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Editorial: What We Can and What We Still Cannot Do with LEDs
... In recent years, the LED makers have raised the bar on performance of their LED chips and modules. One of the biggest changes has been in lumens per dollar. In both the high-power and mid-power LED chips and modules. Cree, Osram, and Philips have been at the forefront of...
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For the latest news dedicated to LEDs in general lighting, tune to Solid State Lighting Design. Applications updates, the latest luminaires and wins, subsystems and componentry in support of lighting in and around the built environment, it's all there!

What We Can and What We Still Cannot Do with LEDs

... In recent years, the LED makers have raised the bar on performance of their LED chips and modules. One of the biggest changes has been in lumens per dollar. In both the high-power and mid-power LED chips and modules. Cree, Osram, and Philips have been at the forefront of...

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

Cree Files Patent Infringement Lawsuits Against Havatek and Kingbright
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 17, 2014...Durham, North Carolina-based Cree Inc. has filed patent infringement lawsuits in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The lawsuits aim to prevent Harvatek Corporation and Kingbright Corporation from allegedly infringing Cree’s patents. Among other things, these patents protect Cree’s LED component portfolio, including Cree’s white light LEDs.

The Cree patents included in the lawsuits are: U.S. patent # 6,600,175, # 7,943,945, and U.S. Patent # 8,659,034, which are all titled "Solid state white light emitter and display using same". The lawsuits also include Cree's U.S. Patent # 7,910,938 and # 8,766,298, which are both titled, "Encapsulant profile for light emitting diodes". The sixth Cree patent included in the lawsuits is U.S. patent # 8,362,605 titled, "Apparatus and method for use in mounting electronic elements".

“Cree continues to invest significant resources in developing industry-leading technologies, and it’s paramount that we protect the investment of our current licensees, shareholders and customers,” said Brad Kohn, Cree general counsel.

EPA's Energy Star 1.0 Specification to Go Into Effect September 30; EPA Publishes 1.1 Specification
SSL Design News Staff

September 18, 2014...The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a finalized version of the Energy Star Lamps 1.1 specification. The EPA also issued a reminder that the Energy Star Lamps V1.0 specification will replace the Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) V4.3 and Integral LED Lamps V1.4 specifications on September 30, 2014.

In a letter to Energy Star Lighting Stakeholders, the EPA reported the finalized changes to the Lamps 1.0 specification, which are reflected in the Lamps 1.1 specification. Based upon stakeholder feedback, the EPA says it modified the diameter to length ratio requirement for globe lamps from .9 to .8. This is apparently the only change. The EPA says that partners may begin certifying to Version 1.1 requirements immediately, and notes that currently certified products are not affected, besides any products excluded based on the clarification of decorative globes ratio change

The EPA also updated its lamp center beam candle power (CBCP) calculator and its TM-21 LED extended life projections.

Excelitas Technologies® Unveils New OmniCure® AC8 Series UV LED Curing Solutions
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 18, 2014...Excelitas Technologies Corp. launched its new OmniCure® AC8 Series UV LED Curing Systems. According to the company, this latest addition to the AC Series of UV LED Curing solutions features enhanced process control, superior optical uniformity, and ease of integration. The systems support the curing of inks, adhesives and coatings. The AC8 series allows multiple LED heads to be adjoined to create a larger curing area. The company says that the ability to adjoin the LED heads increase the system’s flexibility without compromising output uniformity.

Excelitas says that it specifically designed these new high power, air-cooled UV curing systems with small form factors for applications in industrial, medical, and electronics manufacturing including print, conformal coatings, touch panel/display, and solar panels.

The OmniCure AC8150/AC8150P, AC8225/AC8225P, and AC83000 systems have custom front-end optics to deliver uniform, high powered, high peak irradiance at different working distances. According to the company, the AC8 Series employs a patented process to control individual UV LED module outputs and ensure uniformity over the curing area. Precise control of the UV irradiance level ensures consistent and reliable irradiance with the correct amount of UV light provided with every exposure. The company asserts that the air-cooled design with a small form factor enables system upgrades with minimal disruption and seamless integration into new or existing production lines.

“In keeping with our commitment to deliver innovative UV curing solutions, we are excited to offer the new OmniCure AC8 Series,” said Oliver Scheuss, vice president, Solid State Lighting and UV/Microscopy for Excelitas Technologies. “Excelitas strives to develop products to help customers be more productive and cost efficient. The OmniCure AC8 Series helps do just that by increasing throughput for a wide range of applications in the curing of inks, adhesive and coatings.”

The UV curing solutions in the OmniCure® product family will be showcased at The Assembly Show in Rosemount, IL at the Excelitas booth #1424 from October 28-30, 2014; MD&M in Minneapolis, MN booth #641 from October 29-30, 2014; and IWCS in Providence, RI, booth #230 from November 10-11, 2014.

Next Generation Luminaires™ Design Competition Winners Announced
SSL Design News Staff

September 18, 2014...At the LED Show in Los Angeles, the winners of the sixth annual Next Generation Luminaires (NGL) Solid-State Lighting Design Competition were announced. The winners included 57 commercial LED indoor lighting products recognized for excellence. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the International Association of Lighting Designers, and Illuminating Engineering Society of North America sponsored the NGL competition since its launch in 2008 to "promote excellence in the design of energy-efficient LED luminaires for general illumination in commercial lighting applications."

The competitors of the 2014 NGL competition showed a marked increase in efficacy. More than half of the Recognized products achieved efficacies at least 20% above the DesignLights Consortium® minimum. Ten products exceeded 100 lm/W efficacy. Judges found significant improvement in glare control and gave generally high ratings for illuminance, color, and light distribution. However, judges remained seriously concerned about serviceability. The greatest number of competition entries came in the pendant, recessed troffer, and high-ceiling categories. The competition had an increase in the number of decorative entries. While most of the entries provided optional dimming, constraints on equipment, facilities, and time limited the judges’ evaluation of dimming performance.

The goal of NGL is to make it easier for lighting designers and specifiers to find LED lighting products that are worthy of specification. Therefore, recognized products have to measure up on many metrics. A panel of ten judges from drawn from the architectural lighting community evaluated entries and were scored them on illuminance, color, glare control, light distribution, appearance, value, and serviceability. The judges based the lumen maintenance and luminous efficacy ratings on LM79, LM80, and TM21 data that the manufacturers submitted to DOE’s LED Lighting Facts® program.

The LED technology and product designs have improved over the past few years. The NGL Competition made its requirements increasingly demanding in order to ensure that only the best products were even qualified to be judged.

“Any product that earns the recognition of the NGL judges has to be pretty special,” said DOE Solid-State Lighting Program Manager Jim Brodrick. “They’re a tough audience – impossible to fool and hard to please.”

A total of 266 products were proposed for submission to the 2014 NGL indoor competition. Of these, 153-an increase of more than 50% over 2013 – made it to the judging phase with complete documentation and market-ready samples. The documentation included luminaire and component specification sheets, LM-79 test reports, lumen maintenance projections, warranty statements, and marketing materials. The documents, which were mostly submitted through LED Lighting Facts, help ensure that actual performance matches product claims.

The judging took place at the facilities of Intelligent Lighting Creations in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Judges examined all 153 products over the course of three days in their characteristic installations, including varying ceiling conditions and mounting heights.

The judges identified 57 products as Recognized, for being worthy of specification in the application for which they were designed. Of the 57 recognized products, four were given the additional designation of Best in Class for standing out above all the other indoor products entered in 2014. Four additional products, which were not yet on the market at the time of the judging and were not among the Recognized products, were designated as Emerging, for being noteworthy for their possibilities. This year, judges gave special acknowledgement to 10 Recognized products that also demonstrated high efficacy, and to eight Recognized products that demonstrated superior serviceability.

Luminaires from four different manufacturers covering four areas of lighting were awarded Best in Class. Best in Class winners included Koncept's Mosso Pro LED desk lamp; Finelite, Inc.'s Series 11LED Micro Profile family of cove mounted luminaires; Cree, Inc.'s LS Series utility luminaire; and Acuity Brands® – Mark Architectural Lighting's Slot 2 & 4 LED – Direct and Bi-Direct family of surface mounted and pendant linear luminaires.

DOE Publishes Latest Energy Savings Forecast of Solid-State Lighting
SSL Design News Staff

September 16, 2014...The United Stated Department of Energy (DOE) has published a new report predicting the energy savings of LED-based white-light sources compared with conventional white-lighting. The sixth version of the Energy Savings Forecast of Solid-State Lighting in General Illumination Applications compares the lighting energy consumed annually in the U.S. with and without further adoption of LED lighting.

The report projects that by 2030, LEDs lighting will save an estimated 40% compared to conventional light sources. At the current market adoption trajectory, LED lighting is projected to reach 48 percent of the lumen-hour sales of the general illumination market by 2020, and 84 percent by 2030.

By 2030 savings from LED lighting is expected to total 3.0 quads (261 TWh) in that year alone, for more than $26 billion at today's energy prices. The report points out that is equivalent to the total energy consumed by almost 24 million U.S. homes today.

If the DOE reaches its ambitious goals for LED price and efficacy, LED lighting will attain about 68 percent of market share in lumen-hour sales in 2020 and over 90% in 2030. The report forecasts that attaining these goals would create additional energy savings of 20 percent in 2030 alone for a 60 percent total decrease in lighting energy consumption compared to the LED lighting penetration at its current levels.

Cree Announces New High Power LEDs with Lowest System Cost
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 16, 2014...Cree, Inc. has reexamined the formula for calculating the costs of LED modules and LED lighting. The company noted that while previously, an LED was the most expensive piece of the lighting puzzle, the LED currently makes up only about 30 percent of the total cost. Cree pointed out recently that other components such as the heat sink, the driver, and optics are also high in proportion of total cost, and modules that reduce these costs can save money.

Based upon these ideas of cost savings without compromising performance, the company has introduced the XLamp® MH-B LED, a new generation of high power LEDs. Cree claims that the XLamp MH-B delivers better performance and a more effective way to achieve low-cost systems than mid-power (MP) LEDs. According to Cree this reduction comes from the reduction in the heat sink size and cost as well as a reduction in the required number of LEDs and the size and number of optics.

The MH-B LED employs Cree’s high reliability ceramic package technology, the enables it to operate at higher temperatures than mid-power LEDs with no reduction in rated lifetime. Cree says that the ability to operate at higher temperatures enables a 60 percent reduction in heat sink size and cost. Also, because each LED is brighter and smaller, an LED module can use up to 26 times fewer LED chips than MP LEDs to achieve the same level of performance. Cree reportedly optimized the XLamp MH-B to simplify LED system designs for applications currently using multiple mid-power LEDs.

“Cree has once again invented a lighting-optimized solution that can lower my costs and decrease manufacturing times,” said Frank Chen, technical director, Zhejiang Shenghui Lighting Co., Ltd. and Sengled Optoelectronics Co., Ltd. “While chip-on-board LEDs are an attractive alternative to MP LEDs in terms of reliability and cost, they aren’t compatible with my automated manufacturing processes. The new XLamp® MH-B LED finally gives me a more reliable alternative to mid-power LEDs – I no longer have to compromise my brand and reputation to achieve a lower system cost.”

The XLamp MH-B has a small 5-mm by 5-mm light emitting surface and features Cree’s EasyWhite® technology. Cree points out that the XLamp MH-B offers simpler optics, tighter beam angles, easier color consistency, and a more traditional appearance. As a single LED, the XLamp MH-B LED provides up to 830 lumens at 175 mA and 37 Volts This translates to efficacy of about 118 lm/W. It can also be used in arrays for higher lumen applications such as downlights, high bays, and outdoor area lights.

“The new XLamp® MH-B LED combines the reliability and manufacturability of Cree’s high power LEDs with the simplicity and performance of our CXA LED arrays,” said Paul Thieken, director of marketing, LED components. “MH-B introduces a new technology platform that gives customers the best of both technologies, while avoiding the limitations of mid-power LEDs.”

The XLamp MH-B LED comes in correlated color temperatures of 2700K – 6500K with high color rendering index options. Product samples are available now and production quantities are available with standard lead times.

Massive Attack Tours with XL Video LED Displays
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 16, 2014...XL Video supplied LED screens and d3 media servers for Massive Attack’s recent festival tour. The tour featured a video concept co-designed by UVA and Icarus Wilson-Wright. Massive Attack is well known for their use of video to reinforce their music’s message and immerse audience members in its visceral live shows.

For over a decade, the band has been developing their own distinctive text-based style of video content since they first incorporated it into their show. The group can translate the text into the local language/s for each show.

Phil Mercer and Steve Ackein managed the project. The initial brief for the tour’s video design specified that it should be flexible and have high impact for a mix of festivals and own show headliners. The band wanted the screen to be semi-transparent and through-lit from behind.

Wilson Wright explained that they decided to use XL’s new Radiant MC-7T black-face 7mm resolution for its good resolution, light weight and the fact that it is very dark when off.

The display stays lurking in the shadows. Each screen measures 4.2 meters wide by 1.2 meters high, offering 560 x 160 pixels. The XL designed the system to be configured in a standard 6-screen format on two levels and be expandable up to nine screens on three levels. The screens were designed to independently rotate louvre style to produce different architecture and shapes behind the band during the performance. The media server controlled the rotation.

XL devised a series of stepper motors that powered an axle-based system. The d3 media server controlled the motors which allowed 180 degrees of travel.

Two pins attached each axle to the screen support structures, and two different sets of support structures were toured for maximum flexibility depending on the venue or gig. One support structure was based on a scissor mechanism and an aluminum option which utilized motors to lift the louvers.

Wilson-Wright ran the d3 server from FOH. They took in timecode there and sent the signal down a DVI fibre link to the screen processors onstage, and via a MOXA box, data was distributed to the screens. The show’s video content was newly commissioned by UVA, with Wilson-Wright looking after re-editing some of the ‘heritage’ items from the band’s extensive digital archive and also creating some new material. All the time he worked in close collaboration with Lighting Designer Tim Oliver to optimize the different live show looks with lighting and the screen louvers as they moved into different positions.

UVA created a custom grid software module for the d3, upon which text and graphics can be placed and then scaled and sized to maintain complete pixel integrity without aliasing or blurring. Massive Attack’s show video allows multi-lingual text translations including Cyrillic and Chinese characters. With bi and tri-lingual shows the norm, current local and world events and issues can be fully integrated and communicated to the audience in the performance’s context.

Natural Light at Offices Improves Sleep Quality of Workers at Night
LIGHTimes News Staff

September 16, 2014...A new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwester Medicine found that office workers with more sunlight exposure at the office had longer sleep duration, better sleep quality. Additionally, they had higher levels of physical activity and an overall better quality of life in terms of vitality and health compared to office workers with less natural light exposure in the workplace.

Employees with windows in their offices received 173 percent more white light exposure during work hours. They reported sleeping an average of 46 minutes more per night than employees who were not exposed to natural light at the office. Workers in offices with windows also tended to report more physical activity than those without windows.

In the study, workers without windows reported poorer scores on quality of life measures that relate to vitality and physical problems in addition to poorer outcomes in terms of overall sleep quality and sleep disturbances. The study was detailed in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine in June.

“There is increasing evidence that exposure to light, during the day --particularly in the morning -- is beneficial to your health via its effects on mood, alertness and metabolism,” said the study’s lead author, Phyllis Zee, M.D., a Northwestern Medicine neurologist and sleep specialist. “Workers are a group at risk because they are typically indoors often without access to natural or even artificial bright light for the entire day. The study results confirm that light [exposure] during the natural daylight hours has powerful effects on health.”

“Architects need to be aware of the importance of natural light not only in terms of their potential energy savings but also in terms of affecting occupants’ health,” said co-lead author Mohamed Boubekri, an associate professor of architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Boubekri noted that one simple design solution could help make sure that workstations are within 20 to 25 feet of the peripheral walls containing windows. ”Daylight from side windows almost vanishes after 20 to 25 feet from the windows,” he said.

The study included 49 day-shift office workers; 27 of which were in windowless workplaces, and 22 were in workplaces with windows. Study participants filled out form reporting on their quality of life and sleep quality. The researchers evaluated the forms with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Actigraphy measured sleep, light exposure and activity in a representative subset of 21 participants including 10 in windowless workplaces and 11 in workplaces with windows.

Actigraphy is a device worn on the wrist that measures light exposure as well as activity and sleep and keeps a record of it. The researchers used the motion to determine activity levels while awake and to calculate sleep time. The researchers also determined luminance as a measure of light exposure during the workday.

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Commentary & Perspective...

What We Can and What We Still Cannot Do with LEDs
Scott McMahan - SSLDesign News Editor

September 11, 2014...In recent years, the LED makers have raised the bar on performance of their LED chips and modules. One of the biggest changes has been in lumens per dollar. In both the high-power and mid-power LED chips and modules. Cree, Osram, and Philips have been at the forefront of this trend. It has always been possible to put more LEDs together to get more lumens total output. Constraints of production cost have made adding lots of LED chips somewhat prohibitive in many applications. In certain applications such as spotlights, the form factor desired makes having a single LED chip the best solution.

The industry has convincingly produced LED-based replacements for most incandescent bulbs that offer a valuable return on investment. Some of these even have high CRI of more than 90.

Companies have also begun making single LEDs and multi-chip LED modules with tighter beam angles. Cree has taken the lead in this realm. Cree went so far as to suggest its own metric called Optical Control Factor. (See Guest Editorial).

Optical Control Factor (OCF) is a suggested metric created by Cree that goes beyond lumen density to include the number of lumens over the total light emitting area of multiple chips (minus a certain control factor for overlap). According to Paul Scheidt at Cree, “OCF can be simply described as the ratio of lumens over a scaled area, measured in square millimeters:

For a chip-on-board array, scaled area means the area of the light emitting surface (i.e., pi x radius-squared for a circle).

For a discrete LED, such as Cree’s recent high-density XLamp® XP-L LED, scaled area means adding 0.5 mm to each side of the package and then calculating the area.”

Scheidt points out that in a recent DOE CALiPER report, only one LED-based MR16 lamp was equivalent to its halogen equivalent in terms of lumens output, light distribution and CRI. Only 10 percent of MR16 had the required 90+ CRI.

Scheidt further notes that LEDs are even further from being able to comparatively replace 50W directional ceramic metal halide-based MR16 lamps because the 50W metal halide MR16s have even better performance than 50 Watt halogens.

Scheidt said, “... 100 percent adoption of LED technology isn’t going to happen for indoor directional lighting until we, as an industry, can crack the code on controlling beams of LED light as well as halogen or CMH lights can.”

Cree came out with its new replacement for 50 Watt halogen MR16 lamps. However, this lamp is still not truly equivalent to the higher lumen 50 CMH MR16 lamps (See article). You can bet that Cree and others are working on it. Osram and Philips have also been making inroads in this area with the release of LED light engines designed for higher CRI and spot lights. While, LED lighting has come a long way in its capabilities, it still has some way to go to replace all conventional lighting applications including high CRI and directional luminaires.

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