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ATEX and IEC Ex Flame-proof Explosion Proof Lighting & Equipment
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Megatower™
QC Series Industrial Portable Lighting - Quick Change Mount
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01/28/14 The Future of Lighting: No More Lamp Servicing or Maintenance?

Article- Jan, 2013 By Larson Electronics.com

Hazardous Location 240 Watt LED Light

Larson Electronics Hazardous Location 240 Watt LED Light


Beyond costs and performance, most of those adopting LED lighting technology never realize the significant changes LEDs will introduce into the production and manufacturing of lighting equipment. While just about all of us can appreciate the improved performance and cost effectiveness LEDs provide, the changes LEDs are causing within the lighting industry are far more profound. Due to their unique design and operation, LEDs represent a radical departure from incandescent lighting technology, and due to increasing demand for LED based luminaires, the way we design and develop lighting is changing as well.

 
One of the most important beneficial attributes of LEDs is their extremely long operational life, upwards of 50,000 to 100,000 hours versus the typical 1,000 to 2,000 hours for a standard incandescent bulb. Because of this, it is entirely possible that we may no longer need to think of lighting as a user serviceable technology, meaning that eventually the days of periodic bulb changes may end. This sort of shift in development thinking is further supported by the fact that LEDs need to be designed to carry heat away from the emitters, which in turn necessitates a fixture designed to accomplish this task. Such a design requirement does not work well with existing lamp and socket luminaire designs, which means in order to provide the most efficient heat removal possible, luminaires will have to be designed specifically to achieve this feat. Also, since LEDs last so long there is simply little need for a fixture capable of accepting lamp replacements. The end result is that to achieve maximum lamp effectiveness, the light source and luminaire are best designed as an integral unit, each designed specifically to address the unique characteristics of the other.


Although on its face this sort of lamp and luminaire integration might seem to run counter to common sense, after all, replacing a bulb rather than the entire fixture when a lamp reaches the end of its service life would seem more cost effective, this often isn’t the case when it comes to LEDs. The primary reason for this is how quickly the pace of LED development continues to move, and the still considerable potential for advancements to continue well into the future. In short, LEDs designed today might indeed be effective, but by the time they reach the end of their service life they may very well be obsolete or incompatible with more advanced luminaire designs.



The exception to this is the LED bulb, a solid state bulb design intended to act as a direct replacement for standard incandescent light bulbs. Although the technology behind LEDs favors a more comprehensive approach to luminaire design, there are literally hundreds of millions of fixtures out there which require a bulb capable of working within a standard bulb socket. Because of this it is worthwhile for lighting developers to pursue LED bulb designs capable of working with these fixtures. Although there is some performance trade offs and compromises, this does serve to lessen somewhat the impact an abrupt major change in lighting designs would have on the average consumer. It also serves to help facilitate the adoption of LEDs into a wider portion of society, allowing a more gradual acclimation to solid state lighting while encouraging faster realization of its energy and cost saving benefits on a larger scale. Make no mistake however, with industrial and commercial sectors representing the fastest growing segments of the LED lighting markets, the greater focus is going to be on integrated luminaire designs which maximize the potential LEDs hold.  


While on the one hand we are seeing a shift towards an integrated LED lamp/fixture modality, there does exist the potential for a “modular” approach to LED manufacture. This sounds contradictory, but let us explain in a little more detail. While an integrated LED/fixture design is indeed the probable route of future lighting design, the actual totality of an LED based luminaire is based on a combination of several distinct parts or “modules”. LEDs themselves are only represented by the “chip”; the actual semi-conductor chip assembly tasked with converting electrical energy to light. This chip also requires supporting devices that supply it with well regulated current, otherwise known as a “driver”. Then we have to include heat management, which is typically a heat sink designed to carry heat away from the chip. Then we have the optics, which focus and direct the light output, the housing, and any protective lensing or enclosures.
The end result here is a need for several parts to work together in a precise manner, maximizing the performance of each part and working within a common set of operating parameters.


 

For now, most manufacturers have found it easier to design all these parts themselves in house. However, this adds to development costs and stretches development resources across a wider range of devices. Rather than being able to focus only on developing and producing a set of LED emitters, the manufacturer must also develop drivers and optics capable of working with these emitters. Because of this there is a growing consensus that standardization within the LED lighting industry will become necessary. What standardization would allow is for one manufacturer to produce a driver design capable of working with a variety of emitter designs produced by various manufacturers. Thus, LED luminaire developers would be able to focus on one element, utilize supporting modules from other manufacturers, and be able to produce a complete luminaire operating at peak effectiveness without added development expenses.


The big issue here is that there is currently little standardization within the lighting industry when it comes to LED development. Emitter performance parameters, driver characteristics, and optics designs vary widely from one manufacturer to the next, making integration of these disparate assemblies difficult at best. One group known as the Zhaga Consortium is working towards a broader standardization of modules among manufacturers, but this is currently a voluntary endeavor, which means true standardization is still some distance from realization.


One thing that remains certain, the LED has changed the lighting industry on a fundamental level. The future of lighting promises even greater changes as LED technology continues to be developed, and right now the chances are very good that eventually, the need to service and replace lamps will become as obsolete as the incandescent bulb itself.   





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