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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."