Daintree, LG reduce wireless LED lighting control overhead

p-LED-LG2Daintree Networks and LG Electronics USA recently announced that they have created a fully integrated LED lighting solution with wireless control for commercial settings. The jointly-developed system embeds wireless communication capability directly into LED drivers used in LG LED lighting fixtures, enabling seamless interaction with Daintree’s ControlScope™ networked wireless control solution. Initial LG products with wireless drivers include LED troffer fixtures and retrofit kits. The resulting joint solution is expected to yield significant savings for users, both in up-front costs and in energy efficiency following installation, benefiting also from the market-leading efficacy of LG LED troffers.

Using wireless LED drivers eliminates both the expense and installation challenges associated with using a separate wireless adapter, which was required for granular wireless control of overhead troffers in commercial and industrial buildings. Daintree estimates that, with the LG-Daintree solution, companies can expect to save up to 85 percent per fixture in equipment and labor for installing wireless communication and improve energy efficiency by up to 90 percent.

Stratford, ON to investigate upgrade to LEDs

Stratford ON

Stratford, ON, is famous for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Perhaps they'll also become famous for their LED lighting.

The City of Stratford, Ontario, has started a pilot project that will evaluate replacing existing streetlights (potentially as many as 4,000 units) with energy-efficient LED fixtures. This project has helped earn Stratford become one of the “Top Seven Intelligent Communities for 2012″ by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) a New York-based think tank dedicated to studying the use of information and communications technology to create the community of the 21st Century.

Stratford shares the kudos with communities having populations and economies many times its size: Austin, Texas; Oulu, Finland; Quebec City, Quebec; Riverside, California; Saint John, New Brunswick and Taichung City, Taiwan. All seven communities were feted last week at ICF’s annual “Building The Broadband Economy” summit conference in New York City. The goal of the awards program is to increase awareness of the role that broadband communications and information access technologies play in shaping the economic and social development of communities worldwide.

The pilot project will include Toshiba’s LED roadway and area lighting fixtures. These fixtures are a direct replacement for conventional high intensity discharge (HID) lighting, such as high-pressure sodium or metal halide lamps. With the new LED lighting fixtures, Stratford could save up to 30% in energy costs.

Stratford, Ontario is a city of 32,000 in southwestern Ontario, famous for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The city was twice designated one of the world’s Top Seven Intelligent Communities, in 2011 and 2012, by the New York-based broadband think tank, the Intelligent Community Forum.

LED disks on a rail

One use for the VLM system is in indoor horticulture applications.

Lightfair 2011 has been a blur of wall-to-wall LED technology. LEDs have been so dominant and so prevalent that very few offerings stand out from the pack. One such product isn’t available for purchase is full of potential.
   The Versatile Light Module (VLM), from Molex Inc., Lisle, IL, uses light-source “pucks” and a rail to provide a rather flexible lighting solution. The low-profile rail has two conductive strips that run its entire length, much like train tracks. The rail also serves as a heat sink. LED pucks are simply placed in the rail and use a pair of magnets to connect to the conductive strips. Once they connect, they are powered and the LED chip activated.
   The VLM offers versatility by making it possible to alter the lighting color/intensity by simply changing pucks. Because the connection is magnetic, you can slide the pucks along the rail and position them wherever you need light. Of course, sliding pucks, grouping colors, and using any beam angle opens the door to almost endless creativity. In fact, according to Molex, the concept makes it possible to use virtually any type of light source, though LEDs were demonstrated.
   Since Molex is rather talented at building connectors, they’ve created several ways to join the rails. One demonstrated arrangement uses the rails to create the equivalent of a picture frame, with light sources on all four sides.
   According to a Molex blog post, “The technology behind the VLM product line is called MID or Molded Interconnect Devices. MID technology is the application of circuitry onto three-dimensional plastic surfaces. By integrating a light source into a selectively-plated plastic component, that includes the drive electronics and a magnetic hold down, we are able to dramatically reduce the complexity and cost of implementing solid-state lighting solutions.”
   What lies ahead for this concept? “Although the first generation of VLM modules are low-voltage products, within the next six months, direct-line voltage products will become available, further driving down the cost and usability of solid-state lighting. All of this is possible through the use of MID technology and how it makes the integration of electronics, optics, and thermal management possible in a very small space.
   To learn more about this product, watch this video and read this blog post.—Gary L. Parr

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors Expands

Opto Semiconductors will step up its production output by converting its two chip manufacturing facilities to 6-inch wafers while expanding production at both plants. A new production building is currently under construction in Penang, Malaysia, while in Regensburg, Germany, the existing space is being reallocated. The two facilities will each be converting to the new manufacturing technology, introducing 6-inch wafers to replace the current 4-inch wafers. These measures are expected to almost double the chip production capacity for white LEDs by the end of 2012.

The capacity expansion will primarily affect InGaN chips employing thin-film and UX:3 technology, which are required in the production of white LEDs. In the new production facilities, these chips will be manufactured on 6-inch wafers from the start and no longer on wafers with a 4-inch diameter.

With this move, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors is positioning itself to capitalize on the growth  of international LED markets. When this expansion is complete, the Penang chip manufacturing plant will have approximately 25,000 sqm (269,000 sq. ft.) and employ 400 more workers. No additional space is being created at the Regensburg plant. Instead, the production facilities are being switched over to LED production and may be operational as early as the summer of 2011.

A new idea in LED lighting

Redwood Systems launched its network-based technology for LED lighting and building-performance systems in March. The new technology  is based on the idea that LED lighting presents opportunity to create a unified network-based digital platform for smart buildings, helping building owners and designers reduce energy costs while providing control and automation in commercial lighting never before possible.
   At Lightfair last week, Commercial Building Products asked executive Jeremy Stieglitz to demonstrate the product. By combining three typically discrete systems (power, communications, sensors) into one low-voltage networked system, Redwood says its platform “will make smart buildings vastly simpler, easier, and lower cost to own and operate.”
   Redwood Systems’ CEO is Dave Leonard,  formerly general manager of Cisco’s Ethernet Switching Business Unit. Mark Covaro, Redwood’s CTO, is the former principal power design engineer for Cisco’s widely deployed power-over-Ethernet platform.
   “Redwood’s vision is to use LED lighting’s low voltage to power not just lighting, but create a digital network to manage and efficiently optimize lighting, heating, venting, air conditioning, plug loads, window shading, and just about everything else that uses power in a building,” said Leonard. “Using a network-based platform approach, we will deliver smart lighting systems that revolutionize how lights, and buildings, are powered, controlled, and optimized.” —Jim Carper

Cool thing at Lightfair: WAC’s OLED chandelier

WAC Lighting's SOL OLED chandelier.

What did I see at Lightfair that was new? Though there’s one day left, the most intriguing product so far is the SOL OLED (organic LED) chandelier being shown by WAC Lighting, Garden City, NY.
   The chandelier features ORBEOS OLED Lighting from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, Sunnyvale, CA. The circular satellite OLED panels rotate up, for indirect lighting, or tilt down to comfortably illuminate the surface below, or faces around a table. A central downlight also provides supplemental lighting on a tabletop.
   Exceptionally thin (2.1 millimeters), the OLED panels distribute quality light with solid color rendering (CRI 75) and a warm color temperature (2800K). ORBEOS panels are fully dimmable and deliver a uniform area of glare-free light. The SOL chandelier is crafted of aluminum and finished in black nickel. It is 18.5 inches in diameter and 2.2 inches tall.
   “SOL, our new decorative chandelier, is our first complete OLED fixture introduction,” said Shelley Wang, president of WAC Lighting. “We believe that the inconceivably thin, curved planes of the complete design, and the incorporated glare-free adjustable organic LED panels, will capture considerable attention.”
   Soft light from the ORBEOS panels is incorporated into the design and requires no additional light control from lenses or reflectors that traditionally result in a 10% to 40% loss in efficiency. ORBEOS light panels achieve energy efficiency without the use of heavy metals or other rare-earth materials commonly used in other energy-efficient sources. The OLEDs are made of layers of carbon-based materials that self-illuminate in various colors when energized, without having an impact on the environment.—Gary L. Parr

Cherokees to light town with Lumec LEDs

Philips Lumec, Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada, has announced that members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of western North Carolina have chosen LED lighting solutions to illuminate  their downtown streetscapes. In doing so, they clearly place Cherokee, NC, a town of 14,500 residents located on the south end of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in a select group of communities choosing environmentally responsible LED lighting technologies.
   The Band chose the LifeLED product, manufactured by Philips Lumec, as the light source for their downtown streetscapes.
   “We’re dramatically upgrading both the technology and the overall look of our community,” said Damon Lambert, transportation planner, Cherokee Dept. of Transportation.  “Most importantly, we’re estimating a savings of about $23,000 annually with the LED system.  So, in spite of some additional front-end cost, the estimated payback is well within the expected life of the system. We felt the investment to be a wise one for now and the future.  We considered 250-W metal-halide lamps initially, but when we saw the performance of the LED system it quickly became the preferred option.”
   Working in concert with Proctor Hodge Architecture, Cherokee, NC, and Hodge & Associates, Knoxville, TN, to upgrade the community’s 40+ year-old existing lighting system, the first three phases of the LED lighting system are to be installed by late summer, 2009.—Gary L. Parr

Cree leads LED lamp movement


Cree's LR6 LED prototype lamp.

Cree's LR6 LED prototype lamp.

This blog entry continues my series of answers to the eternal question: What did you see that was new at (insert trade show name)? The trade show of the moment is Lightfair 2009, held May 5 to 7 in the Big Apple. The subject of this posting is LED “lamp” units.
   One of the prevailing product-introduction categories at the show was LED-based replacements for conventional lamps. While there has been much talk and excitement in recent years about LED technology, I have always believed that talk about the technology itself was irrelevant to the specifier/end user and really only of interest to research scientists and manufacturers. It has been my opinion that the only thing that will matter to the specifier/end user is what form factors the manufacturers will be able to deliver to the marketplace and how well will they be able to produce “lamps” that fit into existing fixtures. Based on what I saw at Lightfair, it looks like the manufacturers are finding great success delivering LED-based lamps that will function in existing fixtures. Heat dissipation is clearly still a major issue, but design innovation seems to be overcoming that hurdle and I heard one mention of progress developing heat-resistant LED packages.
   One standout example of an LED lamp that will function in existing fixtures was the prototype LR6 LED recessed downlight, shown by Cree LED Lighting Solutions Inc., Durham, NC. The prototype delivers 665 lumens while consuming 6.5 W of electricity with an efficacy of 102 lumens per watt and a power factor greater than 0.9. The lamp features the company’s TrueWhite technology, which produces a 92 CRI (color-rendering index) and a 3500 K color temperature. The memorable part of the demonstration I saw was the lamp’s ability to render true reds, an important feature for the retail industry.—Gary L. Parr