MW20 Power LED, boasts luminous flux of up to 160 lumens when driven at 700 mA. The company says that its brightness and small size make it ideal for applications where space is limited. Its low profile makes it especially suitable for designs in which height is a constraint. The company indicated that typical applications for the lights include accent lighting, architectural façade lighting, street lights, headlights, billboards, sign backlighting, reading and track lighting, and lighting for machine vision.

Avago says its ASMT-MW20 Power LEDs incorporate InGaN technology to offer low thermal resistance and therefore efficient heat transfer from the package to the motherboard. Avago points out that this helps improve long-term reliability of the LEDs. The company says that the LEDs can be attached with conventional surface mounting techniques with standard reflow soldering techniques. The easy mounting helps to minimize production costs. SSL Design PageTwo members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

Osram Coinlight-Ostar Spotlight Wins Award
SSLDesign News Staff

February 28, 2007...Osram reports that its Coinlight-Ostar LED spotlight was honored as a “Top Selection” for the Innovation & Design Awards 2007 in the Innovation category at the LivinLuce trade fair in Milan.. Osram says that the LED spotlight’s temperature management and plug & play simplicity impressed the judges. On February 6, 2007 Roberto Barbieri, Head of Osram Italy, received the award for the innovative product from Osram at the official award ceremony and grand opening of the LivinLuce trade fair in Milan. Osram says its Coinlight-Ostar was one of the 34 finalists in the Innovation category chosen back in December 2006 from among the many products submitted by the exhibitors. Of these 34, nine were then listed as “Top Selection” and presented with awards. SSL Design PageTwo members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

AGI and LSG to Partner on Fixtures for Retail Displays
SSLDesign News Staff

February 26, 2007...AGI In-Store (AGI) and Lighting Science Group (LSG) of Dallas, Texas USA, have agreed to jointly develop LED fixtures for AGI’s in-store display units. AGI, a designer and maker of point of purchase displays that conducts business with major retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Origins, will incorporate LSG’s fixtures into its display units as part of the agreement. LSG, reportedly the first company to manufacture Edison-base LED replacement bulbs, said its engineering staff would work with AGI’s designers and engineers to ensure that the LED lighting fixtures are incorporated seamlessly into the displays.

Retail display applications are ideal for LED fixtures for several reasons including that: they have long lifetimes, require virtually no maintenance, can turn on and off instantly, can be relatively small and unobtrusive, they do not cause significant amounts of heat, and they can display the perfect color and color temperature to display the products in the best light. Steve Dopp, President of AGI commented, "AGI is constantly seeking solutions to improve the customer experience. We view in-store fixtures as an extension of the sales process and therefore design these units to gain attention, improve the buying experience, and ultimately influence purchasing decisions. In addition, the nature of our business is such that the technology that we use should not damage or alter the appearance of the items being displayed. It is therefore paramount that we minimize any potential damage that may result from heat exposure, as our retail fixtures and displays are often maintained for a long period of time. Because LSG's LED lights provide a high quality output of light that lasts 300-500 percent longer than other lighting technologies, while using significantly less energy, the formation of this partnership is a logical step forward."

Ron Lusk, chairman and chief executive officer of Lighting Science, noted, "AGI is committed to providing its customers with high quality, intuitive display environments that are both efficient and user friendly." Lusk added, "Because AGI conducts business with many of the major retail outlets, such as Wal-Mart, Target and Origins, they bring to this relationship tremendous insight and access to a valuable customer base. We are confident that our reliable, durable and cost effective LED fixtures will be highly complementary to their current and future product offerings." LSG News Release

U.S. ITC Agrees With ALJ; Rules That Epistar's MB Products Violate Philips Lumileds' '718 Patent
LIGHTimes Staff

February 26, 2007...The United States International Trade Commission has chosen to adopt the Administrative Law Judge’s initial determination that that Epistar’s MB I and MB II products infringe Philips Lumileds U. S. Patent No. 5,008718 (the ‘718 patent). (Ref: Coverage). The US ITC also agrees with the ALJ Sydney Harris’s initial determination that Philips Lumileds’ United States Patent No. 5,008,718 (“718 Patent”); Patent No. 5,376,580; and Patent No. 5,502,316 are valid and enforceable. The ITC agreed with the ALJ that Epistar’s Metal Bond products infringe on the ‘718 patent. The ITC also agreed with the ALJ that Philips Lumileds (Lumileds) did not license any of its technology to be used in Epistar’s products. The ITC will review whether the ALJ’s interpretation of the patents and whether Epistar’s OMA I, OMA II, GB I and GB II LEDs also infringe certain claims of the 718 patent. SSL Design PageTwo members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

Australia to Ban Incandescent Bulbs
SSLDesign News Staff

February 23, 2007...On Tuesday the Australian government announced plans to phase out incandescent light bulbs, and replace them with compact fluorescent bulbs. Just a couple of weeks previous, California legislators proposed similar measures. However, neither plan made mention of LED lighting. Before the proposed law in California, Fidel Castro banned incandescent bulbs in Cuba; then Hugo Chavez did the same in Venezuela, the Associated Press reported in a recent article.

Compact fluorescent bulbs, unlike LEDs, have toxic materials such as lead, mercury, or cadmium. Such materials require special methods of disposal. The California plan included methods of recycling the compact fluorescent lamps including their hazardous materials. In a similar proposal, a New Jersey lawmaker, called for his state to ban incandescent bulbs within three years.

LED Lighting Fixtures, president and CEO told news outlet, Red Herring in a recent article, that the company had already received several inquiries about its technology. Also, in a recent statement, environmental action group, Greenpeace urged India to follow suit in banning incandescent bulbs.

STMicroelectronics Introduces LED Driver with Auto-Shut-Down Mode
LIGHTimes Staff

February 23, 2007...STMicroelectronics of Geneva, Switzerland, introduced an LED driver which includes an automatic shutdown mode as a power-saving feature. According to ST, the latest member of its Power Logic family, the STP16CPS05, allows manufacturers to meet the high power-efficiency requirements of industrial lighting, signage and transportation applications. The company says that the new driver allows individual ICs to go into shutdown mode when no active inputs are detected. The company points out that this provides an evolutionary advantage over the previous STP16Cx596 Power Logic series. For this reason, the STP16CPS05 can save power without external intervention. The STP16CPS05 Power Logic series features a clock and data re- synchronization function, which is useful when the devices are connected in cascade. The IC is available in four package types, of which one, the thermally efficient exposed-pad TSSOP, comes with outstanding heat dissipation features. It operates over a temperature range of -40 degrees Celsius to +125 degrees Celsius, and it can work with a power supply from 3.3V up to 5V; its output current is programmable from 5mA to 80mA to suit applications requiring mid-current range and high-precision LED control. Company News Release

Bristol Harborside Gets Interactive Light Art
SSLDesign News Staff

February 22, 2007...Artist Tim Knowles and Lighting Technology Projects worked together to installed and program a new piece of interactive light art, composed from 10,000 nodes of ColorKinetics’ iColor Flex SL LED-based strand. Color Kinetics custom produced the iColor Flex SL LED for the project, complete with transparent channels. Our readers may recall that Lighting Technology Projects was one of the three companies involved in lighting up the London Eye observation wheel. (Ref: Coverage).

Tim Knowles was commissioned to create several contemporary artworks in the regenerated Bristol Harborside area by developers Crest Nicholson PLC. The largest artwork entitled, “Field of Play” (AKA “The ‘Lightwall’) , measures 48 metres wide by 12 metres tall. It is constructed from 288 vertical lines of Flex. The lines of Flex are staggered at between 50mm and 700mm.

The building takes on a edgy random covering along the two sides of buildings. The“Field of Play” is an interactive light drawing created – sometimes unwittingly - by the public as they move around Millennium Square. Kier Build was the main site contracting company for Buildings 11 and 8 at Harborside. Kier retained LTP in an operation led by Jonathan Adkins. Kier Build was to supply, fit and commission the work. Jonathan Adkins of LTP co-operated closely with Building 11’s Building & Estates Manager, Adam Kay. Sean Westgate from Green Hippo supplied the Hippotizer media server that runs the lighting control system. SSL Design PageTwo members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

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Commentary & Perspectives...

Note to (LED) Lighting Industry: Don't Screw Up
Tom Griffiths - Publisher

February 26, 2007...With the widespread publicity that California, and now Australia, have received by declaring war on the incandescent bulb (ref. earlier commentary) the LED-based solid state lighting industry has a clear opportunity in attempting to be part of today's solution. The bulk of the opportunity lay in failing at that attempt potentially setting the industry back several years by hustling inferior products to an enthusiastic, but unsuspecting consumer marketplace.

To make sure that no one takes that statement into a wider context, I'm not suggesting that solid state lighting isn't THE solution. It is. LEDs are amazing, and they will be able to do pretty much anything that lighting will demand of them. But SSL just isn't the general consumer solution right now. The spotlight that is currently shining on the incandescent bulb's execution seems to be begging for us all to tout the benefits of LED-based lighting for consumer-targeted applications. We all know that the latest generations of devices are comfortably exceeding 60 lumens/watt at the device level. We even have some results in that neighborhood at the system level. That challenge is that the bell curve of the consumer market is looking for a product that's brighter, more pleasant and cheaper than the best the industry has turned out so far. We're so close to having really competitive solutions that it is a huge temptation to say, "Solid state lighting is better than anything compact fluorescents can offer, just screw in this 'LED replacement bulb' and you'll be amazed." Their amazement will come in the form of either "sticker shock", or if the price "seems reasonable" it is likely they'll be disappointed with the brightness, consistency, color temperature, or system longevity.

Interestingly enough, the reference point for this plea is actually the painful history of the compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb's attempt to gain traction in the consumer marketplace starting as early as the 1980's. At the recent Strategies in Light conference, which rightly claims its title as The Leading Event for the Global LED Industry, Marc Ledbetter of Pacific Northwest Laboratories presented a comprehensive analysis of the CFL's market failure points (they call it "lessons learned"). The US Department of Energy's solid state lighting publications list has the full 92-page report available in PDF format. It's a decent read for those with marketing and business development interests. The bottom line is that with strong energy company incentives to get CFLs into the consumers hands, the market share in the conservation-oriented northwestern US peaked at close to 12 percent in 2001 before settling back down to somewhere in the 5-8 percent range. Nationally, CFLs held only 1.6 percent of the residential sockets, according to 2002 data, which is apparently the among most recent that is conveniently available.

The early CFL "failure" in the US seems to be fairly intuitively analyzed. They came to life in an era where fluorescent light was not really pleasant, magnetic ballasts were noisy and reduced the performance, and the initial form factors did not attractively lend themselves to many consumer sockets. The combination of bad light from barely compatible form factors that delivered shorter than expected lifetime for a fairly high price is a pretty heavy load of baggage to continue carrying around in the consumer marketplace. Any of those faults sound familiar? While the period of 1980 to 1999 wasn't a good one for the CFL track record, they did bring in revenues that could fund R&D reinvestment, which resulted in major improvements. Those improvements brought CFLs along towards genuine desirability and the task then shifted to more of a marketing effort designed to convince the consumers that "these aren't your parents fluorescents." Twenty-seven years later, wham, here comes success in the form of these regulatory "ban the bulb" stirrings.

So how should the solid state lighting industry respond?

Page 6.7 of the report sums up the current challenge for the LED-based lighting industry quite nicely:

It appears that some early LED product offerings, in particular those that are being marketed as a replacement for incandescents for general service lighting, may be following a path similar to early CFL offerings and similar mistakes may be made. LED products for general service applications are very expensive, make overstated lumen equivalency and energy savings claims, and don't perform very well. The early applications of LED lights that have succeeded have capitalized on the unique nature of LED lighting - its high directionality, small size of the lamps, strong hues, brightness, solid state operation, and long life. In cases, where manufacturers are trying to force-fit them into general service applications, they are less likely to be successful and could in fact turn off consumers who might otherwise find LEDs perfectly acceptable for niche applications. [Emphasis added]

There it is... that 'niche' word again. Focus on the niches where LEDs offer a clear set of advantages and market the heck out of them in those niches. Niches can be big. Niches can be huge, even in terms of profitability, that mighty engine that feeds the needs of R&D. Invent new niches that haven't really been well defined before. (The "high color rendering consumer apparel illumination niche" comes to mind... that would be my closet, where black and blue look the same, and cordovan shoes match brown belts, which never happens outside the closet). Attack the "high visibility" niches, which will likely initially stem from commercial and industrial applications, that build consumer confidence and then promote the success, as Cree is doing with the City of Raleigh or Lumileds has done to a lesser extent with San Jose.

Meanwhile, don't freak out fearing that CFL is going to gain some huge advantage as the early mover in this "new" incandescent replacement wave. MP3 players were only about 30 years late on the "new" personal portable music wave, and cell phones showed up 50 years after mass adoption of the telephone really kicked into gear. If the industry is disciplined during these few short years of working niche to niche, SSL won't be chasing the consumer lighting market, it will be driving it.

 

 

 

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