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Friday, July 20, 2012

FTC and DOE Lighting Facts labels – how do they differ?

The FTC label has been designed to simplify lighting purchases for consumers while the DOE Lighting Facts label serves lighting designers and contractors. GE Lighting has also introduced color-coded packaging for its lamps.
FIG. 1.
In efforts to simplify the purchase of lighting products including LED retrofit lamps, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) mandated its form of a Lighting Facts label effective January 1 2012, which specifically targeted consumers. The label, which unfortunately is called a Lighting Facts label just like the DOE label that preceded it, contains similar information but has a different target audience. The FTC label is mandated on medium screw-based products sold in retail environments, while the DOE label is carried by DOE Lighting Facts partners on a voluntary basis and primarily serves lighting professionals.

FTC’s label
FIG. 2.
Since January 1, the FTC has mandated the use of Lighting Facts labels on the front and back of every new light bulb package sold in the US (Figs. 1 and 2). The label is intended to standardize how the lighting industry conveys light bulb features, allowing one-to-one comparisons between bulbs of different technologies including halogen, fluorescent and LED. The back label is more comprehensive and contains light output, energy cost based on electricity cost of $0.11/kWh and three hours of use per day, lifetime estimate based on three hours of use per day (years), appearance (CCT), required power (W) and presence of mercury. The front label contains light output (lm) and energy cost ($/yr).
"Shopping for lighting shouldn't be an overwhelming experience," says Sylvia Hart, shopping transformation program manager at GE Lighting. "The Lighting Facts label takes something consumers have been using for years, the nutrition label, and applies a similar concept to lighting. Consumers used to have to scan packages to find information about energy, lifespan or brightness. Now they can quickly identify those attributes using an apples-to-apples comparison chart that shows the same features in the same way on every bulb, no matter what the technology or the manufacturer."

DOE label
FIG.3 .
The DOE Lighting Facts label (Fig. 3) has not appeared on medium screw-based lighting products since January 1, but it continues to be featured on lighting products sold by Lighting Facts partners. The DOE label contains the same metrics as the FTC label of light output, required power and CCT. In addition it contains the CRI, efficacy (lm/W), brand, registration number, manufacturer’s model number and type of a solid-state lighting fixture. Rather than the estimate of lifetime that appears on the FTC label, the DOE label can contain an indication of lifespan provided by the warranty if the manufacturer has chosen to provide it as well as the optional lumen maintenance metric. Written as a percentage, this figure estimates the amount of light the LED light source product is projected to produce at 25,000 hours at a given ambient test temperature compared to its initial light output. This percentage is based on LM-80, in-situ performance and TM-21 projections.
The DOE added these two new optional metrics to the label earlier this month. All metrics reported on the DOE Lighting Facts label are results of third party testing according to LM-79 guidelines from the IES and are verified by the DOE before the label can be used.

The DOE has stated that its label is not in conflict with the new FTC Lighting Facts label, and will still be used widely by lighting professionals, utilities and retail buyers.

Color-coded GE packaging
In a recent press release, GE Lighting stated that in addition to using the new FTC label on its retail lamp products, the company is color-coding products (Fig. 4) to indicate relative light output to consumers regardless of the lighting technology used.

FIG. 4.
"In our hundreds of conversations with consumers, we heard over and over again that the number-one important attribute to consumers is brightness," says Hart. "We used this feedback as an impetus for a packaging change that re-categorizes bulbs by brightness using an easy color-coded system."
The company is using yellow to indicate strong, vibrant light that is practical for home cooking, cleaning and grooming (2000 lm or more, similar to a 150W-equivalent incandescent bulb). Green represents fresh, energizing light good for focused tasks such as reading and studying (1050-1999 lm, 100W or 75W equivalent). Blue corresponds with comfortable light for entertaining (600-1,040 lm or 60W equivalent), orange corresponds with a relaxing light (400-599 lm, 40W-equivalent), and purple is geared toward night-time applications (<400 lm, 25W-equivalent).

ZigBee Alliance completes LED-centric Light Link standard

ZigBee Light Link will enable plug-and-play deployment by consumers of LED-based SSL products and wireless sensors and controls from multiple vendors.
Targeted at the residential space, the ZigBee Light Link standard promises to enable consumers to simply deploy solid-state lighting (SSL) with adaptive controls without having a complex dedicated control system. The standard is intended to enable interoperable LED-based lighting, sensors, timers, switches and other elements from multiple vendors that connect over the ZigBee wireless mesh network.

"ZigBee Light Link provides an easy-to-use and intuitive approach to next generation lighting that has the backing and support of top tier companies and product development is already underway," said Jos Bruins, ZigBee Light Link working group chair from Philips. "The ZigBee Alliance provided our technical working group with an excellent platform to complete ZigBee Light Link in a fast and professional manner – a standard we know that will spur the industry’s new lighting propositions."

Light Link was defined to allow considerable flexibility in terms of deployment. In its simplest form, Light Link will allow a consumer to purchase a wireless-enabled SSL product and a complementary product such as a light or occupancy sensor, and easily pair the devices for operation. At the most complex end of the spectrum, consumers can use Light Link-enabled products in whole-house networks and control the network via dedicated ZigBee-enabled control panels or over the Internet with a PC, smartphone, or tablet computer.

"ZigBee Light Link sets a new bar," said Bob Heile, chairman of the ZigBee Alliance. "It provides a very affordable, easy to install and easy to use standalone lighting solution specifically addressing the general consumer market, but at the same time remains capable of integrating with the broader family of ZigBee home automation solutions."

Light Link certification
Along with the announcement of completion of the Light Link standard, the ZigBee Alliance and TRaC Global announced that the latter is the first test organization that will conduct Light Link testing for the ZigBee Certified products program. Indeed TRaC has already certified some products.

"We have played an instrumental part in bringing the ZigBee Light Link standard to market, having provided independent testing for the first ZigBee Certified products submitted by Atmel, Ember, Osram, Philips and Texas Instruments," said Paul Russell, director at TRaC. "This places TRaC in a unique position as the first ZigBee Light Link test house and is another great accolade to add to our portfolio and customer offering."

The certified products are detailed on the ZigBee Alliance Light Link Certified Products webpage. The products certified thus far are primarily development platforms that lighting and controls companies can leverage to accelerate the process of bringing end products to market.

The list of lighting companies that participated in the Light Link development includes stalwarts GE Lighting, Osram Sylvania and Philips Lighting. Clearly there is substantial interest in the control-centric technology. The Zigbee Alliance will host a free webinar on May 16 for lighting-industry participants that want to learn more about the standard.

Other ZigBee lighting news
In other ZigBee news, Daintree Networks announced additions to its family of ZigBee Wireless adaptors. The products primarily target wireless lighting networks in commercial buildings, although can be applied in home applications. The new products include the WA100 that can control as many as 10 fixtures and switch 15A of AC current. The WA100-PM adds power monitoring capability, while the WFA100 is designed to be integrated into fixtures by lighting manufacturers. The WFA100-SN adds support for local sensors.

"Our mission is to deliver intelligence to the lighting in every commercial building, and this vision relies upon low cost, standards-based wireless connectivity," said Danny Yu, CEO, Daintree Networks. "By expanding on the success of our existing Wireless Adapter products, we’re providing the lighting industry with the most complete and robust set of options for wireless control – all using a trusted, open standard rather than non-interoperable, proprietary technology."

Daintree also announced recently that its Wireless Area Controller products had achieved ZigBee Certification for use ZigBee Home Automation and ZigBee Building Automation systems.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Everlight hits Nichia with LED patent lawsuit in US

Everlight has filed an LED patent-infringement lawsuit against Nichia in a US court, and is also asking the court to declare two Nichia patents invalid. Meanwhile, Nichia has received a favorable court ruling in Germany against Harvatek.
Everlight Electronics Co., Ltd., a Taiwan-based LED maker, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against its Japan-based rival Nichia Corp. in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
The lawsuit seeks to prevent Nichia from manufacturing, using, importing, offering for sale, or selling its infringing products in the United States. It also seeks monetary damages.

Everlight’s complaint alleges infringement of US patent no. 6,653,215, which covers LED metallization technology. Everlight is the exclusive US licensee of this patent, which is owned by Emcore Corporation. The action is brought jointly by Everlight and Emcore.

Everlight is also asking the US court to declare that two Nichia patents – numbers 5,998,925 and 7,531,960 – are invalid, unenforceable and improperly issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office. These patents cover the use of certain types of phosphors used in making white-light LEDs.

Everlight describes the legal action is being part of its “continued global effort to enforce its intellectual property rights and to protect its products and its customers from litigation attacks by Nichia.”

Everlight and Nichia have a long history of patent disputes dating back to 2006. In December last year, Everlight filed an unfair competition lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court against Nichia, saying that it had “decided to fight back” against Nichia’s various lawsuits.

Harvatek infringes Nichia's YAG patent, says court

In related news, the District Court in Düsseldorf, Germany has ruled in favor of Nichia in its patent infringement lawsuit against Harvatek Corporation and three German distributors.

Harvatek and the distributors were ruled to have infringed Nichia's patent EP 936 682 (DE             697 02 929      ), which relates to YAG phosphors combined with GaN-based blue LEDs. The products concerned were four different white LEDs (serial numbers: HT-V116TW, HT-U158TW, HT-P178 TWU-PQPS-DG and HT-T169 TW).

The court rendered judgments – although these are not final and can be appealed by the respective losing party – in favor of Nichia's claims for permanent injunction and damages. In the cases against the distributors, the court furthermore confirmed the recall of the accused products from their commercial customers.

Outdoor Lighting: Cree announces new LED street lights; ALSI enhances fixtures

Appalachian Lighting Systems enhances surge protection in ALLED street lights, while Cree launches the new XSP SSL series with a next-generation TIR optic.
Appalachian Lighting Systems (ALSI) now rates its ALLED outdoor fixtures as capable of withstanding 30 10 kVA surge events making the products more reliable in general and especially suitable for heavy-lightning environments. Cree has announced its latest outdoor solid-state lighting (SSL) luminaire featuring multiple total-internal reflection (TIR) lenses molded into a single optic that offers flexibility in lumen packages and lower costs.

ALSI ALLED fixture with sensor on right
ALSI says that the new driver-electronics package quadruples the ability of its fixtures to withstand power surges. Moreover, the company also announced a new optical light sensor that the company says is more reliable than legacy photo sensors. The combination yields longer life expectancy for the fixtures.

"ALLED fixtures are rated for more than 150,000 hours of operation and are already the industry's most reliable LED fixtures," said COO Rob McAnally. "Even so we wanted to further address external power issues that can wreak havoc with any lights. Bottom line, ALLED lighting will continue to operate through the multiple major surge events that are inevitable in any electrical system."

ALSI also supports wireless network and adaptive controls in its fixtures. The new surge protector can transmit information about surge events to the light owner over a network, allowing the owner to monitor the health of the lights.

The new light sensor is also programmable via a network connection. ALSI says that a light tube replaces the lens used in most legacy cadmium-disulfide photocells. The company says that the new design provides a larger surface area for sensing light conditions enabling finer-grain control. You can see the light tube protruding from the right side of the fixture in the nearby photo.

Cree XSP fixture
Cree Lighting says that the new XSP outdoor fixture offers double the lumens per dollar relative to prior Cree street lights. Vice president and general manager Christopher Ruud said, "The payback of the fixture will be before the first relamp," meaning the time it would take a legacy HID lamp to fail. Ruud said that lowering cost is imperative given that stimulus funds are largely spent in the US.

Payback is dependent both on the initial cost of lighting and energy and maintenance savings. The XSP design addresses both. Ruud said that the fixture offers optical efficiency greater than 90% and system efficacy as high as 100 lm/W. Lower luminaire costs, meanwhile, come through lower-priced and higher-performing LEDs, and the new optics design.

"Capitalizing on innovations in Cree LED chips and components, optic technology and design, and overall luminaire design, the XSP Series exemplifies the best of Cree integrated technology," said Ruud. "The result is the best alternative to traditional street lighting with better payback, better performance, and better pricing, allowing municipalities to focus their resources where it matters most."

New optic design
The optic design builds on technology developed originally by BetaLED called NanoOptic. Cree acquired the BetaLED brand of SSL when it bought Ruud Lighting last year, and is now announcing a technology that it calls NanoOptic Precision Delivery Grid. BetaLED had been a pioneer in TIR optics designed to reliably control SSL beam patterns.

Cree XSP fixture and new X-shaped optic
BetaLED's original NanoOptic lenses fit over individual LEDs and have been used in a variety of products including the recently-introduced Cree Aeroblades fixture. The new design molds an array of TIR lenses into a single optic that covers five light sources arranged in an "X" pattern that's visible in the nearby photo.

The new design offers Cree considerable flexibility in delivering many different lumen packages. Luminaire designers can use one or two LEDs under each TIR. And designers can combine two modular LED and optic assemblies in a luminaire.

Ironically, Cree and BetaLED have both said previously that small LEDs offer luminaire designers superior ability to control the light. Indeed Ruud said, "The closer you get to a point source, the better you can control the light." Ruud added that the new design still uses what would be considered a point source, although Cree had to build larger TIR lenses. And Ruud said the aforementioned optical efficiency validates the design. Ruud concluded, "We have achieved better photometric performance than we achieved with NanoOptic in the LEDway products."

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Philips and Optogan form street-lighting JV in Russia

Philips has identified potential in the street-lighting market in Russia, and has teamed up with a local LED specialist, Optogan, to form a joint-venture company.
Lighting manufacturer Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) has signed a joint-venture agreement with Optogan, a Russian LED and lighting manufacturer, to supply products for the road-lighting market in Russia.
The new company will be 51% owned by Philips and 49% by Optogan. Financial details of the joint venture were not disclosed. Products developed and manufactured by the joint venture will be sold in the Russian Federation and within its customs union with Kazakhstan and Belarus.

Philips will contribute its LED road-lighting products and knowledge of international quality standards to the joint venture, while Optogan will provide specialist LED knowledge as well as an understanding of local market requirements in this field.

The Philips-Optogan partnership will focus on developing a local LED industry, in support of the energy-efficiency initiatives of the Russian government, which is seeking to modernize the country’s road-lighting infrastructure.

“Our joint venture with Optogan represents the beginning of a new, ambitious journey to become a key player in the Russian outdoor-lighting market,” said Arjan de Jongste, CEO Philips Russia. “We believe it will unlock new potential for us to bring innovative lighting solutions to Russia that save energy, reduce maintenance costs and increase road safety, thereby making a difference in people’s lives.”

Road lighting in Russia is an attractive market segment, and is anticipated to become one of the leading growth segments for LED technology in the country. The Russian road-lighting market is expected to double over the next four years to EUR 100 million by 2015, according to Philips-Optogan, by which time LEDs could gain a 50% market share.

Sports field lighting
At the recent Light+Building trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany, Optogan exhibited an LED Dynamic Sportfield Floodlight (DSF) system (pictured). Optogan is the worldwide distributor for the system, which is manufactured by the Dutch company AAA-Lux.

The eight-head floodlight has a power consumption of up to 1700W and a luminous flux of up to 187,000 lm. The color temperature is 5200K.

The DSF system consists of the LED floodlights and a lighting-control management system, which allows remote, wireless control. This enables significant energy savings via dimming or turning the lights off completely when not required. The individual LED heads can be adjusted to illuminate the required areas, and to prevent light spill.

DOE adds warranty, lumen maintenance to Lighting Facts label

The DOE has added two optional metrics to the Lighting Facts label, indication of a warranty and a lumen maintenance metric.
In a recent DOE newsletter, the SSL Postings, Jim Brodrick, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) lighting program manager explained enhancements that have been made to the LED Lighting Facts label. The label displays verified LM-79 product data including five parameters: light output in lumens, efficacy in lm/W, power required in W, correlated color temperature in K, and color rendering index. Now manufacturers can provide two additional metrics: an indication of warranty (yes/no) and lumen maintenance estimates based on LM-80 and TM-21 projections.

Brodrick noted that there is still no agreed-upon way to measure or report lifetime for solid-state lighting (SSL) products. However, in recognition of the purchaser’s need to know an expected life for an SSL product, the DOE arrived at the use of LED lumen maintenance, consistent with TM-21 and based on LM-80 measurements, as an indicator of product stability.
The decision was made not to use lumen maintenance in terms of L70, the point at which light output falls below 70 percent of initial levels, because the results may be misinterpreted as lifetime values. Instead, the metric will identify the remaining useful percentage of initial output projected to be reached any of three fixed points in time, after 25,000, 15,000 or 10,000 hours, which the manufacturer can select.

Regarding the warranty, the manufacturer can choose to list “yes” if a warranty is available. The DOE has indicated that listing a number of years associated with the warranty could also be misleading because different components in the product could be covered for different periods. For products with a "yes" designation for warranty, LED Lighting Facts has added the ability to link to the manufacturer's warranty directly from the products list.

The two new listings are optional. To date, over 4750 products are carrying the DOE’s Lighting Facts label.

It is important to differentiate the DOE Lighting Facts label from the FTC Lighting Facts label. The latter has been required on all medium screw-based bulbs sold to consumers since January 1, 2012. That label lists light output (lm), required power (W), appearance (CCT), presence of mercury, a lifetime estimate in years (based on 3 hours of usage per day) and energy cost ($/yr based on 3 hr/day, $.11/kWh).

Saturday, July 7, 2012

LED Industry News: Toshiba, Green Star LED, Rambus, Fern Howard, Switch, MOCVD sales

Green Star LED will be producing LED fixtures under the Toshiba brand, Rambus has licensed its MicroLens technology to Fern Howard, Switch Lighting has hired an executive team and MOCVD sales may be bottoming out.
Green Star LED establishes alliance with Toshiba LED lighting
San Antonio, Texas-based Green Star LED has recently signed a marketing and distribution agreement with Toshiba International Corporation. Under this agreement, Green Star LED will be producing LED luminaires under the Toshiba brand for this global company to sell through its network.

Toshiba LED lighting has only recently entered the North American market, with a focus on lamps and outdoor lighting. Green Star manufactures a line of outdoor and indoor high-power LED fixtures. Aside from adding new products, Toshiba will also benefit from distributing US-made lights for the first time.

The agree is expected to allow Toshiba to expand its product portfolio in the US, particularly with LED fixtures, while Green Star will be better positioned to drive sales volume.

“It is an honor for us to have been selected by Toshiba for this alliance” states Gabriel Senior, Green Star’s CFO. As part of their strict processes, Toshiba engineers scrutinized Green Star's products, designs, manufacturing, and suppliers and were completely satisfied.

Rambus licenses MicroLens technology to Fern Howard
Rambus Inc., a technology licensing company, has signed a license agreement with Fern Howard, a manufacturer of energy efficient lighting based in Alton, UK. This agreement enables Fern Howard to sell advanced lighting products based on Rambus lighting solutions incorporating Rambus patented innovations including MicroLens optics technology.

"We believe edge-lit technology is the much sought-after link between conventional area lighting fixtures and wide-scale LED adoption. It not only provides a pleasing, uniform light source, but when coupled with highly sophisticated MicroLens technology, enables a level of lighting control that is impossible to achieve with other, less efficient LED solutions," said Peter Scott, managing director of Fern Howard.

The companies will demonstrate the first results the collaboration at Light + Building next week.

Switch Lighting expands executive branch
Switch Lighting, a maker of LED retrofit lamps, has announced that it has hired five new executive team members as the company transitions to a commercialization phase. The new execcutives include Daniel Macsherry, chief financial officier, Gary Rosenfield, executive vice president of marketing and national accounts, Bill Lenihan, Executive vice president of business development, David Becker, national sales director of the Retail & Hospitality and Sam Stark, regional sales director of Commercial & Industrial.

Brett Sharenow, former CFO and CSO, will transition to a new role as chief product officer and chief administrative officer. All appointments are effective immediately. The CEO is Tracy Bilbrough.

The company added that its Switch100 100W-incandescent-equivalent A lamp has been launch for sale in commercial channels of distribution.

MOCVD sales to hit bottom
According to a recent quarterly report from IMS Research based in Wellingborough, UK, sales of MOCVD reactors are expected to bottom out in the first half of 2012. The market research firm, which was recently acquired by HIS, forecasts that 342 GaN LED MOCVD reactors will ship in 2012, a 48% decline from 2011’s level of 654 reactors.

According to IMS’ GaN LED Quarterly Supply and Demand Report, the first two quarters of 2012 are expected to experience the lowest shipment levels, with a modest recovery in the second half as companies begin adding capacity in response to expectations of rapid demand growth from the general lighting market in 2013 onwards.

The report states that China accounted for 92% of MOCVD sales in the 4th quarter of 2011.

Philips Lumileds and Cree launch multiple new LED lines

Philips Lumileds announced a new mid-voltage LED for street lights, Cree added high-voltage LEDs for small form-factor SSL applications, and both companies have introduced new mid-power LEDs in plastic packages.
Philips Lumileds formally announced the Luxeon M LED, that includes an array of four emitters, and that has already been specified for use in street lights. Cree has added to its third-generation LED platform with new high-voltage XLamp XT-E and XM-L LEDs that are optimized for small driver size and small solid-state lighting (SSL) applications such as retrofit candelabra lamps. Both companies have new mid-power LEDs that utilize plastic packages yet target general-lighting applications.

Philips Lumileds Luxeon M LED
The Philips Lumileds Luxeon M is designed to simplify luminaires designed for street- and area-lighting, and industrial applications by enabling the use of fewer components. Indeed the packaged devices with four emitters can output as much as 1100 lm depending on color temperature.

The input voltage for the LEDs is typically 11.2V – the sum of the forward voltage of the four series emitters. That mid-level voltage can also simplify driver design by eliminating the need for the greater voltage drop needed to power a single large emitter at 3-4V.

"Everything from the footprint to the drive requirements has been optimized based on hundreds of discussions with our customers, municipalities, and private property owners to ensure that Luxeon M exceeds their expectations and objectives," said Rahul Bammi, vice president of marketing for Philips Lumileds.

Philips will offer the LEDs in 3000K, 4000K, and 5700K CCTs, and with a minimum CRI of 70. The LEDs are hot tested and binned at 85°C. Distributor Future Lighting Solutions has the component in stock.

Cree HV LEDs
Cree, meanwhile, continues to build out an LED portfolio on what the company is calling its third-generation, silicon-carbide manufacturing platform that has been branded SC3. The new XT-E and XM-L LEDs deliver 22% more lumens than previous products in the same family, maxing out at 647 lm in cool white at 6W.

Cree XM-L HV-LED in warm white
The new Cree LEDs use the same top level product designators as similar HV-LED products announced last October, although the new versions bring the aforementioned brightness advantage. Cree fabricates the LEDs as a single die and then segregates the single die into an array of series-connected emitters in the back end of the manufacturing process. You can see the array of 16 emitters if you carefully examine the nearby photo.

The array allows the LEDs to operate from 48V inputs greatly simplifying the driver design by minimizing the drop from line-voltage level. That high-voltage characteristic will enable usage of the LEDs in small SSL applications indoors and out.

The XT-E LEDs are designed to be driven at 3W and deliver 275-357 lm depending on color temperature. The 6W XM-L family outputs 555-647 lm. The products share the same manufacturing technology platform as the new smaller XB-D family announced in January and the standard-voltage XT-E LEDs announced in February.

Mid-power LEDs

Cree and Philips have both announced new mid-power LEDs as well. Mid-power is a relatively new category of products that use plastic packages more akin to LEDs designed for display backlight applications, but that offer better color quality and longer life. Ella Shum, director of the LED practice at analyst firm Strategies Unlimited, characterizes mid-power LEDs as operating in the range of 0.1-0.5W.

Philips 5630 mid-power LED
Philips Lumileds, for instance, is specifying CCT, CRI, and the R9 CRI specification (for the saturated red color sample) for its mid-power 5630-family emitters. These are Philips' first mid-power LEDs designed for general illumination applications and the company says that it has applied its phosphor and other technologies from higher-power LEDs to the new class. Philips' Bammi said, "We believe that many of the mid-power solutions being implemented today will see unplanned and unexpected color shift over time and we think the industry needs better LEDs."

Also in the mid-power class, Cree has announced the ML-C and ML-E LEDs. The ML-C LEDs operate from 6.4V input and the ML-E from 9.6V input – indicating two- and three-emitter arrays respectively. Cree says that the products are a fit for linear fluorescent retrofit lamps, decorative lighting, and specialty applications such as in emergency vehicles. The ML-C LEDs deliver 31-37 lm depending on CCT.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cree Lighting announces striking street-light luminaire

Lighting design firm Speirs + Major collaborated with Cree Lighting to develop the new Aeroblades family of luminaires for street and area lighting applications.

We keep hearing that LEDs free lighting manufacturers to adopt all new form in products, and Cree certainly went that route with the new Aeroblades family of luminaires, developed in partnership with lighting designer Speirs + Major. The visually-striking design is also functional in terms of good thermal properties, support for different light-distribution patterns, and modularity for different lumen-output options.

We're challenging traditional fixture design," said Christopher Ruud, Cree Lighting vice president and general manager. "Aeroblades can only be an LED-based fixture."

“While everybody else was creating standard shoeboxes and other conventional designs, we were approached with a revolutionary technology that allowed us to throw out all preconceptions of how urban luminaires should appear,” said Keith Bradshaw, director, Speirs + Major. “The result is the Aeroblades luminaire, designed for the best LED performance and the form followed.”

To control the beam pattern, the luminaire design relies on the total internal reflection (TIR) lens optics called NanoOptic that Ruud Lighting developed for the BetaLED brand prior to being acquired by Cree. Each of the blades has 10 LEDs, and each has a NanoOptic. The design can support more than 20 optical distribution or beam patterns.

Modular configuration options
The Aeroblades concept can support configurations with two, four, or six blades. Cree will offer more than 300 combinations. The luminaire can be mounted in a traditional manner for street and area lighting, or according to Ruud with the blades sideways and mounted on a wall for some security applications.

The blade design was meant to add aesthetic value, but it also adds thermal mass that helps cool the LEDs. Ruud says that the cooling enables Cree to drive the LEDs in Aerobaldes with 1A of current, whereas a similar optical module used in the existing LEDway SLM luminaire can only be driven at 750 mA.

The option of a higher drive current means that Cree can offer a range of lumen-output packages based both on the number of blades in a luminaire and the specified drive current. Higher current may impact the life of the fixture to some extent. But as Cree explained in a recent LEDs Magazine feature article, the latest LEDs can reliably tolerate the high current and provide access to what has been unused lumen capacity.

The new design also introduces some changes in how the driver is implemented in a pole-mounted light. The blades do not afford room for a typical driver. Cree will offer versions designed for the driver to be mounted in the base of the pole. Ruud said that putting a driver in the pole base is common in many European installations, and offers the option of servicing the driver without a bucket truck.

For traditional installations that would normally locate the driver in the luminaire, Cree will supply drivers that mount in the extension arm that connects the luminaire to the pole. Ruud said Cree expects to sell large volumes of both versions.