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Editorial: 2012 - The Year LED Lighting Hit Price Parity
... The wrap up of April and start of May 2012 is proving to be a very interesting time for the LED lighting industry, and looks as though it will mark the point where solid state lighting is has really begun to achieve 'initial cost' price parity with the incumbent...
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2012 - The Year LED Lighting Hit Price Parity

... The wrap up of April and start of May 2012 is proving to be a very interesting time for the LED lighting industry, and looks as though it will mark the point where solid state lighting is has really begun to achieve 'initial cost' price parity with the incumbent...

View the full story at the bottom of the current news page, or if this is a back issue, go here...

Intematix ChromaLit Contour Enables Omni-Directional LED-Based Replacement of Incandescent Light Bulbs
LIGHTimes News Staff

May 10, 2012...Intematix Corporation, a developer of patented phosphors and phosphor components for LED lighting based in Fremont, California USA, announced the availability of ChromaLit™ Contour.  ChromaLit Contour reportedly allows lighting manufacturers to produce omni directional LED-based lights equivalent to 60, 75 and 100 watt incandescent bulbs.   Intematix also offers A Lamp reference designs for these systems.  

Intematix claims that its ChromaLit remote phosphor can reduce LED costs by 25% compared with conventional LED light bulb designs while offering precise color matching and exceptional light quality.  The company says that ChromaLit Contour exceeds Energy Star and China Quality Certification lighting requirements. Intematix points out that ChromaLit Contour offers: uniform, glare-free and diffuse light; 330 degree lighting distribution; standard color rendering options up to CRI 90; a choice of color temperature from 2700K to 5000K; and precise color matching. LIGHTimes SecondPage members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

Neighborhood Sign Gets Updated with Plexineon
LIGHTimes News Staff

May 10, 2012...The San Diego neighborhood of Hillcrest, has had a 25-foot neon sign for more than 70 years. However, recently, the neighborhood updated the sign with LED lighting from Plexineon. The original sign was presented to the community in 1940 as a gift from female shopkeepers, and it was refurbished in 1984. But it was recently retired and replaced by a replica: a new sign created with iLight Plexineon White Series fixtures. The result is a sign that looks like its predecessor, while offering all the benefits of LED technology. The original neon sign was prone to damage. Repairs were costly as well as inconvenient, causing traffic disruption each time the sign required a fix.

“Inevitably a truck or car with a tall antennae would pass under and take out a unit,” said Terry Kitaen, Senior Account Executive at Signtech Electrical Advertising, Inc., the company that performed the repairs. Kitaen suggested duplicating Hillcrest’s classic sign with a new sign offering the bright, nostalgic glow of neon, without the fragility. For the job, he had the perfect product in mind. Kitaen took a sample of Plexineon to a meeting with the Hillcrest neighborhood association. “I pounded a desk with it over and over to show how durable it is,” he said. “They loved it.”“The quality is beautiful. If you didn’t know we replaced the old sign, you would never guess,” Kitaen asserted. 

With the project go-ahead, Signtech worked closely with iLight to ensure the new sign would be a worthy successor to its predecessor. The new sign was ready in time to be unveiled at the neighborhood festival. Kitaen says it looks just as he hoped, with White Plexineon outlining each letter.

Osram Illuminates 2012 European Football Championship
LIGHTimes News Staff

May 10, 2012...

Osram of Germany will installing the latest light technology in four stadiums for the European Football Championship, which is to be held in Poland and Ukraine from June 8 to July 1, 2012. Osram will supply LED lighting solutions for the stadium façade, which is to be used as a gigantic screen. 

"In a stadium, a range of very different lighting situations must be catered to in a small space and these require individual solutions. This is where our competence as a full liner comes into play, enabling us to provide one-stop solutions," said Klaus-Günter Vennemann, CEO of the General Lighting Business Unit at Osram. Along with Warsaw, the stadiums in Gdansk and Kiev will also be equipped with light solutions from Osram. A further one is planned in Lviv.

Some 1,700 LED luminaires from the Osram subsidiary Traxon will light up the shell of the stadium in Poland's national colors of red and white. It will serve as an atmospheric light that is visible from far away.

"We have successfully transformed the façade into a giant screen on which we can display a range of light patterns, match scores and the names of players and goal keepers on the outside of the structure," explained Bogumil Stepan, Managing Director of Osram in Poland.

According to Osram, the segments of the interwoven shell of the building are fitted with dimmable Linear XB 36 LED luminaires which are anchored by specially developed holders. These permit uniform illumination of the individual panels. Osram notes that unique effects can be created in combination with an intelligent light management system. 
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Luminus' New LED Light Engine for Spot Lighting has Embedded Drive Electronics and IP65 Rating
LIGHTimes News Staff

May 10, 2012...Luminus Devices, Inc. announced today the availability of its new MD10 light engine. The MD10 is a fully contained single chip, high lumen density source designed for a variety of indoor and outdoor lighting applications. It is available in 800 and 1100 lumen output levels and color temperatures of 3000K and 4000K. 

The company says that in spot lighting applications, the MD10 can provide over 17,000 candelas into a 9 degree narrow spot beam angle. The MD10 also comes in a choice of other beam angles such as: medium, flood, wide flood, and elliptical. The integrated power conditioning reportedly allows 24VDC power input. The light source also has integrated 0-10V dimming. Luminus says that additionally, the light engine uses on-board smart controls for thermal protection to ensure long life and reliability. LIGHTimes SecondPage members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

NGK Develops GaN Wafer for Ultra High Brightness LEDs
LIGHTimes News Staff

May 8, 2012...NGK Insulators, Ltd. claims has to have developed gallium nitride (GaN) wafers that double luminous efficiency of a LED light source compared to conventional materials. NGK says that its GaN wafers created with its original liquid phase epitaxial growth technology, have low defect density and colorless transparency over the whole wafer surface. NGK says a research institute outside tested the LED fabricated on its GaN wafer. According to NGK the test showed an internal quantum efficiency of 90% and an injection current of 200mA. The company says that LEDs now on the market range from 30 to 40 percent quantum efficiency. Specifically the internal quantum efficiency is the ratio of the number of electrons (current) injected into the LED to the number of photons emitted as light. NGK claims that the GaN wafer achieves a luminous efficiency of 200lm/W, which is twice as efficient as those on the market today. Under the same brightness, this reduces power consumption by 50%. Since the wafer reduces heat generation within LEDs, it lengthens lifetime of LEDs and enables downsizing of lighting equipment.

This month, NGK established a new department named "Wafer Project", aimed at prompt commercializing of wafer products. Within 2012 the Company will launch the shipment of sample products of 4-inch-diameter GaN wafer, which is the world's first 4-inch-diameter GaN wafer produced with the liquid phase epitaxial growth technology. NGK is accelerating the development of GaN wafers with lower defect density and of larger diameter (6 inches). In addition to using the wafers for high brightness LED the company is aiming at the market for for power devices for hybrid cars, electric vehicles and power amplifiers for cellular base stations. The GaN wafer is optimum for such applications, taking advantage of its features including high breakdown voltage, high frequency operation, etc.

Nichia Files a Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Everlight's Subsidiary Zenaro in Germany
LIGHTimes News Staff

May 8, 2012...On April 27, 2012, Nichia Corporation filed a patent infringement lawsuit in Germany at the District Court Düsseldorf against German lighting company, Zenaro Lighting GmbH. Everlight Electronics owns 80 percent of Zenaro Lighting. German distributor REGO-Lighting GmbH owns the remaining 20 percent. A few days previously Nichia filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Everlight at the District Court of Düsseldorf.

In the lawsuit against Zenaro, Nichia is seeking permanent injunction, rendering account, damages, recall and destruction against an office light of Zenaro (product number: OL-Deluxe/QL2/P44/LF/D50/SR/M/CE/ZN) including white LED tubes (product number: SL-Cobra/T5 048DC/C/P10/LF/D50/ZN), which Nichia alleges infringes Nichia's YAG patent EP 936 682 (DE 697 02 929). Nichia seeks to protect its patents and other intellectual property rights and takes actions against alleged infringers in any country where appropriate and necessary.

Nanolumens Expands Production Capacity of Flexible Displays
LIGHTimes News Staff

May 8, 2012...NanoLumens®, of Norcross, Georgia USA, a developer of large format flexible LED display technology, announced that it has entered into a manufacturing agreement with a Georgia based company that will enable it to cost-effectively meet the rapidly growing market demand for its line of flexible and fixed LED displays.  

According to NanoLumens President & CEO, Rick Cope, the company has entered into a contract manufacturing agreement with PartnerTech AB, the owner and operator of an ISO 9001 Certified United States manufacturing center in Lawrenceville, Georgia. PartnerTech AB, headquartered in Vellinge, Sweden, develops and manufactures products on behalf of leading businesses. The company employs approximately 1,300 people at plants in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, the UK, and the United States. LIGHTimes SecondPage members login for more. Guests can view membership details.

Investigators Raid LG Display after Samsung Mobile Display Alleges Technology Theft
LIGHTimes News Staff

May 4, 2012...Investigators raided LG Display's headquarters after Samsung Mobile Display alleged that LG Display stole its technology for large OLED screens, according to a Korean Times article. in the Korean Times article Suwon District Prosecutors revealed that they made the raid to find evidence showing that the LG affiliate attempted to steal technology from Samsung Mobile Display. LG officials said they couldn’t comment on what the investigators searched for because of the ongoing investigation.

A former SMD researcher, identified as Cho, was indicted Wednesday on charges of leaking Samsung’s technology to LG. Cho is one of a dozen former and incumbent SMD researchers and LG Display executives who have been arrested for the technology theft since mid-April. Samsung Mobile Display alleges that Cho tried to get an executive position at LG Display and 190 million won ($168,000) in return for handing over Samsung Mobile Display's technology, called small mask scanning, which allows production of large-sized OLED televisions.

Cho started a consulting firm after retiring from Samsung Mobile Display last year. Samsung also alleges that Cho tried to sell the technology to a Chinese company after failing to land a job at LG Display. SMD claims that because of its market share the damages the firm will incur could reach 30 trillion won for the next five years.

LG Display has maintained that it has different OLED display technology from Samsung and doesn’t need information on Samsung's technology. LG Display indicated that it would sue Samsung for defamation. LG Display officials said they sent SMD a letter last month to protest SMD's alleged spreading of false rumors. The letter claimed that SMD has spread false rumors that LG Display executives systemically stole technology and lured key researchers from Samsung. The letter further claimed that these false rumors damaged the reputation of LG Display and its executives.

SMD officials said that the letter was not worth responding to and that the prosecution’s investigation and court rulings will reveal the truth. SMD also demanded LG Display apologize for the technology theft attempt last month.

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Commentary & Perspective...

2012 - The Year LED Lighting Hit Price Parity
Tom Griffiths - Publisher

May 3, 2012...The wrap up of April and start of May 2012 is proving to be a very interesting time for the LED lighting industry, and looks as though it will mark the point where solid state lighting is has really begun to achieve 'initial cost' price parity with the incumbent technologies, in key applications. In a sense, Cree kicked off the highest profile 'first shot' with its original CR series of LED troffers announced in the 2nd half of 2011. With that product family, the industry saw an 'architectural grade' troffer that came in at about 10% over the price of its fluorescent competitors, while offering some efficiency advantages, and the standard maintenance and controllability benefits that naturally come from a well-designed LED-based luminaire. If you needed to do a lighting retrofit anyway, and you needed it to either be attractive (architectural) or dimmable, there was now an option that filled the bill in that same $200-ish price point. Most competitive LED-based products were still in the $300+ bracket, which was not out of the ballpark, but they did have to deal with a higher burden of demonstrating operating payback to overcome the higher initial cost.

More recently, Lighting Science Group introduced its new LED Roadmaster street light, which they proclaimed to be in cost parity with traditional street lights. Ever the skeptic, a call seemed in order, primarily to establish their opinion of what a traditional street light costs. The answer was clear enough, as their spokesman replied, "right around $250". For anyone unfamiliar with the lighting market, outside of what you see on the shelves of your big-box home improvement retailer, there really isn't "a price" for "a particular" luminaire. The commercial purchaser is looking at packages that could include design help, financing, installation or complex volume discounts, and the LED lighting players understand that and work within those same channels. As a result, you are dealing with the MSRP kind of model at the extreme, meaning its more of a bell curve than fixed price range. So good news, right around $250 is a good answer to price parity with the incumbents.

The announcements continued this week with Cree's new SR series, which are architectural-grade downlights that sit in price parity with with their twin 26-watt fluorescent competitors (or 150W incandescents, which were used where light quality or 'what it looks like when you look up into the can' mattered). Price parity again needs definition, and in a chat with David Elien, VP of Cree Lighting, he pegged those in the $100-$200 general price range. At 80 lm/watt they give a serious butt-kicking to to their competition, bettering the fluorescents by 40-50% in delivered efficiency. We are used to LED lighting making its case with the long lifetime, to help offset what has been a much higher initial cost. You needed the bulb replacement and maintenance costs to factor into the whole picture to get your 2-5 year type of payback. In this case the 75K hour lifetime is just frosting on the already price-competitive cake. Sweet!

Looking more and more like the Dell Computers of lighting (a small-ish company at the outset, looking to become a 'major' against companies that are multi-billions in size in a heavily entrenched market space), Cree didn't stop with the SR. They've also introduced the KR series, which is intended to reach the still more price sensitive spec/contractor-grade market. At 54 lm/watt, and more like a 50K hour lifetime, it's not squeezing the technology quite so hard, which allows it to stand toe-to-toe with the less rigorous 13- to 26-watt fluorescent downlight space, especially when you consider dimming requirements, such as in California's Title-24, where certain 'first switches' are required to turn the lights on to less than 100% brightness. Fluorescents that are happy with that aren't typically going to be the cheap ones.

It's not just the LED lighting pure-plays that are making strides for price-parity. Lithonia announced this week that they have introduced the L-series downlighting modules that are consist of light-engines and trim that are designed to fit into standard 4, 5 and 6-inch cans. No promise on the price (I didn't check with them), but they're big, and not unaware of the market, so I'd guess within 10-15% or less against 'the competition'... being big has some advantages, but that's why we call it an entrenched market. With the recent price plummet we've seen in LED replacement lamps, things haven't stopped with the luminaires. 2011's range of $30 to $100 has collapsed to more like $15 to $50, with the high end being very-very efficient, and the low end being in that 40-50 lm/watt range we see in CFLs (but with the LEDs are often dimmable and usually better light).

While the bulbs won't get all the way there for a few years, when it comes to luminaires/fixtures, 2012 is going to be remembered as the year price parity arrived for LED lighting in the commercial market.

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