As the technology is being upgraded, manufacturers are graduating to making a whole new range of products.
Monday, August 13, 2012: Light emitting diodes (LEDs) have been the most significant development in lighting technology. Their flexibility, energy efficiency and the possibility to have them in any desired colour, with sharp light or shadow lines, and without light pollution, are some of the unique characteristics that make them popular.
LEDs not only offer low energy lighting solutions but also come with low maintenance costs. LEDs offer design flexibility while being eco-friendly. Saving energy is one of the biggest advantages of adopting this technology. Also, LEDs have a long life, ranging from anywhere between 50,000 to 100,000 hours. Since an LED spreads light only over a focused area, it reduces energy wastage as well. These are the main reasons for its adoption in manufacturing units, factories, as streetlights, etc.
Latest products and innovative features
There has been continuous development and upgradation in the products being offered by manufacturers. As the technology is being upgraded, manufacturers are graduating to making a whole new range of products. Today, we have lights that are water-proof, rust-proof and explosion-proof. These lights have very specific applications and, hence, serve only niche segments.
What a buyer should consider
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 as well as 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 it is 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.
The warranty offered: Improperly designed LED lighting products are extremely misleading in the sense that failure can occur any time after commissioning. So it is important that the trader offer a good period of warranty.
Total cost of ownership over the product’s lifespan: Buyers must consider not just the initial higher capital investment on the LED product, but the total lifetime cost of owning it. 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 is basically operating 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 operations, and do not have the thermal management properties that are built into power LEDs.
The 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 dependent on keeping the P/N junction cool, with good thermal dissipation.
Selecting a product based on requirements: Customers sometimes use a heavy lighting product even where the need for light is less. In some specific areas, good designs can save substantial energy.
Check the specifications 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.
Flame-proof LED luminaires
Flame-proof LED luminaires are the latest entrants into the market. These luminaires are certified as flame-proof and explosion-proof. They have been designed to replace conventional fluorescent tubelights, are suitable for Gas Group I IIA/IIB, and are designed to be suspended from the ceiling. These luminaires carry a warranty of three years (the normal lifespan is 12-15 years).
Ruchi Telecom offers flame-proof LED lights that come with features such as intelligence auto on/off and a power saving mode. The bulbs are flame-proof, with a built-in temperature control system to monitor internal and external temperatures. The maximum temperature possible is 100°C. These can be used in open spaces or in industries where the environmental conditions are not favourable. The bulbs have an operating life of 50,000 hours, which is nearly 10 times more than any other lighting product.
Cold room luminaires
Cold room luminaires are another innovation introduced by manufacturers. Cold rooms have very specialised lighting requirements due to their low temperature and high moisture content. A solid state solution is ideal for low temperature cold room applications such as cold storages, freezers and large scale refrigeration plants. LED lights are being used in such applications because, unlike other lamps, the light output increases as the temperature drops by up to +10 per cent at -20°C. To combat high moisture in cold room environments, these lights are fitted into a rust-proof and corrosion-resistant powder coated aluminium housing, with stainless steel hardware. Designed to operate at temperatures of -40°C for a lifespan of 15 years, Binay Opto offers its PowerLED model—24L. The cold room luminaires are ideal for commercial cold rooms, food processing centres, hotels, restaurants, high moisture areas, etc. The totally sealed housing of the fixtures protects against infiltration of particles and airborne bacteria.
Streetlights with polycarbonate covers
Adding new features to the most common streetlights, Philips Lighting India has specially designed streetlights with polycarbonate covers, which reduce glare, spread light evenly and are impact resistant. They are completely reliable even in Indian conditions, as they are designed to operate on a wide voltage range. Philips GreenLine Smart LED light also has IP 65 protection with very high ingress protection against dust and water. It is perfect for secondary roads and pathways. It sports a compact body, which offers a highly efficient lighting solution as compared to fluorescent and CFL streetlights. It is completely maintenance free.
SMD technology panel lights
SMD technology panel lights are yet another new entrant in the market. Their unique heat sink design with high surface area for quick heat dissipation offers uniform light transmission. With low power consumption and an elegant design that helps to dissipate heat, GlacialLight’s panel lights offer a long lifespan of 30,000 working hours. This is an ideal replacement for conventional tubelights and grid lights. This high efficiency 58W LED panel is a good choice for hospitals, airports, offices, supermarkets, stores, and other commercial and retail locations. Each compact panel is only 13 mm deep, minimising the architectural and interior design impact. The panel fills internal spaces with a warm bright illumination with a colour temperature of 3000 K and a colour rendering index (CRI) of 80.
In the same category, Karvin Power Systems offers panel downlights with perfect optical system for uniform illumination. It provides IP 65 protection and has a unique design of heat sink for better heat dissipation. Ranging from 18 to 36W, it offers a lifespan of 50,000 hours and save up to 80 per cent of the energy making the product suitable for industrial usage. It is available in prismatic sheet with 90 per cent light output and diffused acrylic sheet for cool lighting.
Apart from other latest developments in LED products, automation is one field in which players have been experimenting with their designs and products. To accurately control the voltage and current for precise LED light intensities and colour mixing, LED lighting systems are now being designed for temperature monitoring, intelligent and adaptive dimming of the LED and fault detection. Immunity from voltage fluctuations (the light output remains the same in spite of the input voltage), zero dirt degradation, no light loss due to dust, no requirement to clean and no flickering or stroboscopic effects are some of the other areas where developments are taking place.
Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine