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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cooper announces Zhaga-certified downlight with a modular LED spotlight engine

Cooper Lighting has announced a new directional downlight that it says is Zhaga certified and that uses a modular light-engine designed to the Zhaga Book 3 for spotlights with separate control gear.
At the recent Light+Building and Lightfair International trade shows, modules designed to Zhaga standards were prominent in many exhibits, and as you might expect luminaires that use such modules will be rolling into the market. Cooper claims to have the first Zhaga-certified luminaire in the IRiS Lighting Systems P3LED directional series of downlights that uses a light engine designed to Zhaga Book 3 defining a spot light engine with separate control gear.

Cooper called the new product the "world's first Zhaga certified luminaire." Most of the Zhaga-certified claims to date have been focused specifically on modular light engines. But Steve Pyshos, marketing manager at Cooper, said that there are specific requirements in the luminaire design that must comply with the Zhaga-defined mechanical, electrical, and thermal interfaces.

Pyshos said that Underwriter's Laboratories (UL), previously announced as a certified Zhaga test lab, had certified the P3LED for compliance. The luminaire uses a Philips Fortimo SLM light engine.

The benefits of a Zhaga module are ease of design and the potential for upgradeability. Presumably, Cooper could get the product to market more quickly using a module. Because the expectation is that multiple manufacturers will deliver interoperable modules based on the Zhaga Books, it's possible that fixtures such as Cooper's new product could be upgraded down the road, for instance as brighter modules are delivered.

The P3LED series features a 3-in aperture and delivers more than 1000 lm. Cooper offers the luminaire with a 3000K CCT and 85 CRI. The fixture is rated for 50,000 hours of life. The company said it will offer other CCT options and a CRI over 90 later this year.

Copper's driver electronics package, or control gear in Zhaga parlance, includes a microprocessor that can detect the type of light engine deployed in the fixture and adapt accordingly. Moreover, the driver can dim the LEDs to 10% and supports the DALI standard for adaptive control.

The luminaire features an interchangeable optic that can support beam patterns ranging from 10-40°. The 20W product is able to replace 75W tungsten-halogen sources.

The P3LED was also named a winner in the Next Generation Luminaires competition, announced at Lightfair.

LED Industry News: Eaton acquires Cooper; Haworth resigns from Lighting Science Group

Eaton has acquired Cooper Industries for $11.8 billion while Jim Haworth has resigned as CEO of LSG.
Eaton acquires Cooper Industries
Eaton Corporation, a global power-management company, has entered into an agreement to acquire Cooper Industries. The transaction is valued at $11.8 billion and will be financed with a mixed of cash, debt and equity.

The newly created company will be incorporated in Ireland and is expected to be called Eaton Global Corporation PLC. It will be led by Alexander Cutler, Eaton’s current chairman and CEO. Eaton is currently headquartered in Cleveland, OH.

Eaton stockholders are expected to own about 73% of the combined company, with Cooper stockholders owning the rest. In addition to its lighting products, Cooper provides electrical products for electrical protection, power transmission and distribution. Eaton makes electrical and hydraulic components for commercial and military uses as well as vehicle drivetrain and powertrain systems.

Jim Haworth resigns from LSG

Lighting Science Group Corporation (OTCBB: LSCG) of Satellite Beach, FL, has announced the appointment of Steve Marton as its interim chief executive officer following the resignation of CEO and chairman James Haworth on May 18, 2012. The board has retained an executive search firm to help identify and secure a permanent CEO.

Marton has served as a senior operating partner at Pegasus Capital Advisors since April 2008 and has been actively involved in Lighting Science Group’s operations in a consulting capacity since February 2012. He has spent over 20 years in general management, new product development and brand leadership in the consumer packaged goods and pet care industries.

In related news, LSG recently completed a round of equity financing valued at $140 million.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Philips Ledalite announces TruGroove LED-based recessed linear lighting

The MesoOptics technology developed by Philips Ledalite eliminates high-angle glare and efficiently focuses light in a batwing distribution.
TruGroove lights hotel lobby
Philips Ledalite, a Philips Lighting brand, has launched the TruGroove family of recessed linear luminaires designed for installation in drywall or dropped t-grid ceilings. The series includes LED and fluorescent models, although it's the solid-state lighting (SSL) versions that achieve 69 lm/W efficacy. The company's MesoOptics technology precisely controls the beam pattern.

Ledalite offers the products in 2-, 4-, and 8-ft lengths, although the product is designed to seamlessly support longer runs with no socket shadow. Ledalite lists target applications including offices, classrooms, libraries, retail, and medical facilities.

"It’s challenging to develop a product that is not only beautiful and energy efficient, but also functions without any compromise to light quality or performance," said Don Jacklin, general manager for Philips Ledalite. "This new TruGroove family of products is a true winner on all fronts – an exceptional LED narrow aperture product, easy installation for contractors, and a wide variety of choices that will give our customers the flexibility they need to create the right solution for their application."

Ledalite has used the MesoOptics technology previously in other products to ensure both precise beam control and efficient transmission of light. The technology relies on optical nanotechnology that is 5 microns thick and that is applied to a diffuser substrate.

The holographic microstructures in the optical element can create various beam patterns such as the batwing pattern available with the linear products that focuses the light rays within 45° in each direction relative to the linear axis of the fixture. Ledalite says that the MesoOptics eliminates back scatter, produces an even distribution, and delivers optical efficiency of 85-90%.

The TruGroove products are also compatible with Ledalite's daylight harvesting sensors that the company says can cut energy usage by an additional 35% Moreover, you can also use the products with the Airwaye wireless control technology that uses energy harvesting to power the sensors and switches. Solar harvesters power the sensors while kinetic energy generated by a depression of a wall switch power the wireless radio in the switch.

Osram and Relume Technologies expand operations

Osram AG has announced it will build new LED chip and assembly plants in China, while Relume Technologies has moved into a larger facility in Oxford, Michigan.
Osram to expand China operations
Osram AG has signed a contract with the Wuxi New District Administrative Committee to build a new assembly plant in the Chinese province of Jiangsu. Osram has additionally decided to build a new LED chip manufacturing plant in Wuxi, China to augment its LED chip production facilities in Regensburg, Germany and Penang, China. Both new facilities will begin production in late 2013. The Wuxi plant could employ up to 1600 people at full capacity.

"The new assembly plant will improve our access to the world's largest single market in the lighting industry," said Aldo Kamper, CEO of the Osram Opto Semiconductors business unit. "As one of the world’s most renowned LED lighting corporations, Osram's new plant in Wuxi will definitely enhance the development of the LED industry in both Wuxi Municipality and Jiangsu Province," said Lixin Huang, Member of the Standing Committee of Jiangsu Provincial CPC Committee and Secretary of Wuxi Municipal CPC Committee in China.
The new backend facility at Wuxi near Shanghai will install LED chips manufactured in the frontend plants at Regensburg and Penang in their housings (pictured). The new assembly plant in Wuxi will also augment the Penang plant by manufacturing general, automotive and industrial lighting products for key segments of the Chinese market. The plant’s added back-end LED capacity will enable the company to capitalize on China's fast-growing market and support the two plants in Germany and Malaysia.

In fiscal year 2011, Osram generated approximately one fifty of the Group’s revenue in the Asia-Pacific region, where it employs over 16,000 people. Nearly half of that workforce is employed in China.

Relume moves to larger facility in Michigan to expand operations

Relume Technologies, a Michigan-based manufacturer of LED products and smart-grid control systems for outdoor-lighting applications, is moving to a larger facility in Oxford, Michigan, to allow expansion of its manufacturing and customer service capabilities.
“Current manufacturing needs and future business forecasts require a larger and more up-to-date facility. It’s great news for our company and community, and we thank our employees and customers for supporting us during this time of rapid growth,” said Crawford Lipsey, CEO of Relume Technologies.

Relume’s new facility will feature lean manufacturing practices and tools to reduce cost, increase productivity and improve quality throughout the operation.

“The new facility’s larger and improved layout enables better organized workstations, a more efficient flow of materials and the ability to increase capacity as the company grows,” said Jason Bailey, manufacturing manager and lean principles expert at Relume.

Monday, September 10, 2012

JEDEC publishes four international thermal-testing standards for LEDs

JEDEC has recently published the first international standards for component-level testing of power LEDs, which define recommendations for thermal data on LED data sheets, and test environments and procedures.
The JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, the standards organization based in Arlington, VA, has announced the publication of a new series of standards for component-level testing of high-brightness/power LEDs. Development within JEDEC’s JC-15 Committee involved LED industry leaders, and resulted in the new JESD51-5x series of standards aimed at thermal characterization of power LED components. The four standards, JESD51-5, JESD51-50, JESD51-51, JESD51-52 and JESD51-53, are in compliance with the International Commission on Illumination's (CIE) existing LED measurement recommendations.
In general lighting applications, thermal design is critical to ensuring expected LED lifetimes and light output. To date, a lack of widely accepted thermal testing standards for LED components meant that published data-sheet information was often questionable. The solid-state lighting community relies heavily on JEDEC standards to define, for instance, environmental stress, mechanical stress and LED assembly-process stress procedures for LED components. However, more specific recommendations for data sheets and test procedures were needed.

The JEDEC51-5X series standards, designed for LED manufacturers and LED integrators who assemble LEDs to substrates, include clear recommendations for data to include on LED data sheets, as well as test environments and procedures defined specifically for power LEDs. This approach is designed to remove previously existing ambiguity about how thermal performance of an LED package or a metal core printed circuit board (MCPCB) assembled LED device is identified.

John Kelly, JEDEC president, noted, “Clear guidelines for the thermal testing of LEDs were needed, and the publication of JESD51-50, 51, 52 and 53 is the result of quick action by industry leaders and JEDEC’s JC-15 Committee. JEDEC is pleased to offer manufacturers a comprehensive solution for their testing needs.”

Andras Poppe of Mentor Graphics and a key author of the JC-15 standards committee will present a course entitled, “Testing LEDs – According to the new JEDEC LED thermal testing standards” at CoolingZone LED 2012.

Philips signs 200th licensee for its LED luminaire licensing program

Paulmann Light, a German lighting company, has become the 200th organization to sign up to Philips’ licensing program for LED-based luminaires retrofit lamps.
Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE:PHG, AEX: PHI) has unveiled Paulmann Light GmbH as the 200th licensee of its LED luminaire and retrofit bulb licensing program. The Philips licensing program was first launched in July 2008, and now includes a number of companies described by Philips as “key lighting players,” such as Cooper, Trilux, Acuity Brands, Cree, Osram, Neo-Neon and Zumtobel.
Through the program, licensees are given access to a wide range of basic LED control and system-level technologies available for use in branded LED-based luminaires and retrofit bulbs for general illumination, architectural, entertainment and theatrical markets.

Licensees pay a royalty to Philips that is a percentage of the selling price of the luminaire or lamp. The rate is on a country-by-country basis, depending on the breadth of Philips’ patent coverage in that country.

The royalty rates are 3% of the net selling price for a single-color luminaire, 4% for a tunable-white luminaire, and 5% for a color-changing luminaire or for a retrofit lamp.

Luminaire makers do not pay a royalty if they have purchased all the components, including the LED light engine and driver, from a qualified supplier, namely Philips, Osram or Zumtobel.

The IP portfolio includes the patented technologies acquired when Philips bought Color Kinetics in 2007. Several of these patents were controversial, and the subject of numerous lawsuits, although this concern has dissipated (at least in public) since Philips bought CK.

The list of licensees includes a few interesting names such as Ford Motor Co. and Harley-Davidson, while GE is a notable absentee.

Philips believes that its program is “enabling and fostering the industry’s growth in its transition from conventional lamps to energy-efficient, LED-based lighting solutions.” The company says that the demand for licenses “has grown significantly with an increasing number of companies realizing the benefits and opportunities that these licenses offer to them.”

Arian Duijvestijn, senior vice president of Philips Intellectual Property & Standards said: “As the market leader in LED lighting technology, we are opening up the market for LED lighting to companies and customers around the world through our LED luminaire licensing program…we are pleased that so many companies, from start-ups to large companies, recognize the value of Philips sharing key LED intellectual property to facilitate and accelerate their growth plans.”

Detlev Paulmann, CEO of Paulmann Light GmbH added: “Paulmann is a leading vendor of lighting products active in more than 40 countries. We are a family business with a passion for light and have taken on an early decision to make LED technology the main driver for our company future. We believe this license agreement with Philips will help us to further strengthen our offering, expand our portfolio, and bring products quicker to market for our customers.”

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lightfair abuzz over retrofit lamps and planar and linear SSL

LFI hosted the race to 100W equivalent LED lamps and also featured elegant linear and planar SSL products, which are more likely to entice lighting designers.
Again at Lightfair International, a visitor to the exhibit floor could only assume the event is an LED lighting show as solid-state lighting (SSL) vendors dominated the exhibit floor showing their latest wares in applications ranging from retrofit lamps to street lights. Indeed, retrofit lamps were arguably most prevalent, although LED-based planar lighting and SSL linear fixtures may ultimately play larger in high-end lighting applications.

Leading in to LFI, we covered early announcements of 100W-equivalent lamps from GE Lighting and Philips Lighting. Those products were prominently displayed and joined by a host of other retrofit lamps.

Intematix Contour reference design

Intematix announced the Contour addition to its Chromalit remote-phosphor optics line that is designed to enable manufacturers to quickly bring retrofit lamps to market. The company showed a reference design of a 100W-equivalent lamp. Moreover, Feit Electric showed the reference design in its exhibit, presumably indicating intent to make such a product.

Switch Lighting showed its 100W equivalent, which launched several months ago. The Switch liquid-filled design has changed a bit since inception, and perhaps we will dig into that in a later article. The changes make the lamp more manufacturable and improve thermal performance. The company has not shipped the 100W product. At LFI, Switch introduced a 3-way lamp that can operate in 25W-, 50W-, and 75W-equivalent modes.

Osram Sylvania also showed a 100W equivalent lamp. The prototype looked quite different from prior designs with LEDs spread around the globe and light coming through holes in what appeared to be a metal element that is likely a thermal component of the design.

100W availability
Of course, no one is shipping 100W-equivalent lamps. Switch says it will this summer, but the company has yet to demonstrate it can move its design into volume manufacturing. Philips appears set to ship this fall.

The enormous commodity potential of the retrofit lamp market, however, continues to entice newcomers. There were numerous exhibits at LFI from companies around the globe with broad retrofit lamp displays.

Startup SunSun Lighting perhaps made the biggest splash with major venture-funding news. On the eve of the LFI exhibits, the Jiangsu, China-based company announced $30 million in financing from GSR Ventures, Oak Investment Partners, and its unnamed original angel investors.

Planar lighting
In planar lighting, Cooper Lighting has joined GE Lighting as a licensee of the planar technology from Rambus. Cooper didn't formally announce new products at LFI, but had an impressive collection on display inside of a controlled environment within its booth. Attendees had to register to view the product line that included typical fixtures such as planar pendants to exotic designs such as cylindrical fixtures.

GLT high-bay planar light

Global Lighting Technologies (GLT), from whom Rambus acquired its planar technology, continues to ply the planar space with end products and partnerships. The company shows a 2×2-ft planar recessed downlight. Moreover, GLT demonstrated a high-bay planar light that delivers 17,000 lm from 300W input and requires a heat-pipe-based cooling scheme. The company also showed square and circular recessed planar luminaires that Toshiba will sell, and that have an opening in the planar surface designed to house a task light that would be paired with the ambient light from the planar source.

Linear SSL
In the linear area, SSL vendors continue to develop purpose-built LED-based fixtures that scarcely resemble traditional linear lights – continuing a trend we identified at LFI last year. Philips Lighting showed what was arguably the most elegant fixture in the LED Linear DC Pendant fixture from its Lightolier brand.

Cooper's wall-mounted Neo-Ray

The initial version of the linear pendant is designed to radiate light upwards against the ceiling. It will be offered with 2300- or 3000-lm output in a 4-ft fixture. The fixture itself is a tiny 1×1-in square. The design relies on a driver that must be mounted in the ceiling, requiring a DC low-voltage connection to the fixture.

Philips also plans a version of the pendant that will radiate light downward. Details are to come in terms of light output and what the fixture will offer in beam distribution. In fact, the upward-facing version on display didn't make the Philips Lighting LFI press kit, and alas we have no photo for now.

Cooper Lighting, meanwhile, turned a new linear fixture on its side - literally. We've covered the Neo-Ray family of linear fixtures previously, including on the cover of the July/August 2011 issue of LEDs Magazine. The new LED-based Neo-Ray Straight and Narrow fixture is designed for recessed mounting in a wall (see photo).

What we are finally starting to see with LEDs is fixture design that really requires an LED source. For example, you would be hard pressed to get a fluorescent tube in the new Philips pendant. There were abundant other examples on the LFI floor, and we will offer more coverage both on our website and in the magazine going forward.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Next Generation Luminaires competition recognizes LED indoor products

Intense Lighting, Albeo Technologies and Lithonia Lighting were awarded Best in Class designation in the NGL competition.
MBW2 LED from Intense Lighting
Fifty-three commercial LED indoor lighting products have been recognized for excellence by the fourth annual Next Generation Luminaires (NGL) Solid-State Lighting (SSL) design competition.
The competition began evaluating indoor and outdoor products separately in 2012, and the outdoor results will be announced later this year.

The 114 indoor products that were judged represented 43 different manufacturers. Of those products, 53 were chosen as “recognized” winners, meaning that they were considered worthy of specification.

From the 53 recognized products, three were given the additional designation of Best in Class, meaning that they stood out significantly above the other products in their category that were recognized as specifiable.

H-Series from Albeo Technologies
The Best in Class winners were:
Intense Lighting for its MBW2 LED Track accent lighting fixture
Albeo Technologies for its H-Series LED high-bay luminaire
Lithonia Lighting for its ST Series LED utility/general purpose luminaire.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, and the International Association of Lighting Designers, NGL was launched in 2008 to promote excellence in the design of energy-efficient LED luminaires for general illumination in commercial lighting applications.

STSeries from Lithonia

Compared to previous years, the 2012 NGL indoor results show a marked improvement in luminaires for general commercial applications – in particular, recessed modulars (i.e., troffers) and linear pendants, which generally demonstrated higher efficacy than fluorescents, with comparable lighting quality. Less-dramatic improvement was seen this year in categories such as downlighting, wall washing, and accent lighting, which were already strong in previous years of the competition. Overall, initial cost remains an issue, as the judges frequently noted.
The idea behind NGL is to make it easier for lighting designers and specifiers to find LED lighting products that are worthy of specification. This means recognized products have to measure up on many fronts. NGL entries are judged on lighting quality (including color, illuminance, light distribution, and glare), appearance, serviceability, efficacy, value, dimming, and rated lifetime – and the bar was raised even higher this year, to reflect improvements in the technology. “This is not just a one-dimensional contest,” said DOE Solid-State Lighting Program Manager Jim Brodrick. “Beauty alone won’t cut it – the winners have to really ‘walk the walk.’”

A total of 187 products were proposed for submission to the 2012 NGL indoor competition. But because of the stringent documentation requirements – which were even stricter than they were last year – only 114 actually made it to the judging phase.

The rest were rejected either because they weren’t ready for market or because their manufacturers couldn’t supply the required documentation, which covered such things as LM-79 test reports and LM-80 life claim documentation. These performance documents helped ensure that actual performance matched what was claimed.

The 114 products that were judged represented 43 different manufacturers. Of those products, 53 were chosen as “recognized” winners, meaning that they were considered worthy of specification. These recognized products cover 15 categories: cove lighting, decorative lighting, recessed downlighting, pendant lighting, linear lighting, linear pendant lighting, recessed linear lighting, recessed accent lighting, recessed modular lighting, recessed wall washing, task lighting, accent track lighting, surface-mounted lighting, high-bay industrial lighting, and utility lighting.