LED Form Factors Guide Innovation at Lightfair 2012
It’s no longer news that LED technology dominates advances in the lighting industry and, consequently, the most advanced products displayed at Lightfair international 2012 (LFI). But the directions the technology takes us… will we continue to shoehorn LEDs into existing shaped and ceiling plans? Or will the unique form factors and operating characteristics lead the industry to new, smarter strategies and designs?
Lightfair 2012 broke records with more than 500 exhibitors, and it’s becoming near impossible to cover the entire floor in 2-1/2 days. The Lighting.com team has picked out some interesting products that garnered awards, and some that just caught our fancy.
The LFI Innovation Awards has a history of cutting-edge technology – last year the Most Innovative Product of the Year went to a sexy OLED luminaire – but in 2012 the big prize went to a more pedestrian product. One that, according to the judges, “leverages the best benefits of LED – low-voltage operation, optical efficiency, small size, and long life for a truly robust security lighting solution.”
The LED Perimeter Light, from low-voltage landscape lighting specialists Cast Lighting, provides targeted illumination along chain-link fences. Previously an application for tall, wasteful floodlighting, the Perimeter Light can illuminate 500 feet of fence using just 7 Watts, running off a small 24-Volt transformer.
Pure Edge Lighting was recognized at the Next Generation Luminaires competition for the Soft Line Commerical Grade LED System, a 1.25-inch-wide cupped aluminum channel that can be mounted recessed or strung at any angle between opposing walls, ceiling, or floor surfaces. Soft Line ships in a compact coil and be installed in lengths up to 40 ft. Functional and interesting… try that with CFLs.
Pure Edge also showed the Reveal recessed strip for toe kicks and cove lighting or architectural accent. The extrusion mounts within ½-inch drywall and comes in 2, 4, and 8 feet. An L-section turns the channel 90 degrees on an inner (wall-to-ceiling) or outer corner (around the corner).
Sensitile burst onto the scene at Lightfair 2011 and this year they’ve earned the prestigious Design Excellence Award for their Fin light fixture. Fin is an edge-lit decorative acrylic panel (called Lumina) for wall or ceiling mounting. Designers flocked to the Sensitile booth, admiring both lighting fixtures and luminous architectural panels.
Several other companies displayed edge-lit LED luminaires using acrylic light-guide material, both recessed and suspended. GE Lighting previewed the Lumination troffer in 2011, and this year displayed a suspended direct-indirect version (photo at top). When the pendant is on, the luminous element has unique floating appearance within the frame. And because there is no rear diffuser or reflector, the light guide becomes near-transparent inside the frame when it’s turned off. A prototype circular version showed even more promise, illuminated from the center hub.
Lines formed at the Cooper Lighting booth to preview the offspring of Cooper’s licensing agreement with Rambus. The Cooper engineers have been having fun prototyping decorative wall sconces, tubular pendants, and a myriad of other possibilities using the Rambus’ light-guide technologies. We look forward to seeing which products go into production next year.
Also at the Cooper booth, two new design variations on the unique Lili LED 2′ x 2′ recessed luminaire won the Commercial Indoor, troffers, category at the LFI Innovation Awards. The LED light engine is centrally located in a “pendant” that also serves as the heat sink. The LEDs project light up into the reflector producing soft, indirect illumination.
Smarter than the average…
The OSRAM SYLVANIA booth showed off the Encelium portfolio of lighting control and energy management systems and the colorful and dynamic Traxon technologies, both of which OSRAM acquired in late 2011. But OSRAM caught the Innovation Award in the Ballasts, Transformers, LED Drivers category with the PRO-Flex, designed to adapt LED luminaires for use in EMerge Alliance-compliant 24Vdc power-ceiling grids. PRO-Flex drivers feature programmable currents levels and three different dimmer interfaces: EnOcean Wireless; 0-10Volt wired; and DALI wired.
OSRAM displayed a small vignette of a DC-powered lighting system and compatible products.
The not-for-profit EnOcean Alliance booth hosted energy-harvesting devices from several companies, including Leviton and Adura. Lutuo showed the “peel-n-stick” Precision Multi-Function Occupancy Sensor. Tiny photovoltaic panels self-power the unit and read ambient lighting levels, providing wireless daylight harvesting and PIR occupancy control.
Both Cree and Lutron displayed the Cree CR Troffer equipped with a Lutron EcoSystem lighting control chip right in the driver. Adding digital control to each luminaire enhances efficiency and luminaire lifetime, while adoption of Lutron’s proprietary technology ensures system compatibility. Cree claims that the output level of troffers averages around 70 percent when typical lighting control efficiency strategies are employed.
LEDs and dimmer compatibility remains problematic. Light-Based Technologies showed drivers compatible with a variety of phase-cut dimmers. And since Lightfair, Lumenpulse announced that it has received the first of seven pending patents on the Lumentalk control protocol. Lumentalk enables LED fixtures from any manufacturer to be dimmed over existing AC power lines and works with most controls: TRIAC, ELV, 0-10V, DALI, or DMX.
Lighting Science Group’s Definity Motion Activated PAR30 is 80% more efficient than the 65-watt halogen lamp that it replaces and integrates both motion and ambient light sensing directly into the lamp, eliminating the need for separate controls. User configuration options built into the bulb include time delay, dimming range, and motion and distance sensitivity. The lamp won the coveted Judges Citation Award.
The most exciting OLED lighting products at the show incorporated creative controls. Causing quite a stir at the Philips Lighting booth was the interactive OLED mirror: Lumiblade Reflections is an illuminated panel of light made up of dozens of OLEDs. Using infrared sensors, some Lumiblades switch off to reflect the image of the person while others remain on, surrounding the reflection in light.
The OLED team at Acuity Brands must love coming to work in the morning. They showed off their interactive OLED luminaire and other examples of their next-gen technology. This spring, Acuity’s Sensor Switch brand announced that its award-winning nLiGHT lighting control system would adopt the WiFi communications standard. Unlike controls that use more-specialized wireless protocols (e.g, Zibee, Z-Wave, etc.), nWiFi can piggyback on a building’s existing WiFi network. nWiFi will integrate both wired and wireless control zones and allow control via WiFi-enabled smartphones and tablets.
Philips won Innovation Awards for the EnduraLED A-shaped and PAR/BR LED lamps. Also winner of the DOE’s L-Prize, the A-lamp is the first legitimate 100W incandescent replacement in the industry, providing true omni-directional light. It has 20 times the life of the existing technology while delivering over 75% energy savings. The PAR/BR versions are dimmable and use AirFlux technology to deliver a smooth, sleek design without unsightly fins.
GE Lighting chose an active-cooling system from Nuventix for its new LED replacement for the 100W A19 lamp. Switch Lighting, which is focusing on the hospitality market, showed the Switch3-Way, but only a 25/50/75-watt equivalent. Switch uses a liquid-cooled technology, such that their A-lines can be that can be used in “any fixture, any orientation, and anywhere.”
Juno Lighting Group by Schneider Electric won the coveted Technical Innovation Award for its WarmDim LED downlight that shifts color temperature as it dims, simulating dimmed incandescent. LED technology in downlighting has truly hit its stride, and is now doing tricks. To cover the latest product advances, plus challenges and concerns, we’ve spun off a separate article on LED downlights.
Similarly, OSRAM SYLVANIA demoed an LED PAR38 in the ULTRA family that shifts CCT as it dims (from 3000K to 2000K).
About a dozen companies displayed Zhaga products, far fewer than were reported at Light+Building in April. Though the standard is not yet subject to third-party testing, Zhaga-labeled LED equipment offers standardized electrical, mechanical, and thermal interfaces. GE also displayed its first Zhaga-compliant LED modules and associated optics under the Infusion brand.
Written by Lois I. Hutchinson