Light-emitting diode (LED) is gaining popularity as the lighting technology of choice for many commercial and industrial applications. This is because it is much safer, cheaper and energy-efficient than other lighting sources. LED lighting fixtures usually have higher luminanc and yet they consume lesser energy, thus inspiring many commercial and industrial establishments to convert into LED lighting. Companies that currently use this technology report that they consume approximately 48 per cent lesser energy than with conventional lighting technology. LED lighting is visually appealing as well.
LED technology is therefore being constantly upgraded to meet the requirements of newer applications. “For commercial purposes, the most effective LED lighting would be MR16, MR11 and downlights of various wattages. These are used in showrooms, shopping malls, offices, factories, etc,” says Ravi A.V., general manager, LED division, Nichia Chemical (I).
What’s new in the market
Different types of LED lighting products are available in the market, ranging from retrofitted bulbs, tubelights, and flexible and rigid strip lights to a number of downlights and spotlights.
An ‘LED product’ generally means a product with an upgraded version of LED technology and some specifiation changes in its components to make it more energy-efficient. he pace of technology development in the LED space is so fast that an LED lighting product that is new today could be outdated the next month. So it is very difficult to say what’s new in the market today.
A majority of commercial lighting involves recessed or canned lighting, which releases very little heat. These provide a focused, high-intensity light where it is needed the most. They can be operated by dimmer switches that help tailor the lighting to the needs of the individual.
AMKA Lighting has added new products to its wide range of LED recessed downlights, spotlights, surface lights and power LED lamps, which the company claims to be a replacement of the MR16 halogen lamp.
“These power LED lamps can save at least 85 per cent of the energy normally used and have a working life of 20,000 hours,” informs Sanjive Jain, managing director, and S.C. Joneja, director, AMKA Lighting.
Binay Opto’s model 600² power LED luminaire is designed for recessed fitting and is suitable for installation into a panel grid. “It offers 95 per cent luminaire efficiency and saves 75 per cent more power than comparable fluorescent tubelights,” explains Kumar K. Rohatgi, founder and technical advisor, Binay Group.
LED retrofit bulbs, which can conveniently replace the GLS bulb and be installed on existing lighting fixtures without any additional expense, are new in the market. These globe-shaped bulbs also come in RGB colour changing models and with a remote control.
In October 2010, Philips Lighting India launched a range of LED bulbs for consumers in the Indian market. These indigenously developed LED bulbs adhere to India-specific environmental and infrastructural challenges such as voltage fluctuations, energy spikes and an irregular power supply.
“Unlike other lighting technologies that are electrical, LED lights are electronic devices. LED bulbs, like other LED sources, are one of the most sustainable lighting solutions. These are based on low-voltage technology and have a lifespan of 50,000 hours,” says Aditya Khosla, director, Sanarti.
New additions from Sanarti include LED T5 and T8 tubelight series, LED bulb series and LED panel light series. T5 and T8 tubelights are an energy-efficient replacement for traditional fluorescent tubes and have an option of inbuilt or separate ballast.
Almost every LED player offers different kinds of downlights. “We have developed downlights using a special diffuser where the light source is invisible. Another new product is the MR16 version which is dimmable,” informs G. Gururaja, director-operations, Avni Energy Solutions.
“An MR16 LED bulb is a multi-faceted reflector (MR) that is usually high-powered but consumes only 4 watts. It emits the same light output as a standard 50W bulb,” informs Jaweed Khan, CEO, Hovel LED Lighting. The company has a series of MR16-compatible modules.
Binay Opto’s retrofit power LED tubelights can replace an existing T8 fluorescent tube. “We have filed a patent for this product. There is no need to remove the electromagnetic choke. The unit can run through the choke or directly without the choke,” explains Rohatgi.
Other players who offer tubelights are Sanarti, AMKA and MIRC Electronics.
“Our LED lights are anti-glare with a higher light output and lesser heat dissipation,” says Avnish Jauhari, business head, lighting, MIRC Electronics.
High bay LED lights are also in demand, as these lights have a much longer working life than conventional fluorescent and incandescent lights. On an average, you can expect these lights to last ten times as long as a typical compact fluorescent bulb. They are usally used in factories and warehouses, as industrial shed lights, front lights, hoarding lights, etc.
“High bay LED lights have found wide acceptability in commercial applications replacing traditional CFL/MH high bay lights, which consume more power and generate a lot of heat,” says Kapil Sood, managing director, Amptek LED Lighting.
“Our bay lights have 100 per cent application efficiency and 80 per cent power effciency. Their lifespan is 50,000 hours,” says Shyam Jindal, managing director, Olive Exports.
Amptek LED Lighting, Sujana and Avni Energy too offer high bay lights.
For low bay industrial lighting, Rachamallu Lighting Solutions has introduced the AMIDON 45W LED luminaire. The luminaire is claimed to be a substitute for 150W high-pressure sodium vapour lamps and can also be used for outdoor area lighting (parking lots, parks, yard lighting) and streetlighting.
“It features a high-quality aluminium pressure die-cast enclosure for better heat dissipation, IP-66 protection and is aesthetically designed. CREE LEDs are used for a system efficacy of 80 lumens/watt,” says R. Sivarjun, director, Rachamallu Lighting Solutions.
Various new versions of track lighting products are available in the market. Track lighting consists of a series of lights attached to metal runners or tracks. Being highly customisable, track lighting is commercially used to high-light a piece of art or a design feature, to draw attention to a product in a retail establishment. “It allows users to mix-and-match fixtures and bulbs. Fixtures may include pendants, floodlights and spotlights,” says Sood.
Almost all LED lighting players offer downlights, but the new variants are designed for commercial applications and are available with a moderate or deep recess angle offering the flexibility to meet diverse lighting-design requirements. The LR4 downlight generates light in a new way that enables an unprecedented combination of light output, efficacyand beautiful colour, apart from being affordable. Some of the players offering downlights are Sujana Energy, MIRC Electronics, Candela Lighting Systems, Hovel LED Lighting and Binay Opto.
Sujana Energy offers a series of retrofit downlights with better thermal management. A newly designed heat-sink makes these downlights very light-weight, durable and reliable.
“All our products deliver more lumens for each watt of power consumed. Our LED products are equipped with a highly efficient acrylic prismatic diffuser having a transmission efficiency of more than 90 per cent. The prismatic diffuser reduces the glare of the LED and increases the light output footprint, making these products much more suitable for commercial purpose,” informs Hari Kiran Chereddi, managing director, Sujana Energy.
Another new offering from MIRC Electronics, Binay Opto and Sanarti is the ceiling light panel. “There are two main types of LED panel lights in the market. One is with the power supply inside and the other has the power supply outside the panel—the former has to be relatively thicker,” explains Khosla.
GlacialTech’s new addition are 595×595mm2 panel lights with back-light technology and four-side light extraction. “Designed to be both fashionable and functional, the Pollux series LED panel lights are ideal for replacing traditional tubelights or grid lights,” says Carol Chiu, global marketing head, GlacialLight.
There are also new types of cove lighting available in the market. Cove lights are made up of tubes or other shapes of light that are hidden high up on walls or ceilings. They give out a dramatic glow of light, and may be used as primary lighting or for aesthetic accents.
“Cove lighting is in demand because the fixtures are hidden and it provides a very even, warm light,” say B.N. Sinha and Deepak Tyagi, directors, Candela Lighting Systems. The company offers various kinds of cove lighting.
Intelligent DMX-controlled lighting fixtures are one of the new types o facade lights in the market. “These are installed with full DMX control with scene creation and scene edit. DMX is a digital control protocol that controls lighting. It can be used to control dimmer channels, intelligent lighting, etc. It is a signal storage device used for mixing colours selected from a colour spectrum in the form of digital data. These signals are further transmitted through shielded cables to the lighting fixtures accordingly, which respond to the given data signal,” explains Sood. Amptek specialises in DMX lighting.
Olive LED has come up with a unique stitching machine focus light, for which the company has file a patent application.
Scope for customisation
LED lighting products have huge scope for customisation, starting from manufacturing and design of new casings, housings and enclosures to design of luminaires as per customer specifications. Even the fixtures and drivers are being customised.
“Manufacturers have been designing and making products that suit their customers well, by not just optimising lighting levels that can be achieved through customisation of colour temperatures, CRI, lux levels and the axis but also providing optimal light distribution by using specialised optical lenses,” say Sinha and Tyagi.
“But while customising products, the manufacturer should always keep quality as the priority, as in this competitive market, manufacturers end up using inferior-quality components that not only hamper the efficient operation of the product but also adversely impact the expected life of LEDs,” adds Jindal.
According to Gurinder Singh Lali, founder, Nano Power, “Electronic ballasts are also responsible for better lamp performance, extending life and improving colour characteristics. Luminaires are selected for their lighting effectiveness, and these products are manufactured and customised as per specifications provided by the buyers, which include many factors like input power supply (AC/DC), lumens output (high/low), total wattage, angles of light output, and specifications of size and shape.”
Technological changes and innovations
An LED lighting product is a combination of electronic design (LEDs), electrical design (LED drivers), mechanical design (cooling devices) and optical design (lamp holders), and innovations have been taking place in all these components. In the last two years, the performance of high-power LEDs has improved drastically, with greatly improved light output (flux),efficacy (lumens per watt), colour quality and stability.
“Today, commercial LEDs emit 110-120 lumens/watt and, recently, the Bilkent University in Turkey has claimed to have developed an LED with an output of 300 lumens/watts,” says Joneja.
Some of the improvements in the last few years have given LED technology a real boost—ceramic packages for better thermal management, increase in efficiency within a short time frame backed by chip technologies, long-life, high-brightness white LEDs with longer maintenance intervals and better total cost of ownership. “These improvements support fast and extensive adoption of LEDs for different applications,” opines Sood.
As the lumens/watt increases, the number of LEDs to be used to replace conventional lighting is coming down, thereby reducing the cost and wattage of replacing conventional lights.
Jindal shares, “Innovations in commercial lighting are more focused on designing the components for maximum light with minimal wastage. As a result, the angles of light dispersion are important and therefore the fixing of lenses in the lights plays an important role. By using perfect lenses, the perfect spread of the light can be achieved.”
In commercial lighting, design of the lighting fixture should be according to IP standards. If the life of the LED is more than 50,000 hours or 100,000 hours, the standard of the fixture should also match that.
“Many inferior designs are available in the market where the life of the fixture cannot be expected to extend beyond three to four years. How can we then expect to protect the LEDs for about 15 years with these fixtures? At Olive, we take special care of this aspect and use a good-quality metal to match the heat-sink quality,” shares Jindal.
With drastic improvements in diffusers, secondary lens and reflector technology, it is now possible to achieve better-quality lighting with a good spread of light, without much wastage of energy or multiple shadows.
“Earlier, even though we had LEDs which could have been driven at up to 1 amp (3 watts), the lumen output was not effcient. But now with new-generation LEDs, the lumen output is much more. For example, even at 1 watt (350 mA) we get 130 lumens, or at 3 watts (1 amp) we get 300 lumens. This will help us to use fewer LEDs,” says Gururaja.
Sujana Energy uses an intelligent proximity module such as a motion sensor in its products. The sensor is sensitive to movement and can offer functionalities like auto-dimming and auto switch-on/off. The company also offers photosensitive LED billboard lighting, which is solar-based and has an inbuilt dimming and on/off mechanism.
Nichia recently introduced low-power LEDs in tiny packages. The smallest LEDs (3×1.4mm2) now have inbuilt zener diodes, with the same footprint for 0.06-watt, 0.12-watt, 0.24-watt and 0.5-watt bulbs.
“Chip-on-board (COB) is an emerging technology which allows for virtually limitless freedom in the use of PCBs and thus serves as the basis for totally unique LED solutions,” informs Ravi A.V.
COB technology is used for both small and high-power chips to give long life and high reliability to the product. In COB production process, LED chips are directly attached to the metal PCB substrate so that the heat generated at the p-n junction has a direct path for maximum heat dissipation.
“COB technology, though slightly expensive, is the best solution for temperature-sensitive devices such as LEDs, primarily due to its superior heat dissipation characteristics which result in cooler LED chips and a long life of up to 100,000 hours,” explains Rohtagi.
“Our COB LED strips are standard products and we are also using COB technology to manufacture COB LED downlighters, COB LED footlights, COB retrofit tubelights and COB retrofit GLS bulbs,” says Rohtagi.
“Samsung’s 11W COB solution provides up to 118 lumens/watt at 5000K and 88-90 lumens/watt at 2700K. Thermals are adequately taken care of since the chip itself has a large contact area with the heat-sink. This is an excellent solution for bulbs, wall washers and floodlights,” says Pradeep G. Kamath, vice president, Spectra Innovations India—a distributor for Samsung LED components in the Indian market.
Cree has recently launched XLamp XM-L LED—a single-die white-lighting LED. It is 20 per cent more efficient than XLamp XP-G at the same current, and can deliver 1000 lumens with 100 lumens per watt efficacy, claims the company. “Its wide viewing angle, symmetrical package, unlimited floor life and electrically neutral thermal path could make a lighting product more energy-efficient and powerful,” explains Shyam Mishra, sales manager, India, Cree Hong Kong.
Cree’s XLamp MT-G LEDs are optimised for 35-50W halogen MR16 retrofit bulbs and for accent, track, display and down lighting. These feature Cree’s EasyWhite technology and deliver consistent colour in a small, highly-efficient package.
“XLamp MT-G LED is the first in the industry to be binned and tested at 85°C and it can simplify luminaire design calculations and speed time-to-market. With a 9×9mm2 footprint, the MT-G LED delivers up to 560 lumens at 1.1A at 85°C or up to 1525 lumens at 4A at 85°C in warm white (3000K),” informs Mishra.
Philips Lumileds’ Luxeon solution addresses luminaire manufacturers’ and lighting designers’ concerns over white-light consistency and uniformity, and simplifies the design process for LED solutions. The Luxeon H high-voltage emitter is driven directly with rectified AC voltage rather than constant DC current.
The author is executive editor for EFY’s Electronics Bazaar magazine