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Friday, September 13, 2013

SSL Network controls again take spotlight at SALC opening

Speakers in the keynote session focused on the growing requirement for adaptive controls in outdoor LED lighting, and a networked system is widely seen as the technology of choice moving forward.
Edward Smalley, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) 2013 Street and Areal Lighting Conference (SALC) Committee Chair, convened the keynote session of the conference Monday morning and said that with LED-based outdoor lighting you no longer need to compromise in terms of energy efficiency, lifetime, or lighting quality. Indeed, the theme ran through the opening speeches that LEDs offer good efficiency, but that it is networks and controls that can truly allow cities and municipalities to maximize energy and maintenance savings with solid-state lighting (SSL). The messaging followed substantially along the theme of the SALC keynote last year and suggests growing support for a lighting network that acts as a backbone for many services in a municipality.

Mark Lien, director of government and industry relations at Osram Sylvania, addressed a number of issues in his talk but networked lighting was a big part of the talk. Lien listed ten outside industry associations and standards bodies that are exerting force on the SSL industry and noted that five of the ten are focused on interconnect. Examples include the ZigBee Alliance, the TALQ Consortium, and the Connected Lighting Alliance. Lien said, "Interconnectedness is the common thread."

In contrast, only three of the organizations on Lien's list were focused on light-source efficiency. Light quality has also moved beyond source efficiency in importance. Another speaker later on the Monday program concurred. Naomi Miller, lighting designer at the US Department of Energy (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), said that LEDs are sufficiently efficient that we can afford to waste some of that efficiency now to build better, more comfortable lighting products.

Gianni Minetti, president and CEO of Paradox Engineering, followed Lien and Minetti and really amplified the trend first covered by Niels Van Duinen of Philips Lighting last year. Minetti said 1.2 million new people are moving into new cities each week around the globe. Cities must become more efficient to sustain the growth. He said that smart-city technology, including networked intelligent lighting, could improve energy efficiency by 30% in the next 20 years. That improvement comes on top of more efficient light sources.

Because intelligent lighting offers easily identified savings, Minetti sees lighting as the technology to drive the infrastructure. He said a network designed for lighting can ultimately handle traffic services, emergency signaling, and even pollution controls.

Minetti covered three case studies in San Francisco, California; Paris, France; and Chiasso, Switzerland that have installed wireless multi-service networks. In the Switzerland case, for example, the network carries feeds from video-over-IP traffic cameras along with lighting status and control data; and offers public Wi-Fi. We'll offer more details on those case studies in a later feature article.

The question did arise from several in the audiences as to who owns, installs, and manages such a network within a municipality and how you get different departments to work together. Both Lien and Minetti agreed that such obstacles are part of the growing pains. Both also agreed, however, that there are no technical obstacles. Minett said, "The technology is available today."

NiteN startup announces novel approach to LED retrofit lamp

Using a single circuit board to host COB LEDs and the driver electronics, NiteN hopes to significantly lower the cost of SSL lamps, but the startup could be late to the party.
NiteN has announced an LED retrofit lamp called the 2D-Lite LED Disk that the company says can hit the $10 price point for consumers in 2014 for an 800-lm, 60W-equivalent lamp. The unique design may not resonate immediately as a lightbulb replacement, but it appears as if it should produce uniform omnidirectional light and can be manufactured at low cost. That said, NiteN is a socially-funded startup that may or may not have the backing to launch the product and the socket-saturation clock is ticking on any new manufacturer trying to enter the retrofit lamp space.

We've refrained from covering socially-funded startups for the most part because frankly few have succeeded in the business-to-business technology space and there have been dozens targeting SSL — none of which have found success to date. The unique design of the NiteN product, however, makes it worthy of discussion.

A-lamp footprint
At first glance it looks little like a lightbulb, but the footprint is the same as the vertical centerline cross-section of a traditional incandescent lamp. The single printed-circuit board (PCB) that hosts the LEDs and driver electronics is shaped in that form. The design eliminates interconnects between the LEDs and driver electronics, and the metal-plated PCB acts as both a heat sink and reflector.

The design uses two chip-on-board (COB) LEDs that are mounted back to back on either side of the PCB. A COB LED alone wouldn't provide an omnidirectional beam pattern. NiteN founder Andy Turudic said, "A redistribution lens provides sweet hemispherical perfection from the LED lambertian pattern." Most often you see a collimating total internal reflection(TIR) lens used with smaller LEDs, but that is to narrow the beam pattern and wouldn't work with a larger COB. But in this case the dispersion lens is used to broaden the pattern and the reflective surface of the PCB adds to the beam spread.

The low-cost manufacturing angle is important. The 2D-Lite design would be assembled automatically on a surface-mount line. There are no wires requiring connections or hand soldering/assembly. Even the screw base of the lamp is implemented in part within the confines of the PCB. The plastic portion of the base that is evident in nearby photos does not have the Edison socket threads and is smooth. But look at the edges and you will see the Edison threads on each side of the PCB (the green vertical equator along the base). Moreover, the electrical connections between the PCB to the threads and to the contacts in the base of the socket are accomplished by contacts embedded on the PCB.

Timing and funding challenges
Despite the positives, NiteN faces an uphill challenge to bring the 2D-Lite design to market. The company needs funding to begin volume manufacturing including the expensive mold for the injection-molding required to build the plastic base. The company is trying to raise money on the Indiegogo social-funding site, and is part of the Philips Innovation Fellows program on that site.

The other challenges include the nontraditional look of the lamp and the relatively short time left for companies to capitalize in the retrofit lamps space. Founder Turudic said low cost will trump unconventional looks and that the design should hit the $6 price point in 2015 and drop to $3 in 2017. But even Philips Lighting seems to have learned that consumers want traditional-looking lamps. Of course, it wouldn't be terribly difficult to put a globe on the NiteN design, although that would impact the cost and possibly the thermal design.

The bigger question is probably the clock. Without question NiteN has misjudged how quickly the retrofit lamp space is moving. Even if things go perfectly for the startup, Cree, Philips, and probably others will beat them to market with $10 60W-equivalent lamps. The important factor is that the large companies have volume production and distribution arrangements in place to move hundreds of thousands of units instantly. And by the time 2017 rolls around, the market for retrofit lamps will be severely diminished as consumers will have installed many long-life lamps already.

The NiteN intellection property (IP), however, could be applied to luminaires as well. Turudic pointed out that the 2D-Lite LED Disk could serve perfectly in the typical surface-mount ceiling fixture that uses two incandescent lamps or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in which half of the light is radiated upward and essentially wasted. NiteN could just power one side of its disk and halve power consumption to double efficacy in such a case.

The most likely path to success for the company, however, is probably sale or license of the IP to companies working on integral luminaires, or even a move into the luminaire space if the startup can find funding. The concepts are impressive, but we've seen many impressive concepts in the SSL space that were far better funded and yet have staggered to exit the startup phase.

Outdoor lighting: GE Lighting supplies LEDs to Baguio City; Global SSL projects

GE Lighting has supplied the tourist destination of Baguio City in the Philippines with new LED streetlights, while Bath, UK; Sydney, Australia; and Horsham, Pennsylvania launch SSL roadway projects.
GE Lighting has supplied LED streetlights for a major roadway lighting project in Baguio City, the Philippines, both slashing energy and maintenance costs and improving the lighting. Bath, England is installing solid-state lighting (SSL) along the A4 roadway. The Ausgrid utility in Australia is undertaking LED projects across 41 town councils. And Horsham, Pennsylvania is replacing obsolete streetlights with LED-based fixtures.

Baguio City streets
Baguio City is both a major summer tourist destination and a center of educational institutions in the Philippines, and city officials are revitalizing the city through a formalized Clean & Green Environment program. As part of that initiative, the city previously installed LED lighting in Burnham Park and Chinese Garden, and now has moved to retrofit roadway lighting along a 3-km section of Kennon Road, which links Baguio City to the lowland town of Rosario.

GE recommended the 157W LED R150 Pro fixture for the roadway project. The SSL fixtures use 37% less energy than HID alternatives that deliver equivalent light. Baguio City projects that it will save $212,400 each year in energy and maintenance, and also said that the energy reduction was equivalent to elimination of 398,000 kg of carbon emissions each year.

Still, city officials would not have made the transition to LED sources without an upgrade in lighting quality. The city said that the new fixtures produce no uplight. Moreover, the lighting is largely glare free given the combination of reflector optics and LED placement in the fixtures. The city said the lighting offers a more vibrant and modern look and is therefore a good investment in terms of maximizing visitor experiences in the city.

"GE recognizes the importance of a sound and thriving environment as a major element in promoting tourism," said Vince Adorable, GE Lighting country manager for the Philippines. "This initiative with the local government of Baguio is one of the many lighting projects in the country that GE participates in. It is geared towards creating better, safer, and cleaner communities through products that are ecologically sensitive and at the same time, cost-effective."

Bath, England streetlights
In the UK, meanwhile, the town of Bath is installing LED lighting along portions of the A4 roadway than runs between London and Avonmouth, according to the Now Bath website. The town is replacing lights that are nearing the end of their service life.

The project involves 4,000 fixtures. The Bath & North East Somerset Council is projecting annual savings of GBP 200,000 per year initially and an additional GBP 50,000 per year in the future due to lower maintenance costs. The project is also taking advantage of adaptive-control technology to lower light levels and enhance efficiency when little traffic is on the road late at night.

Ausgrid LED project
Moving down under, the Ausgrid utility in Australia, which owns 250,000 streetlights and maintains that inventory for 41 town councils, is beginning a major LED retrofit after testing the technology for a year and a half. According to the website, councils across Sydney, the Central Coast, and Hunter will get SSL.

The lengthy test period was intended to ensure that the LED lights could withstand harsh Australian conditions. Eight locations totaling 62 lights proved out the technology and energy savings totaled a 70% reduction during the trial.

Horsham township
Of course, smaller projects are popping up everywhere these days, and Horsham Township, Pennsylvania is one of the latest such projects. The Hatboro-Horsham Patch reported that 64 lights will be converted to LEDs this year. That relatively small project is projected to save $2,200 annually.

The town was forced to contemplate a streetlight project because many of the existing lights were obsolete. But the town council considered other energy-efficient technologies such as induction before settling on LED lights.

Osram says OLEDs will find use in production autos by 2016

Surface-emitting OLED light source will prove an ideal match for tail and brake lights, according to Osram, with production obstacles largely overcome.
With the Frankfurt International Motor Show on tap beginning September 12 in Frankfurt, Germany, Osram is planning to highlight the OLED technology that it has been pursuing specifically for automotive applications. The company now believes that OLEDs will be used in production vehicles by 2016 in rear-facing applications such as brake and tail lighting.

Osram publicly demonstrated the automotive OLED technology in the fall of 2012 at the Electronica trade event. Clearly the company has progressed with the technology significantly in the last ten months. For a 2016 vehicle to use the technology, the light source must essentially be ready now given the long design cycles of the auto industry.

"We have essentially achieved road suitability for our OLEDs this year and will be offering initial special equipment based on OLEDs next year," said Ulrich Eisele, who is responsible for the OLED sector at Osram. "In 2016 at the latest, we expect to see OLEDs used in series production of new vehicles."

Osram believes that the inherently-diffuse, surface-emission characteristics of OLEDs make the technology especially suitable for the rear-facing lights. A main obstacle to such usage has been temperature stability of the light source — especially at extreme temperatures. But Osram said it has now achieved stability at 85°C over several hundred hours of operation.

Eisele added, "After a further year of research, the remaining obstacles regarding serial production are small." The company will also demonstrate the technology at the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting that will be held September 23–25, 2013 in Darmstadt, Germany.

Osram has not discussed the other roadblock to OLED usage — namely costs. Even LED lighting has been relegated mainly to premium auto models and LED technology is more mature and less costly than OLED technology. As the LED technology goes more mainstream in autos, OLEDs will likely be limited to the elite models initially.

Our September issue includes a feature article on LED usage in autos and does mention OLED usage as well. The OLED technology is already being used inside the cabin in some high-end autos for displays.

While primary advantages of LEDs in cars have been a controllable beam, lower energy usage, and lighter weight, OLEDs could bring other advantages. For example, Osram says that transparent OLEDs will offer new design concepts in automotive lighting.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cree announces color LEDs in XB-D and XM-L family

Cree has announced new color LEDs that bring the same lumen output gains announced in white LEDs earlier this year to manufacturers of entertainment lighting products and exterior architectural lighting products where colors are a requisite.
Cree XB-D red LED
The new Cree XLamp XB-D color LEDs deliver a 40% gain in lumen output compared to prior-generation XP-E color LEDs. The new XLamp XM-L LEDs are multi-emitter, multi-color LEDs that are 60% smaller than prior-generation MC-E LEDs. In both cases, the new products deliver more lumens per dollar and enable color-lighting products for applications such as entertainment, architectural or fa├žade illumination, vehicle usage, and display lighting.

The XB-D LEDs are in the same 2.45×2.45-mm package that Cree announced for the XB-D white LEDs early this year. The new blue, green, red, and red-orange components join the white LEDs that are available in the range of 2700-6200K.

At 1A of drive current, the XB-D LEDs produce from 92 lm for blue to 261 lm for red-orange. Note that those values aren't truly indicative of efficacy, because the lumen values specify the light the eye sees as opposed to the radiometric power output by the LED. The XB-D LEDs, in the small footprint, can be easily mixed for color-changing lighting including the white components.

Cree XM-L multi-color LED
The XM-L components measure 5×5 mm. But that footprint accommodates four emitters. The output ranges from 89 lm from the blue die to 272 lm for the white die.

The multi-die products will be especially suited for entertainment lighting. "The smaller and brighter XM-L color LED allows us to improve system performance and lower system cost," said Michael Johnson, vice president of engineering at The Black Tank. "We are excited that Cree is offering a higher performance multi-color LED."

RAB lighting rates LED products for 100,000 hours of life

SSL luminaire maker relies on IES TM-21 standard for projecting LED life to arrive at 100,000-hr rating for fixtures that equates to 27 years in normal use.
RAB Lighting announced that it now rates its LED-based lighting fixtures for 100,000 hrs of life, equating to 27 years based on a 10-hr usage day. The extended rating for the solid-state lighting (SSL) products is based in part on the TM-21 standard for projecting LED component lifetime that was released by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) last year.

Longer lifetime is a hot topic. Cree recently extended the warranty to ten years on most of its LED-based product line for commercial applications. For now, RAB has not addressed the warranty, but just the projected life. The extended life claim applies both to new and previously-released LED fixtures.

"TM-21 puts a stake in the ground and levels the playing field for LED fixture manufacturers," says Ross Barna, CEO of RAB Lighting. "RAB takes enormous pride in designing LED fixtures that perform as great as they look, so it was very gratifying to learn that our adherence to the strictest design standards and our LM-80 tests exceeding 10,000 hours have finally paid off."

In reality however, TM-21 is strictly-speaking an LED component standard. It's not meant to apply to a luminaire design where other sources of failure, such as the notorious electrolytic capacitor in the driver electronics, can cause system failure far before the LEDs reach end of life.

Thermal design
RAB did acknowledge the importance of system design, noting that its engineers develop robust thermal systems to keep the LEDs at proper temperature. The company said, "RAB engineers utilize state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamic software to study heat movement and airflow around LED fixtures." Still there are plenty of other failure modes.

We will also note that TM-21 calculations come in two flavors reported and calculated. The reported number to end of useful life is generally considered more valid. That number is limited to six times the LM-80 tested life used in TM-21 calculations.

LM-80 requires a minimum of 6000 hrs of testing and at the point the reported TM-21 life projection would be 36,000 hrs. After LED testing reaches 10,000 hrs, the reported life would be 60,000 hrs.

Apparently, RAB Lighting is basing its claims on a reported life projection so the LEDs that they are using would have been tested to the LM-80 standard for more than 16,000 hrs.

Conversely, calculated TM-21 results can be much higher and, while based on the same algorithm behind reported results, aren’t limited to six times the test duration . For instance, Cree contributed an article to LEDs Magazine earlier this year and used an example of real data with an LED projected to 290,000 hrs at L70 (more than 70% of initial lumen output).

Still, it bears repeating that LED life won't often be the determining factor in the lifetime of a well-designed SSL fixture. Don’t mistake lifetime projections for a warranty.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Taiwan government plans LED lamp subsidy

A planned subsidy for LED lamps could halve their price for consumers in Taiwan, and should also provide a welcome boost for the local LED industry.
LED manufacturers in Taiwan received a boost last week when government officials announced a subsidy for LED lamps, according to an article on the Focus Taiwan website. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) is reportedly thinking of offering a subsidy of NT$200 per lamp.
The Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang said that the NT$1 billion subsidy program to encourage domestic consumers to buy LED lamps would commence in a month’s time.

Households will be able to claim the subsidy of NT$200 per LED lamp for five to ten lamps, said Shih. LED lamps typically cost NT$400-500, so the subsidy could halve the price in some cases.

With rising environmental awareness in Taiwan, analysts say that consumers will be willing to buy LED lamps if the products become more affordable. High prices are thought to be delaying the growth of the LED lighting market.

The subsidy is likely to be good news for the market, although there are worries that consumers will delay purchasing LED lamps until the MOEA launches the subsidy program in a month’s time, says the article.

Several local firms that produce their own brands of LED lamps saw their share price rise following the announcement, including China Electric Manufacturing Co., Delta Electronics Inc. and Everlight Electronics. LED component makers including Formosa Epitaxy and Edison Opto Corp. also saw a positive response.

Epistar predicts industry reshuffle
Meanwhile, Biing-Jye Lee, chairman of Taiwan-based LED chipmaker Epistar, told the Digitimes website that Taiwan-based LED companies have been facing rising competition from their China-based peers. Partly this has been due to the subsidies provided by the Chinese government, for both equipment procurement and plant construction, but these will come to an end in 2014.

Lee said that Taiwan-based LED companies own advanced technology, while Chinese companies have access to a large market. If Taiwan- and China-based LED firms can cooperate in the international LED lighting market, said Lee, then the alliance will be “influential and meaningful.”

Lee also said that Chinese companies have created an over-supply situation, and this has forced prices to fall. However, several LED epitaxial-wafer suppliers in China have already been asked to merge, said Lee, who also predicted that only five large-size LED firms will be left in China by 2015.

LEDnovation introduces 75W- and 100W-equivalent A-lamps, warm-on-dim BR30

LEDnovation has developed a 100W-equivalent A-lamp that produces 1600 lm and uses 19W, while its new 75-equivalent A-lamp uses 14W to produces 1150 lm. The BR30 LED lamp features a CRI of 93 and output of 680 lm at 2700K.
LEDnovation, a manufacturer of LED replacement lamps based in Tampa, FL, has introduced 75W and 100W comparable versions of its EnhanceLite Omnidirectional A-lamps. The LEDH-A19-75-1-27D-IO and LEDH-A19-100-1-27D-IO offer 1150 lm and 1600 lm output and require 13.7W and 19W, respectively, and deliver a warm color temperature of 2700K. The company has also introduced the EnhanceLite LED BR30 lamp for retail lighting, which features a CRI of 93 and light output of 680 lm at 2700K color temperature.

75W and 100W-equivalent A lamps
A lamps are suited for a variety of applications including table lamps, wall sconces, hanging pendants, ceiling lamps and other fixtures. The company will begin producing the 75W-equivalent lamp in November 2012 and the 100W-equivalent lamp in January 2013.

Describing the new lamp, Israel J. Morejon, CEO of LEDnovation, that the 75W-equivalent lamps meets the requirements for the ANSI A19 form factor at 4.4 in (113.3 mm) tall and 2.3 in (60 mm) in diameter, while the 100W-equivalent lamp meets the requirements of an ANSI A21 form factor at 5.25-in (133.3 mm) tall and 2.625 in (66.6 mm) in diameter. He said, “LEDnovation has found the point where beauty in design meets form following function. The flow of the sleek fins up the side of the dome effectively cools the lamp and provides a profile that simply makes sense. Staying very close in shape to a traditional incandescent lends an air of familiarity to the LEDnovation Omni. LEDnovation A lamps utilize a diffusing dome very close to spherical shape that results in bright, pleasant warm light that is distributed evenly over the entire white orb. In addition, the 75W weighs 3.8 ounces [108 g] which makes it the lightest in the industry.”

In May of this year, GE Lighting announced a 100W-equivalent LED lamp that consumes 27W and produces a warm white with a color temperature of 3000K. This lamp conforms to the ANSI A21 form factor but will not ship until the first half of 2013. Philips has stated that it will begin shipping its 100W equivalent A-lamp with ANSI A21 form factor in the 4th quarter of 2012. That lamp produces 1700 lm and uses 23W of power at a color temperature of 2700K. Both Philips and GE have announced the lamps will carry a rated life of 25,000 hours.

The LEDnovation lamps will have a rated life of 50,000 hr and have a 5-yr warranty. Other specifications include a CRI>90, R9>90, power factor exceeding 0.90 and dimming to 5% on most dimmers.

Morejon continued, “Many times over our customers come back enthralled by the result of their energy savings. These savings are significant and stem not only from LED lighting but also a corollary reduction in the HVAC impacts due to the LEDnovation lighting retrofit. This results in a strong ROI that improves the bottom line.”

Warm-on-dim BR30 LED lamps
The Warm Dimming LED BR30 replacement lamp mimics the behavior of incandescent and halogen lamps when dimmed. EnhanceLite LED-BR30-65-1-27D-IF utilizes digital dimming control, a trichromatic color solution and customized dimming profile algorithms to follow the blackbody Planckian locus with exceptional fidelity when dimming.

The lamps suit applications that require warm lighting such as track lighting, recessed ceiling lights, retail display lighting, and general household light fixtures. Targeted to restaurants, hotels, retail and residences, the EnhanceLite LED BR30 becomes proportionally warmer in color temperature as the lumen output is lowered. The EnhanceLite LED BR30 lamps will be produced in late October 2012.

The EnhanceLite LED BR30 lamp has a high CRI of 93 coupled with 2700K warm white color temperature at full power of 8.5W. The BR30 lamp has an output of 680 lm and an efficacy of 80 lm/W. It fits the standard ANSI form factor.

Morejon commented, “Our new EnhanceLite LED BR30 was born of our restaurant customers desires for warm dimming solutions. This allows our restaurateur customers to offer the same hospitable ambience while gaining the advantage in energy and environmental savings from employing LEDnovation technology.”

With more than 25 times the lifetime of an equivalent incandescent BR30 lamp, LEDnovation’s energy efficient EnhanceLite LED BR30 reduces the frequency of replacement, a critical attribute for reducing maintenance costs. The lamp comes with a 5-year warranty and 50,000-hr rated life.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

White- and blue-LED inventor Nakamura wins inventor award

The Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association named Shuji Nakamura the winner of its Inventor of the Year award for innovations including Soraa's GaN-on-GaN technology.
The Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association (SVIPLA) annually bestows its Inventor of the Year award to an individual that has made "exceptional contribution" in terms of technology development. This year, the SVIPLA recognizes Shuji Nakamura, the co-founder of Soraa and also the original inventor of blue and white LEDs.

Nakamura's recent work at Soraa is in the development of gallium-nitride (GaN) LEDs that are fabricated on a GaN substrate. Most LED manufacturers grow GaN epitaxial layers on a sapphire or silicon-carbide substrate. Soraa says that the homogenous GaN-on-GaN approach provides a better alignment of crystalline structures that results in LEDs that can handle higher current densities and produce more light out.

Nakamura has a long history of intellectual property development. Soraa says that he has been responsible for more than 700 patent applications and received at least 360 authorized patents.

"I am proud to be recognized by the property law association and I thank them for this," said Nakamura. "My focus is to create efficient lighting products that do not compromise on performance, offer the highest quality available and greatly reduce energy waste."

Nakamura's work at Soraa is due to come to fruition shortly. The company recently announced that Japanese lighting manufacturer Ushio would begin selling MR16 retrofit lamps based on Soraa's LEDs in November.

"Shuji’s pioneering work has enabled Soraa to produce the most advanced LED lamps on the market,” said Eric Kim, CEO of Soraa. “As we continue to innovate, we are pleased to see our co-founder honored for the work that started it all. For those who have followed his contributions to the industry and to LED technology, this award has special meaning."

The Soraa technology pioneered by Nakamura has progressed rapidly. The startup company just came out of stealth mode in February at Strategies in Light when Kim presented a keynote on GaN-on-GaN technology.

Nexxus Lighting and Philips settle patent litigation, Nexxus completes $6 million investment

Nexxus Lighting and Royal Philips Electronics have settled patent litigation brought by Philips. Philips has granted Nexxus an ongoing, royalty-bearing license to LED luminaire and retrofit bulb technologies. Nexxus also finalized a $6 million investment by Aston Capital.
Nexxus Lighting, Inc. has announced a settlement agreement ending the pending patent litigation brought by Royal Philips Electronics (aex:PHI). In a separate announcement, Nexxus stated that it had completed the previously announced $6 million equity investment by Aston Capital, LLC, a private investment company. Aston now owns 73% of Nexxus’ common stock.
In connection with the settlement and patent license agreement, Philips will grant Nexxus Lighting an ongoing, royalty-bearing license to the comprehensive portfolio of patented LED technologies and solutions offered under Philips' LED luminaire and retrofit bulb licensing program. The license allows Nexxus to continue to manufacture and sell LED-based lighting products, including the Array brand of LED replacement light bulbs.

Nexxus will also pay Philips a one-time, lump-sum royalty fee to address past sales.

Both parties will dismiss the lawsuit Philips initiated and presently pending in Massachusetts federal court.

"The opportunity for creating, developing and selling creative new LED lighting systems is expanding rapidly and we believe that combining access to the Philips portfolio of intellectual property with our own patented technology will give Nexxus Lighting a tremendous platform from which to penetrate the growing lighting market," stated Mike Bauer, president and CEO of Nexxus Lighting. "We are pleased we could come to mutually agreeable terms and can now refocus our business on the large growth opportunities we see for LED lighting."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Toshiba installs 20,000 LED street lamps in San Antonio

In San Antonio, Texas, CPS Energy has selected Toshiba TGT LED Luminaires to replace 20,000 HPS street lamps following extensive experimentation with multiple LED luminaires.
Toshiba International Corporation (TIC) has announced that its TGT LED Luminaires will replace over 20,000 high-pressure sodium (HPS) street lamps in San Antonio, Texas. CPS Energy selected Toshiba’s roadway lighting after extensive investigation and experimentation with multiple LED luminaire options. The luminaire was selected for its product performance including the communications-enabled feature that allows connection to the Smart Grid.

The Toshiba TGT LED Luminaire uses 70% less energy than the HPS street lamps and has a rated life of 100,000 hours L85. The photocells have a rated life of 15 years, which means the TGT luminaire lasts up to 5X longer with a lower lumen depreciation than metal halide and 2X as long as HPS products.
San Antonio’s existing 250W HPS luminaires consume 310 system watts and are being replaced by Toshiba’s 100W 42-chip TGT LED luminaires. The luminaire features a very low life cycle cost based on its durability and low energy use.

“We were incredibly pleased with the quality of light from the Toshiba product. The change-outs implemented to date have resulted in a marked improvement on light distribution and color rendering,” said Richard Lujan, manager for Standards and Specification at CPS Energy.

In addition to the energy and maintenance savings, Toshiba TGT LED luminaires provide high color rendering, uniformity and small target visibility, all of which enhance public safety.

“We are committed to the value this product brings to the marketplace – not only as an incredibly energy-efficient, low-maintenance product, but as a superior light source that enhances visibility and contributes to a community’s improved quality of life,” said Peter DellaPezze, vice president of marketing and product development, TIC LED Lighting Systems Division. “We also value the relationship we have with CPS Energy as we work together to develop lighting solutions that take advantage of all the capabilities LED technology can offer progressive communities such as San Antonio.”

Monday, February 11, 2013

Osram Opto introduces Oslon Black Flat LED for headlights

The Oslon Black Flat LED for automotive headlights is designed to provide virtually constant light output even at elevated temperatures.
The new Oslon Black Flat LED from Osram Opto Semiconductors for automotive front lighting has been designed to provide high light output at high drive current, uniform light distribution, and high contrast for visibility. The LED component combines advanced chip and packaging technology including ceramic converters to deliver higher brightness and greater temperature stability. The LED was originally introduced as a prototype in September 2011 and is now commercially available.

The Oslon Black Flat LED has been designed to meet all front-lighting requirements. The LED can be used to illuminate the road in all weather conditions while functioning in different capacities as high-beam headlights, daytime running lights, cornering lights, or fog lights.
The LED uses the company’s new UX:3 chip technology to deliver 200 lm (at 25°C) at 700 mA drive currents and 2.3W, or up to 270 lm at 1.2A. It can handle application temperature up to 100°C.

Thermal management has been improved by reducing the component’s thermal resistance to 4 K/W. The QFN (quad flat no leads) package material matches the coefficient of thermal expansion of the metal-core board. The Oslon Black Flat is AECQ101 automotive qualified, with a rated life of 100,000 hours at 700 mA and a case temperature of 60°C or 10,000 hours at 1.2 A and 120°C.

The LED has been designed with a low profile and no lens to maximize optical incoupling by placing the chip very close to the light guide or lens in the headlight. This design enables a luminance of 70-100 Mcd/m2, 2-5X higher than comparable LEDs. “This is particularly important in automotive front lighting solutions based on projection systems,” said Michael Martens, product marketing manager for automotive LEDs at Osram Opto Semiconductors. “The greater the luminance of the LED, the smaller the external lens and the smaller the space needed. Headlights can therefore be made much more compact, giving designers much more freedom.”

Nexxus Lighting gets $6 million investment from Aston Capital

Nexxus Lighting has unveiled a $6 million investment from Aston Capital, and chief executive Robert LaPenta will become the new chairman of Nexxus.
Nexxus Lighting (NEXS), a maker of LED replacement lamps based in Charlotte, NC, has announced that it will be receiving a $6 million investment from a private equity firm Aston Capital LLC. When the deal is finalized, the firm will own 73% of Nexxus’ common stock. Robert LaPenta, chief executive officer (CEO) of Aston, will become Nexxus's new chairman.
The closing of Aston's investment is scheduled to be finalized by September 24, at which time Nexxus' current board members will resign.

Aston has agreed to purchase 600,000 shares of convertible preferred stock at $10 per share. The preferred stock will be convertible into shares of the company's common stock at a conversion price of $0.13 per share.

"We view the market for LED lighting to be in the early phase of adoption and we see Nexxus Lighting, with their product lines and intellectual property, as a platform on which to build and grow in the market," LaPenta said.

The proceeds of the investment will be used to pay off about $2.5 million of short-term debt and fund the upcoming settlement of a lawsuit with Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV and Philips Solid-State Lighting Solutions over LED lighting patents. Upon settlement, Nexxus Lighting will receive a license to use certain Philip's patents for LED lighting and will pay Philips a royalty with respect to certain company products. Additional proceeds will be used for working capital.

Upon conversion of the stock, Aston is expected to own about 73% of Nexxus' outstanding common stock. Aston will also initially have the right to appoint four members to its board, with the board not to exceed seven members.

"The last several quarters have been very challenging and the need to find a strong partner became a requirement for the company," said Nexxus president and CEO Mike Bauer.

Last year, Nexxus began marketing its replacement lamps directly to commercial customers via its web portal, The move was designed to bring factory-direct pricing to customers of Array-brand LED replacement lamps, including ESCOs, lighting maintenance contractors, facility and property managers.

Several years ago, Nexxus Lighting, known as Super Vision at the time, was involved in a five-year legal battle with Color Kinetics, which settled in favor of Color Kinetics.

Lumileds introduces high-voltage and high-lumen-density LEDs

The Luxeon Z is a very small, unencapsulated LED package that can be used to build multi-chip arrays, while the Luxeon H50-2 is an improved version of Lumileds’ high-voltage package.
Philips Lumileds has recently introduced several new ranges of LEDs, including the Luxeon Z, described as “the industry’s smallest high-power LED package,” and a new version of its high-voltage Luxeon H.

Luxeon Z

With a package size of 1.7 x 1.3 mm, or 2.2 mm2, the Luxeon Z has the “industry’s highest commercially-available lumen density,” claims Lumileds. The highest-rated bin for 4000K white (CRI=70) measured at 25°C and 500 mA has a typical flux and efficacy of 148 lm and 102 lm/W respectively. At 700 mA, the figures are 194 lm and 94 lm/W.
The Luxeon Z is available in white as well as in a range of colors from 440 to 670 nm, using either AlGaInP or InGaN chips. It is unencapsulated, allowing the use of custom optics.

Lumileds says that the small form-factor of Luxeon Z will allow it be used to create specialized mono-color or multi-color arrays for existing and new luminaires. Up to 250 Luxeon Z LEDs can be mounted in one square inch, says the company.

“Luxeon Z fundamentally takes the building-block approach and puts design flexibility back in the hands of engineers and specifiers,” says Rahul Bammi, VP product management at Lumileds.

High-voltage Luxeon H LEDs
Lumileds as also introduced a new version of its high-voltage Luxeon H, the H50-2, which is intended for space-constrained retrofit lamps such as the common A19, as well as candelabra and GU10 lamps. With a typical efficacy of more than 80 lm/W, the H50-2 improves on the existing 50V Luxeon H by 27%.

The high-voltage LED approach enables the use of simpler, more cost-efficient drivers, compared with conventional LEDs that are driven in the region of around 3V. “This new LED package works with simple, highly-efficient drivers, enabling lighting designers to create unique form factors at lower costs,” said Viji Krishnamurthy, product manager at Lumileds.

Luxeon K arrays and mid-power 3535 LEDs
Lumileds has also recently publicized its Luxeon K arrays, available with 4, 8, 12, 16 and 24 emitters. Outputs range from 400 to 4000 lm, with CCTs of 2700K, 3000K and 4000K.

Finally, the Luxeon Mid-Power 3535 is designed for non-directional light sources, such as LED troffers and tube lights, which are used in commercial and residential applications.

Monday, January 28, 2013

DOE releases cost model for manufacturing of LED packages

The DOE has developed a model that allows companies to assess the effect of changing different aspects of their LED manufacturing process flow, for example using different substrates or introducing new manufacturing equipment.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released a common cost model for the manufacturing of LED packages.
The Modular LED Cost Model (LEDCOM), which was developed by a DOE working group in response to feedback from previous DOE workshops and roundtables, provides a simplified method for analyzing the manufacturing costs of an LED package.

The model was introduced as part of the newly-revised SSL Manufacturing R&D Roadmap 2012.

The LEDCOM model focuses on the major cost elements of LED manufacturing and includes preliminary raw data and a basic manufacturing process flow. These provide a starting point and can be customized by the user to model different processes, materials, and equipment.

The tool is intended for those involved in the manufacturing of LED packages, from material and equipment suppliers, to epitaxy growers, to wafer processors, to chip manufacturers and packagers.

It will enable these parties to evaluate the relative impact on the final LED package cost of changes made at different points in the manufacturing process.

For example, the tool can be configured to evaluate the impact of changes to the substrate size and type, the fabrication process, raw materials costs, and the manufacturing equipment used.

It can also be used to help complete a cost-benefit analysis in order to quantify the value of a proposed R&D activity by analyzing the impact the anticipated improvements would have on the final LED package cost.

The LEDCOM tool can be downloaded from the DOE SSL website as a zip file that contains the LEDCOM model as an excel worksheet, the backend database, and an operating information document.

Philips' Van Duinen says LED lighting will be connected to the Internet of things

The keynote speaker at the Street & Area Lighting Conference in Miami discussed the vital importance of SSL relative to the global energy crisis, and predicted that smart lighting will ultimately be connected in ubiquitous networks.
Niels Van Duinen, global marketing director at Philips Lighting led off the Street & Area Lighting Conference on September 10 with a forward look at LED lighting and how smart-city projects will ultimately connect lighting on Internet Protocol (IP) networks. Van Duinen sees connected solid-state lighting (SSL) as a necessity given the growing energy concerns around the globe.

Van Duinen began with some astounding numbers saying that by 2050 close to 7 billion people, about the number on the planet today, will live in cities. He said that in developing countries, cities will expand to accommodate an additional one million residents every five days. And energy consumption will of course escalate. Van Duinen projected a 40% increase in energy consumption by 2030.

Saving energy in outdoor lighting is clearly important. Van Duinen said that LED-based lighting can offer 50-70% energy savings, but added "it's not enough to meet global sustainability targets." Adaptive controls can bring the savings to 80%, according to Van Duinen.

25 million lights
There are 25 million street lights in the US, and those lights account for 40% of cities' electricity usage, according to Van Duinen. Those lights are equivalent to 2.6 million cars in terms of carbon emissions.

Van Duinen said that after a decade focusing on LED lighting for energy savings that it's time to go to the next phase. Moreover, he noted that lighting won't have to break new ground to adapt IP network technology. As an example, he cited radio frequency identification (RFID) tags used to track things such as retail items or pallets of merchandise. He said there will be 4 billion RFID tags added in 2012. He went on to mention that mobile wireless service providers are adding Internet connectivity to devices (things) other than phones at twice the rate that they are for phones.

For municipalities that want to adapt smart-city technology, the answer is a unified network, according to Van Duinen. Cities are already connecting traffic signals and other assets. A unified network that includes street lights could both maximize energy saving and add other benefits.

Van Duinen cited an example of how a connected city could improve emergency response. He said cameras could detect and capture the occurrence of an auto accident and immediately alert responders. The network would control traffic signals ensuring that the responders have a clear path to the accident. And the network could command street lights to full output for best visibility.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cooper Lighting launches sleek line of outdoor luminaires

The Navion LED luminaire is offered in various lumen and optical packages to meet the output and light distribution of different street and area lighting applications.
Cooper Lighting has added the new Navion LED luminaire to its line of Lumark LED outdoor area, site and roadway lighting fixtures. The Navion luminaire's application-specific design allows lumen output and energy consumption to be configured to fit the lighting needs various applications, from single fixture to large office parking lots and roadway lighting. Energy savings is 30-70% over high-intensity discharge (HID) fixtures.
Cooper's Navion LED street/area luminaire.
The luminaire's size and construction is scaled to the specific lumen package in five configurations from 3600 to 22,000 lm, or HID equivalents from 70W HPS up to 400W MH. The Navion luminaire features a 4000K color temperature and CRI of 70, with an optional 6000K (70 CRI) and 3000K (80 CRI) available. Rated lifetime is 60,000 hours at 90% lumen maintenance (16 yr at 10 hr/day).
The luminaire uses Cooper Lighting’s AccuLED optics system to achieve optical efficiency as high as 95%, while eliminating uplight, glare, obtrusive spill light and overlit hot spots. The user selects from ten optical packages.

With its die-cast aluminum construction and durable powder-coat finish, the luminaire is designed to withstand harsh environments over an operating range of -40[deg]C to 40[deg]C (50[deg]C optional package). Other features include tool-less door entry and quick electrical disconnects. Installation is performed with simple tools. The fixture is 3G vibration rated and comes standard with 10kV dual-mode surge protection.

Ushio to sell Soraa MR16 LED lamp

As of November 1, Ushio will begin selling the Superline LED MR16 lamps based on Soraa’s GaN-on-GaN technology through Ushio’s subsidiaries in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Germany.
Ushio Inc., a global provider of high quality lighting products based in Tokyo, Japan, has announced that as of November 1, it will begin selling the Superline LED MR16 lamps based on technology from Soraa, a startup firm based in Fremont, CA. The Superline LED lamp is based on LED chips produced using Soraa’s gallium nitride (GaN)-on-GaN semiconductor process. Ushio will sell the MR16 LED lamps through its subsidiaries in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, and Germany.
Ushio/Soraa MR16 LED lamp
The GaN-on-GaN chips allows for LED lighting products that more closely match the black body curve that is produced by halogen and incandescent lamps than existing LED lamps. Unlike competing lamps, Soraa’s LED MR16 offers coverage over the entire spectral range and has no pronounced blue peak or violet and cyan dips. Having overcome the blue overshoot commonly associated with poor color quality, Soraa’s LED MR16 lamp are designed to deliver unparalleled performance in color quality and color rendering. For example, Soraa’s Vivid MR16 lamp featured a CRI of 95 and R9>90 at 3000K color temperature.

LED Engin multi-emitter LED targets challenging halogen-replacement applications

The LZ9 LuxiGen LED delivers up to 1600 lm and LED Engin is targeting the SSL device at directional retrofit lamps for retail and commercial applications.
LED Engin packs nine die in its new LZ9 LuxiGen packaged LED, and the device delivers 1600 lm in a 6500K cool white version and 1350 lm in a 3000K warm white version. The company says that the solid-state lighting (SSL) emitter is a good match for replacing halogen sources in directional lamps such as PAR20 and PAR30 applications.

LuxiGen LZ9 package and COB
Target applications such as retail demand both good beam control and excellent color rendering and LED Engin says that the new product delivers on both. Previously the company has offered LuxiGen devices with a CRI of 80, but the new LED family comes with the option of a 90 CRI.

The LZ9 family offers 2.5 times the lumen output of the prior generation LZ4 family, and LED Engin says that it also more than doubles the lux on target. LED Engin supplies secondary total internal reflection (TIR) optics that can produce spot, flood, and narrow flood beams.

Halogen target
"With the addition of the LZ9, LED Engin continues its focus on maximizing lux on target and lux efficacy at all power levels, giving our customers the freedom and flexibility to design for a range of applications," said Uwe Thomas, vice president of product management. "The LuxiGen LZ9 emitter fills a gap in our product offering in the often-demanded 1000-lm range for complete systems which are commonly used to replace 50W and 75W halogen sources."

Based on the Energy Star Integral Lamp Center Beam Intensity Benchmark Tool, LED Engin says that the LED enables SSL lamps that perform comparably to 75W PAR20 and PAR30 halogen lamps. The company will supply the LED as a component or mounted in a chip-on-board (COB) package that uses a metal core circuit board.

The LEDs are available at CCTs down to 2700K. The array is electrically configured as three parallel strings of three emitters connected in series. The multi-emitter approach allows LED Engin to control CCT to within a 3 MacAdam Ellipse range for lamp-to-lamp color consistency.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

3M announces novel approach to an LED retrofit lamp

A light guide provides omnidirectional light distribution in 3M's new LED-based lamp that is decidedly different from the typical SSL approach to the retrofit application.
Cutaway view of 3M's lamp
This Fall, materials specialist 3M will ship an LED-retrofit lamp that again proves that there is no limit to the number of different ways to apply solid-state lighting (SSL) technology to the problem of designing an omnidirectional bulb. The 60W-equivalent 3M LED Advanced Light uses a light guide that carries and distributes the beam uniformly with the LEDs mounted just above the Edison socket base.

The new lamps produce 800 lm and will be sold in a 3000K CCT version that the company calls soft-white light and a 5000K cool-white version. 3M says that the lamps will last 25 years based on a three-hour usage day and cost $1.63 per year to operate. Retailer Walmart will be the initial source for the $25 lamp with availability expected in September.

The lamp design is truly different from the many other approaches on the market. The approach greatly simplifies the driver design, as the nearby figure shows that the driver is located in the relatively spacious globe. Most other SSL retrofit lamps cram the driver into the base and/or neck of the lamp.

The design allows air to flow into lamp just above the base and exit through slots in the upper half of the globe – cooling both the LEDs and the driver. That thermal concept is again different from most lamps on the market.

LED light engine
The LEDs are mounted facing upwards around the circumference of the neck of the lamp as shown in the figure. The cool-white version uses 9 LEDs while the warm-white version uses 10 LEDs.

A number of 3M materials are used in the lamp including optically clear adhesives used on the globe. The design also uses 3M's Enhanced Specular Reflector material in the light engine. And the design uses 3M electrical connectors.


3M designed the light guide that forms the outer structure of the lamp and uses total internal reflection (TIR) technology to distribute light around the globe. The light-extraction elements are created with white paint on the inside of the light guide causing beams to reflect outside the lamp in an omnidirectional fashion.

The lamp appears similar to a frosted incandescent lamp and is primarily white in the off state. The cooling slots are apparent, but the look would not likely create the issue that say remote-phosphor designs do, with the non-white color in the off state, when lamps are used in fixtures that expose the bulb.

IWatt lowers BOM cost with digital dimmable LED driver ICs

New 12W and 25W LED driver ICs from iWatt work with triac and electronic dimmers and achieve power factor in excess of 0.95.
IWatt has introduced two new dimmable solid-state lighting (SSL) driver ICs, the 12W iW3616 and 25W iW3617, that are based on the company's digital-state machine approach to adapting to leading- and trailing-edge, phase-cut dimmers. The company says that the new LED driver ICs can reduce the overall driver bill of materials (BOM) by 10-20% relative to their prior offering while delivering power factor greater than 0.95 and total harmonic distortion (THD) under 10%.

IWatt's iW3616 targets retrofit lamps
The new driver ICs primarily target retrofit-lamp applications although they will also find usage in some SSL fixtures. The products were designed to meet the 85% or greater driver efficiency requirement that's prevalent in the SSL lamp segment.

IWatt has been on a very public campaign in the dimming area asserting that its products eliminate any LED flicker problems associated with dimming. The new designs can dim from 1% to 100% with +/-5% current regulation.

Dimmer compatibility
Scott Brown, iWatt vice president of marketing, said that the ICs are compatible with a broad array of dimmers with the company having tested the ICs with more than 100 commercially available products including triac-based products and electronic dimmers that produce a phase-cut signal. Brown said that the electronic dimmers are especially difficult. Such leading-edge dimmers don't cleanly cut the signal at the beginning of the each half sine wave of the AC input. Instead, the voltage begins to rise and then the dimmer cuts the signal for a period of time based on the set dim level. IWatt has accounted for such dimmers in its digital state machines that control dimming functionality.

The iWatt designs are two-stage converters with the first stage handling power factor correction (PFC) and the second stage the constant current supply. The PFC stage removes any source of flicker attributable to the AC line.

The promised BOM savings come in the area of the required discrete components. The new ICs can use lower-cost bipolar junction transistors (BJTs) on the output rather than field effect transistors (FETs). The new driver ICs can also use smaller, lower-cost electrolytic capacitors, and simpler protection and EMI filtering circuits

Brown said the BOM savings amount to around $0.09 and that seems like a relatively small amount. But about the retrofit lamp makers, Brown said "Once cent is significant for these guys and twenty cents is huge."