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142 TECHNOLOGY / ANNUAL LED ROUND UP


Our LED expert Dr Geoff Archenhold looks back at a year of slowing innovation.


2013: THE YEAR OF MARKET PENETRATION


Over the past ten years I have witnessed the roadmap races from every LED manu- facturer outdoing each other in terms of lu- mens per watt with press releases seeming- ly shouting about new efficacy figures every couple of months. This year there has been a significant reduction in these types of press releases and one has to reflect why? In reality, the lighting market and the SSL community have been fully integrated, with the LED and fixture manufacturers all agreeing LEDs are the main focus for new product development. This has resulted in each part of the supply chain focusing less on technical breakthroughs and much more on value engineering. Thus, LED manufac- turers are focusing on improving LED die yields, reducing substrate and production costs to ensure fixtures are less expensive and market volume is driven upwards. In practice, once LED has reached a certain lumen per watt and the colour consisten- cy and quality are adequate then who is bothered if an LED reached 160lm/W or 175lm/W, however if you can purchase a mid-power LED for USD0.12 and then at USD0.08 that’s a big deal! What’s really exciting is technology is only now disrupting the market place and rumours are rife of traditional companies that didn’t act fast enough getting into liquidity problems or young companies being snapped up by the corporate goliaths as fu- ture market strategies play out. This means it’s going to be a really exciting 2014 for the industry and I am sure you will see the start of a consolidation period with a raft of mergers and acquisitions. I strongly believe 2014 is going to be a very exciting year for the lighting industry and the first year of true market-wide technolo- gy innovation. If you hadn’t already figured it out, LEDs were never really the disruptive technology; after all they are only anoth- er light source but combining digital LEDs with advanced sensors, control systems and complex artificial intelligence algorithms they should reduce the need for separate


segments in the marketplace. For example, why would you need a controls company when the controls are integrated directly into LED drivers? The larger players in the lighting market have seen that electronics and integrated controls are key to the future of lighting so have started to act eg; Acuity Brands’ acquisition of LED driver manufacturer EldoLED and Efore’s purchasing of Roal Electronics. Despite the slowdown in innovation in 2013 there have been some interesting break- throughs especially in new substrate materi- als such as the GaN-on-GaN technology from Soraa and the GaN-on-Silicon technology from Plessey in the UK, both of which have made successful levels of progress. Finally, a couple of years ago I highlighted the po- tential of Visual Light Communications and this year we have seen major breakthroughs in this technology with an announcement from several UK Universities (see http:// www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24711935) showing data transmission speeds up to 10Gbps which is 666 times faster than the UK’s average broadband speed! Although this is research a spin-out company called pureVLC in the UK has achieved working systems on standard LED lighting fixtures at up to 5Mbps (see http://youtu.be/seDIrDn- hbdo) and are already offering development kits to selective partners. As 2014 is Light + Building year we will see a raft of new technologies and smart fixtures launched however, let’s look at a selection of the breakthroughs made in 2013.


JANUARY 2013 Cree: announces the industry’s highest-ef- ficacy LED downlight, the LR6-10L six-inch LED downlight. The LR6-10L delivers 1000 lumens of exceptional 90+ CRI light while achieving 90 lumens per watt. The break- through performance was achieved by combining the high efficacy and high-quality light of Cree TrueWhite Technology with an integrated driver, enabling energy savings


of up to 50 percent compared to incumbent CFL technology or 30 percent compared to competing LED products. Using only 11 watts of power, the new LR6-10L downlight is ideal for use in new or retrofit commer- cial applications. The high-performance fixture is available in colour temperatures to match existing installations of incandes- cent, halogen and fluorescent technologies (2700K, 3000K, 3500K and 4000K, and features a 10-year warranty. Philips: launches its third generation of the Fortimo LED SLM system focussing on the retail lighting marketing. The new genera- tion comes with the latest Chip-On-Board (CoB) LED technology creating a powerful, compact and uniform light source for excel- lent beam control and small beam angles. The SLM Gen3 modules produce high quality of light and deliver an energy efficiency performance of over 100lm/W at the system level within normal application conditions. The Fortimo LED SLM Gen3 system can operate up to a Tc-point of 75C and its decreased thermal load enables improved efficiency. The small Light Emitting Surface (LES) creates the tightest beam angles and delivers the highest brightness. Seoul Semiconductor: along with Verba- tim, introduces halogen-replacement lamps with new LED chip technology, “nPola” utililising gallium nitride (GaN) substrates from Verbatim’s parent company Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation for GaN epitaxial growth, replacing sapphire or silicon carbide substrates. Seoul Semiconductor’s patent- ed nPola minimises defects in the active layer and allows LED chip current densities five to ten times higher than conventional LED chips. Consequently, five to ten times brighter light output can be realised from the same chip size. Sharp: introduces the new generation of Mega Zenigata COB LED series featuring increased efficiency of up to 108lm/W, with higher luminous flux up to 4780 lm (typical- ly) accompanied by high CRI values of up to 93 (typically). (Fig 1)


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