LED lighting industry calls for standards

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LED and solid state lighting standardisation and regulations are of vital importance as the shift to LED lighting is rapidly becoming a reality. Like traditional lighting products, LED based luminaires sold in India also need to be subjected to industry standards governing safety and performance. Over the past few years, numerous organisations and working groups have been feeling the need for standards and methods to measure critical factors such as the lifetime of LED products and their performance.

To cover LEDs, some existing standards and test procedures are being modified, while in other cases, new standards have been developed. A majority of those in the LED industry feel that standards and specifications will not only organise the industry, but also encourage local manufacturing.

By Sandhya Malhotra

Thursday, July 15, 2010: Why standards are needed

As LED lighting products lack standardisation, customers buy whatever sellers offer. The irony is that though people talk about the benefits of LEDs, the products in the market hardly comply any standard. Lighting companies are focusing on the industrial segment rather than on general consumers. On the other hand, the Bureau Of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has taken the initiative in trying to give an informed choice to the consumers on the running costs of the equipments they buy. A labelling programme for the lighting industry has already been started, informs Mumba based Amit Valia, a lighting systems consultant.

In India, LED lighting is still an unorganised sector due to low cost imports and lack of consumer awareness. Therefore, there is a need for standardisation and regulations, which may discourage 

cheaper imports. “Standards are important to ensure that products have a high quality and their performance will be specified uniformly for commerce and trade. Standards will aim to set up a common platform for the development of LED lighting industry which includes the lighting source, modules, fixtures, testing procedure, etc,” says V Niju, deputy director, automation and electronics, Frost and Sullivan.

Nilesh Naik, senior manager & product business development marketing, Philips Electronics India Ltd, says, “Standards and specifications will provide a reality check on some of the misrepresentations related to LED lighting that are prevalent in the industry and reiterate the need to correct them as it could harm the interests of the industry.”

According to Deepak Bapat, director of sales, Cree Hongkong Ltd, India, “Since there is no standards, local influences dictate the specifications. We have various interpretations prevailing in the local market.” Vijay Kolaventy, managing director, Hyperion Green Energy India Pvt Ltd, sees a potential 16 billion LED streetlights used by about 2881 urban local bodies, thus turning in a revenue of Rs 45 billion. “The government can play the most important role in setting the right standards for the use of LED in different application areas. This should help manufacturers understand the right specifications for each kind of requirement,” he adds.

Standards may kill innovation

Vijay Kumar Gupta, managing director, Kwality Industries, feels that the LED lighting market in India is highly under-penetrated and it’s too early to talk about standards. “The moment you bring standards into the picture, it will kill innovation and make everybody follow the same standard. Hence, standards are not the right way to go.”

As a user, you crave for standards, but manufacturers may not be willing to adopt them. In Gupta’s view, establishing standards is a long process. Also, while creating standards, the government should be careful, since it should give enough space for innovation and for further improvement to happen. The government should also understand that LED lighting is an expensive affair, thus interchangeability and interportability in terms of voltage and dimensions should be seamless, he says.

Government initiative

Saurabh Kumar, secretary, BEE, has already set up a committee under the national manufacturing competitiveness council (NMCC) to study the issues pertaining to manufacturing, testing and standardisation in LED lighting. There are plans to evolve recommendations to be dealt with at both the policy and action levels. The committee has come up with a detailed economic analysis for LED lighting.

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

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