LED commercial lighting: Look for new technology and innovative products

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Light emitting diode (LED) lighting is gaining popularity as the lighting technology of choice for many commercial and industrial operations. This is because LED lighting is much safer, cheaper and more energy efficient than other lighting sources. LED lighting fixtures usually have higher luminance and yet they consume less energy, thus inspiring many commercial and industrial applications to convert to LED lighting. Companies that currently use this technology report that they consume approximately 48 per cent less energy than when they were using conventional lighting technology. Besides, LED lighting is visually appealing as well.


By Srabani Sen

Thursday, May 12, 2011: LED technology is, therefore, being constantly upgraded to meet the requirements of newer applications. To cope with this demand, new LED lighting products are also being manufactured, which are flooding the market. “For commercial purposes, the most effective LED lighting would be MR16, MR11 and downlights of various wattages. These are used in showrooms, shopping malls, offices, factories, etc,” says Ravi AV, general manager, LED division, Nichia Chemical (I) Pvt Ltd.

What’s new in the market

Different types of LED lighting products are available in the market, ranging from retrofitted bulbs, tubelights and flexible and rigid strip lights, to a number of downlights and spotlights. The range is so varied, that a buyer can easily get confused. So it is better that you first assess your requirements and do some research before going out into the market. While there are products from reputed brands, there are also products from local manufacturers and imports from China, Taiwan and other countries.

A ‘new LED product’ generally means a product with an upgraded version of LED technology and some specification changes in the components of the lighting product to make it more energy efficient. Since the pace of technology development is so fast in the LED space, enabling it to

cater to newer applications, an LED lighting product that is new today could be outdated the next month. So it is very difficult to say what’s new in the market ‘today’. There are also players in the market who will pass on an old version of a lighting product as the “most recent addition”. So buyers need to have some basic knowledge about the technology and the credibility of the players in the market.

A majority of commercial lighting involves recessed or canned lighting, which releases very little heat. Their direct lighting and good intensity provide focused light where it is most needed. They can be operated by dimmer switches that help tailor the lighting to the needs of the individual. AMKA Lighting Pvt Ltd has added new products to its wide range of LED recessed downlights, spotlights, surface lights, and power LED lamps, which the company claims to be a replacement of the MR16 halogen lamp. “These power LED lamps can save at least 85 per cent of the energy normally used and have a working life of 20,000 hours,” informs Sanjive Jain, managing director and SC Joneja, director, AMKA Lighting. AMKA Lighting, in collaboration with US based Greenstar Products Inc. of Texas US, manufactures Galaxy range of LED streetlights and Solaris mid bay and high bay LED lights for gas stations. These fixtures have unique features like modular construction for ease of field maintenance, unique futuristic appearance, zero air gap, etc.

Binay Opto’s model 600² power LED luminaire is a new lighting product, designed as a recessed fitting and suitable for installation into a panel grid. “It offers 95 per cent luminaire efficiency and low power consumption, saving 75 per cent more power than comparable fluorescent tubelights,” explains Kumar K Rohatgi, founder and technical adviser, Binay Group. Binay Opto is the first to manufacture in India downlighters, bay lights, MR16 and MR11 replacements, claims the company.

LED retrofit bulbs, that can conveniently replace the GLS bulb and be installed on existing lighting fixtures without any additional expense, are new in the market. These globe shaped bulbs also come in RGB colour changing models and with a remote control. In October 2010, Philips Lighting India launched a range of LED bulbs for consumers in the Indian market. These indigenously developed LED bulbs adhere to India specific environmental and infrastructural challenges such as voltage fluctuations, energy spikes and an irregular power supply.

“Unlike other lighting technologies that are electrical, LED lights are electronics devices. The LED bulbs, like other LED sources, are one of the most sustainable lighting solutions. They are based on low voltage technology and have a lifespan of 50,000 hours,” says Aditya Khosla, director, Sanarti. New additions from Sanarti include LED T5 and T8 tubelight series, LED bulb series and LED panel light series. T5 and T8 tubelights are an energy efficient replacement for traditional fluorescent tubes and have an option of inbuilt or a separate ballast. Sanarti, Presendential Award winning company, has 50 patents to its kitty and has already supplied one million lights in India.

Almost every LED player offers different kinds of downlights. Among its new products, Avni Energy offers downlights and MR16 LEDs. “We have developed downlights using a special diffuser, where the light source is not visible. Another new product is the MR16 version which is dimmable,” informs G Gururaja, director, operations, Avni Energy Solutions Pvt Ltd.

“An MR16 LED bulb is a multifaceted reflector (MR) and is usually high powered but uses just 4 watts. It emits the same light output as a standard 50 watt bulb would,” informs Jaweed Khan, CEO, Hovel LED Lighting. The company has a series of MR16 compatible modules.

Binay Opto’s retrofit power LED tubelights can replace an existing T8 fluorescent tube. “We have filed a patent for this product. There is no need to remove the electromagnetic choke. The unit can run through the choke, or directly without the choke,” explains Kumar K Rohatgi. Other players who offer tubelights are Sanarti, AMKA, MIRC Electronics Ltd, etc. “Our LED lights are anti-glare with a higher light output and low heat dissipation,” says Avnish Jauhari, business head, lighting, MIRC Electronics Ltd.

LED high bay lights are also in much demand, as these lights have a much longer working lifespan compared to conventional fluorescent and incandescent lights. On an average, you can expect these lights to last 10 times as long as a typical compact fluorescent bulb. These lights are usually used in factories, warehouses, as industrial shed lights, as front lighting of buildings, hoarding lights, etc. As a result, many companies now offer high bay lights. “LED high bay lights have found wide acceptability in commercial applications replacing traditional CFL/MH high bay lights, which consume more power and generate a lot of heat,” says Kapil Sood, managing director, Amptek LED Lighting.

“Our bay lights have 100 per cent application efficiency and 80 per cent power efficiency. Their lifespan is 50,000 hours,” says Shyam Jindal, managing director, Olive Exports Pvt Ltd. Amptek LED Lighting, Sujana and Avni Energy also offer high bay lights.

Various new versions of track lighting products are available in the market. Track lighting consists of a series of lights attached to metal runners or tracks. Being highly customisable, track lighting is commercially used to highlight a piece of art, a design feature, or to draw attention to a product in a retail establishment. “It allows users to mix and match fixtures and bulbs. Fixtures may include pendants, floodlights and spotlights,” says Kapil Sood.

Almost all LED lighting players offer downlights, but the new variants are designed for use in commercial applications and are available with a moderate or deep recess angle offering the flexibility to meet diverse lighting design requirements. The new LR4 downlight generates light in a new way that enables an unprecedented combination of light output, efficacy and beautiful colour, apart from being affordable. Some of the players offering downlights are Sujana Energy Ltd, MIRC Electronics, Candela Lighting Systems Pvt Ltd, Hovel LED Lighting, Binay Opto, and others.

Sujana Energy offers a series of retrofit downlights which are designed with a new technology for better thermal management. The newly designed heatsink makes these downlights very light weight, more durable and reliable. “All our products deliver more lumens for each watt of power consumed. Our LED products are equipped with highly efficient acrylic prismatic diffuser of high transmission efficiency of more than 90 per cent. The prismatic diffuser reduces the glare of the LED and increases the light output footprint, making these products much more suitable for commercial purpose,” informs Hari Kiran Chereddi, managing director, Sujana Energy Ltd.

Another new offering from MIRC Electronics, Binay Opto and Sanarti is the ceiling light panel. “There are two main types of LED panel lights in the market. One is with the power supply inside, and the other has the power supply outside the panel—the former has to be relatively thicker,” explains Aditya Khosla.

GlacialTech Inc’s new addition are panel lights of 595 x 595 mm with backlight technology and four sides light extraction. “Designed to be both fashionable and functional, the Pollux series LED panel lights are ideal for replacing traditional tubelights or grid lights,” says Carol Chiu, global marketing head, GlacialLight.

There are also new types of cove lighting available in the market. Cove lights are made up of tubes or other shapes of light that are hidden high up on walls or ceilings. They give out a dramatic glow of light, and may be used as primary lighting or for aesthetic accents. “Cove lighting is in demand because the fixtures are hidden and it provides a very even, warm light,” says BN Sinha and Deepak Tyagi, directors, Candela Lighting Systems Pvt Ltd. The company offers various kinds of cove lighting.

There are new types of facade lights in the market. Intelligent DMX controlled lighting fixtures are one of them. “These are installed with full DMX control with scene creation and scene edit. DMX is a digital control protocol that controls lighting. DMX can be used to control dimmer channels, intelligent lighting, etc. It is a signal storage device used for mixing colours selected from a colour spectrum in the form of digital data. These signals are further transmitted through shielded cables to the lighting fixtures accordingly which respond to the given data signal,” explains Kapil Sood. Amptek specialises in DMX lighting.

In order to make LED lights more advanced, manufacturers are coming up with unique types of LED lighting products. One such product has been developed by Olive LED. It is a unique stitching machine focus light, for which the company has filed a patent application.

Manufacturers are also focusing on dimmable LED lights which are available not only in white, but in a number of other lighting colours.

Scope for customisation

LED lighting products have huge scope for customisation, starting from manufacturing and designing new casings, housings and enclosures to designing luminaires as per customer specifications. Even the fixtures and drivers are being customised.

“Manufacturers have been designing and making products that suit their customers well, by not just optimising lighting levels that can be achieved through customisation of colour temperatures, CRI, lux levels and the axis, but also providing optimum light distribution by using specialised optical lenses,” say BN Sinha and Deepak Tyagi. “But while customising products, the manufacturer should always keep quality as the priority, as in this competitive market, manufacturers end up using inferior quality components that not only hamper the efficient operation of the product but also adversely impact the expected life of LEDs,” adds Shyam Jindal.

According to Gurinder Singh Lali, founder, Nano Power, “Electronic ballasts are also responsible for better lamp performance, extending life and improving colour characteristics. Luminaires are selected for their lighting effectiveness, and these products are manufactured and customised as per specifications provided by the buyers, which include many factors like input power supply (AC/DC), lumens output (high/low), total wattage, angles of light output, specifications of size and shape, etc.”

Technological changes and innovations

Technological advancements and innovations are an ongoing process in the LED manufacturing and designing process. The integrated design of LED lighting products is based on four core technologies—electronics design (LEDs), electrical design (LED drivers), mechanical design (cooling devices), and optical design (lamp holders), and innovations have been taking place in all these components. Over the past two years, the performance of high power LEDs has improved drastically, with greatly increased light output (flux), improved efficacy (lumens per watt), colour quality and stability. “Today, commercial LEDs are emitting about 110-120 lumens/watts and, recently, the Bilkent University in Turkey has claimed to have developed an LED with an output of 300 lumens/watts,” says SC Joneja.

The three most exciting improvements that have happened are in the areas of applicability, availability and affordability of LEDs from the perspective of a common man. “LED lights are now applicable to our day-to-day lighting needs, are available in most shapes and sizes and, most significantly, are becoming affordable to all, thereby providing limitless opportunities,” says Hari Chereddi.

Some of the improvements in the last few years have given LED technology a real boost—ceramic packages for better thermal management; increase in efficiency within a short time frame backed by chip technologies; long life, high brightness white LEDs with longer maintenance intervals and better total cost of ownership, etc. “These improvements support fast and extensive adoption of LEDs for different applications,” opines Kapil Sood.

As the lumens/watt increases, the number of LEDs to be used to replace conventional lighting has come down, thereby reducing the cost and wattage of replacing conventional light. “We have replaced 20,000 MNC 18 watt CFLs by 5 watt LEDs. That increases ROI drastically,” says Gururaja.

Shyam Jindal agrees, saying, “Innovations in commercial lighting are more focused on designing the components for maximum light with minimum wastage. As a result, the angles of light dispersion are important and, therefore, the fixing of lenses in the lights play an important role. By using perfect lenses, the perfect spread of the light can be achieved.”

In commercial lighting, designing of the lighting fixture should be perfect according to IP standards, where the life of the fixture should be capable of protecting the life of the LED. If the life of the LED is more than 50,000 hours or 1,00,000 hours, the standard of the fixture should also match that. “Many inferior designs are available in the market where the life of the fixture cannot be expected to extend for longer than three to four years. How can we then expect to protect the LEDs for about 15 years with these fixtures? In Olive, we take special care of this aspect and use good quality metal to match the heatsink quality,” adds Shyam Jindal.

With drastic improvements in diffusers, secondary lens and reflector technology, it is now possible to achieve better quality lighting with a good spread of light, without much wastage of energy or multiple shadows. “Earlier, even though we had LEDs which could have been driven up to 1 Amp (3 watts), the lumen output was not efficient. But now with new generation LEDs, the lumen output is much more efficient. For example, even at 1 watt (350 mA), we get 130 lumens; or at 3 watts (1 Amp), we get 300 lumens. This will help us to use fewer LEDs,” says Gururaja.

Sujana Energy offers innovative features in its products. One feature that stands out is the intelligent proximity module, such as a motion sensor, which is sensitive to movement and can offer functionalities like auto-dimming or switching on/off. It also offers photosensitive LED billboard lighting, which is solar based and self-sufficient for automatic power supply. This means that it has an inbuilt dimming and on/off mechanism. One of the more relevant features for developing nations like India with frequent power cuts is a battery backed lighting solution. This mechanism automatically senses the power source and switches to battery mode in the absence of power supply from the grid. “Proximity sensing, temperature monitoring, and dimming are a few of the new technologies,” says Hari Chereddi.

Having seen the high potential for LED tubelights in the commercial and domestic arena, Nichia recently introduced low power LEDs in tiny packages. The smallest LEDs (3 mm X 1.4 mm) now have inbuilt zener diodes, with the same footprint for 0.06 watt, 0.12 watt, 0.24 watt and 0.5 watt bulbs. “Chip on board technology (COB) is an emerging technology, which allows for virtually limitless freedom in the use of PCBs and, thus, serves as the basis for totally unique LED solutions,” informs Ravi AV.

COB technology is used for both small chip and high power chips to give long life and high reliability to the product. In COB production process, LED chips are directly attached to the metal PCB substrate, so that the heat generated at the P/N junction has a direct path for maximum heat dissipation. This process eliminates the major bottleneck of the lead-in wires for heat dissipation, as the entire chip rests directly on the metal surface.

“COB technology, while slightly expensive, is the best solution for temperature sensitive devices such as LEDs, primarily due to its superior heat dissipation characteristics, which results in cooler LED chips and a long life of up to 100,000 hours,” explains Kumar K Rohtagi. Binay has pioneered this new technology in India. “Our COB LED strips are standard products and we are also using COB technology to manufacture COB LED downlighters, COB LED footlights, COB retrofit tubelights and COB retrofit GLS bulbs,” says Kumar K Rohtagi.

Cree has recently launched XLamp XM-L LED, a single die white lighting class LED. It is 20 per cent more efficient than XLamp XP-G at the same current, and can deliver 1000 lumens with 100 lumens per watt efficacy, claims the company. “Its wide viewing angle, symmetrical package, unlimited floor life and electrically neutral thermal path, could make a lighting product more energy efficient and powerful,” explains Shyam Mishra, sales manager, India, Cree Hong Kong Ltd.

Cree’s XLamp MT-G LEDs are optimised for 35-50 watt halogen MR16 retrofit bulbs and for accent, track, display and down lighting. This features Cree’s ‘EasyWhite’ technology and delivers consistent colour in a small, highly efficient package. This LED is designed for the high lumen, small footprint requirements of 35 and 50 watt halogen retrofit lamps.

“XLamp MT-G LED is the first in the industry binned and tested at 85 degrees C and it can simplify luminaire design calculations and speed time-to-market. With a 9 mm x 9 mm footprint, the MT-G LED delivers up to 560 lumens at 1.1A at 85 C or up to 1525 lumens at 4A at 85 C in warm white (3000K),” informs Shyam Mishra.

Philips Lumileds has recently developed its Luxeon solution with uniform and consistent colour. This will address luminaire manufacturers’ and lighting designers’ concerns over white light consistency and uniformity, and will simplify the design process for LED solutions, claims the company. Philips Lumileds’ high voltage emitter, Luxeon H, is driven directly with rectified AC voltage rather than constant DC current.

What a buyer should consider

As mentioned earlier, a buyer can easily get confused if not aware of the basics of LED commercial lights as there are many players in the market offering different products with different technologies and specifications, and different features.

Buyers should ask some important questions before purchasing LED commercial lighting products. The foremost is related to quality, which is determined by fixture design, thermal management, illumination, longevity and cost. The next consideration is the cost of the fixture and its performance, which means, how energy efficient is it when compared to its cost in the long run. Another factor is reliability, which can be gauged by usage in hours. Also, the fixture should be easy to install and have a retrofit capability. The final point to consider is the return on investment.

Here’s a simple checklist that a buyer should follow before making a purchase decision.

Expertise and track record of the manufacturer: There are some crucial areas where only a manufacturer can understand the importance of the required guidelines for manufacturing a particular product. A good product is that where the life of LED should be properly supported by the complete luminaire. In an inferior product, the depreciation of light is very high. A manufacturer should be able to provide good after sales service.

Reputation of the supplier and the warranty offered: Improperly designed LED lighting products are extremely misleading in the sense that failure will not occur between 6, 9, or even 12 months after commissioning, but more likely between 18 to 24 months after being put into operation. Moreover, LED failure is not catastrophic (that is, the LED does not go off); a badly designed LED running under adverse conditions will gradually degrade in light output. A 24 month operating life does not cover the payback period, and essentially means that such an improperly designed LED solution becomes even more expensive than an existing solution that uses conventional technologies. Since this evidence of improper design manifests itself only after such an extended period, it is essential to ensure both the reputation of the LED product manufacturer as well as the warranty being offered.

Total cost of ownership over the products life span: When comparing with products employing existing technology, such as incandescent or fluorescent lamps, buyers must consider not just the initial higher capital investment on the LED product, but the total lifetime cost of owning it. This is always lower because of energy savings, elimination of replacement costs, and even savings in lower air conditioning costs. For example, an LED product may have a payback period of 3-4 years in comparison to the CFL product it is replacing; however, as the life of the LED product is 10 to 15 years or more, this means that once the payback period is covered, the LED product basically operates free of cost.

Power LEDs are advisable for illumination applications: Any LED product used for illumination and lighting must not use small chip (5mm/SMD) packaged LEDs, but only power LEDs. This is essential, as small chip LEDs are not designed for continuous lighting operation, and do not have the thermal management properties which are built into power LEDs.

Thermal management techniques used in the LED product should be checked. The LED is a solid state device like a transistor, and heat is generated at the P/N junction of the LED chip. The life of the product is very dependent on keeping the P/N junction cool, with good thermal dissipation. The two major factors to be noted in power LED design are—a 10 per cent rise in P/N junction temperature decreases the LED life by 50 per cent; and to dissipate 1 watt of heat requires 58 sq cm (9 sq inch) of surface area exposed to ambient air flow.

LEDs should be provided with thick aluminium heatsinks, and for proper heat dissipation, the thermal resistance to heat transfer must be minimised. Heatsinks should be exposed to the ambient air flow, because if they are enclosed, heat dissipation will not take place.

It is important to examine the method of thermal management of any luminaire. For example, in a streetlight enclosure, a cast aluminium body construction is not conductive to heat transfer, as cast aluminium has lower heat transmission capabilities (on account of air entrapped in the metal during the casting process). A luminaire design based on extrusion techniques is preferred when using LEDs for streetlights. (It may be noted that evidence of a hot external body surface in an LED luminaire is an ideal guarantee of good heat transfer)

Selecting a product based on requirements: Customers sometimes use a heavy lighting product where the need for light is less. In some specific areas, good designs can save substantial energy.

Check the specification of the product: Go through the specifications of the light fixture, it should match with the product. Sometimes there are variations between the specifications and actual product, this does not work well.

Name of the manufacturer
LED commercial lighting products 
Key features Standards, the products comply with Contact details
AMKA Lighting Pvt Ltd Power LED lamps, LED recessed downlights, spotlights, surface lights, LED tubelights and bulbs, track lights, flexible strip lights, midbay and highbay lights, foot lights and brick lights ISO 9001, best quality and reliability   Ph: +91-11-40167201/02; Website: www.amka.in
Amptek LED Lighting LED downlights, LED wall washers, intelligent LED based DMX lighting solutions, LED track lights, LED core lights, etc Competitive pricing, upto 3 years’ warranty, latest designs, customised products ISO 9001: 2000, proper IP ratings followed & RoHS compliant components Ph: 2672717, 9810424025; Email:info@amptekindia.com; Website: www.amptekindia.com
Avni Energy Solutions Pvt Ltd LED downlights, LED 2×2, LED 1×1, MR16, focus lights, high bay lights, etc Energy efficient and high power factor >0.9; total harmonics distortion is less than 15%; lumen output is more (220 lm at 1 A) with less number of LEDs Does not contain mercury or other harmful metals; ROHS compliant; IP 44 to IP 54 Ph: +918026860337, +919845009399; Email: gururaja@avnienergy.com; Website: www.avnienergy.com
Binay Opto Electronics Pvt Ltd LED downlights, cove lights, mood lights, building facade lights, RGB effect lights (capable of generating up to 16 million colours), and underwater lights, spotlights, LED tubelights and bulbs, high bay lights, etc Designed as per Indian conditions; lifespan of 10 years+; 50 to 75% lower power consumption than existing technologies; 5 years’ warranty ISO 9001:2000 Ph: +91-33-22429082, 22103807, 22102039, Email: info@binayLED.co, binay@vsnl.com; Website: www.binayLED.com
Candela Lighting Systems Pvt Ltd Downlights, track lights, spotlights, cove lights, inground uplighters, lamps, floodlights, etc Saves 90 per cent energy cost; 100,000 hour life; low maintenance CE, RoHS, at par with ISO standards Ph: 91-11-64582517,  29532517, 9810131539, 9313900151; Email: candelalighting@bol.net.in, info.candelalighting@gmail.com; Website: www.candelalighting.co.in
GlacialTech Inc Panel lights 595 x 595 mm Elegant structure, designed to dissipate heat CE/FCC/ETL (applying) Ph: +886222441227 (Ext 600); Email: carol.chiu@glacialtech.com; Website: www.glacialtech.com
Hovel LED Lighting MR 16, ceiling lights, downlights, RGB lights, cove lights, wall washers, etc Competitive pricing and reliability   Ph: +91-11-22022044, 9310051512; Email: hovelled@gmail.com; www.hovel.in
MIRC Electronics Ltd LED tubelights, downlights, ceiling light panels, direct and indirect lights, etc Non-glaring LED lights with highest light output Following ISO and the standard fixed by Onida Ph: +91-22-67749650, +919833619434; Email: support.lighting@onida.com; Website: www.onida.com
Olive Exports Pvt Ltd LED bulbs, LED stitching machine focus lights, downlights, tubelights, ceiling lights, bay lights, etc Product made in India as per Indian requirements All specs with IP grading, and as per specs and standard required by the client Ph: 011-27386560, 09312400900; Email:s.jindal@oliveled.in; Website: www.olive-led-light.com
Sanarti LED blubs, tubelights, architectural lights, ceiling lights, facade lights, spotlights, etc   ISO 9001: 2008, ESCO (BEE), IEC standards Ph:+91-9810246605; Email: aditya.khosla@sanartigroup.com; Website: www.sanartigroup.com
Sujana Energy Ltd Troffer lights, downlights, LED bulbs, low bay lights, high bay lights, canopy lights and floodlights Products with higher lumen efficacy and high photometric footprint Products are RoHS compliant. Also, international electro-technical commission (IEC) standards Ph: 040-2335-0953 Ext 109; Email: madhava.rao@sujana.com; Website: www.sujana.com/energy

Note: The names of the companies are in alphabetical order.

Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine

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