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2014-08-20
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Editorial: The Light We Do, and Don't, Want
 
... In a mostly annual trek into parts mostly unknown (to us, anyway) to see what is going on with lighting in the real world, we were struck two things. 1) There still isn't all that much of the light we want, and 2) There is still a lot of...
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Commentary...
The Light We Do, and Don't, Want

 
... In a mostly annual trek into parts mostly unknown (to us, anyway) to see what is going on with lighting in the real world, we were struck two things. 1) There still isn't all that much of the light we want, and 2) There is still a lot of...

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

Mid-Power LEDs to Comprise 48 Percent of Packaged LED Revenue in 2014, IHS Predicts
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 19, 2014...The 2014 lighting end market is expected to comprise about 35 percent of all revenues from packaged LEDs, according to IHS. IHS points at that for the first time, the end lighting market for packaged LEDs is greater than the market for packaged LEDs in all backlighting combined. In 2013, backlighting and Lighting each accounted for 31 percent of market revenue, IHS indicated. IHS forecasts that Mid-power devices will make up about 48 percent of packaged LED revenue in lighting applications in 2014 and 81 percent of units sold.

The market has changed drastically in recent years. Back in 2010, high power LEDs such as 1-watt devices dominated the market, IHS noted. In the west, the percentage of revenue from mid power LEDs is lower. IHS found that in Asia however, the percentage is higher. The company points out that numerous Chinese suppliers that sell LEDs to their large domestic market primarily produce mid-power LEDs.

From 2011 to 2013, the market for mid-power LEDs grew rapidly. IHS says that this rapid growth was driven by the attractive dollar-per-lumen ratio and the availability packaged LEDs previously used for backlighting. South Korean companies such as Seoul Semiconductor and Samsung initially led this trend. However, mid power LEDs are an essential part of the packaged LED portfolios of most global companies now. Other suppliers such as Cree, Lumileds, and Nichia have followed the trend, IHS says.

While Cree is the largest provider of packaged LEDs in lighting applications. Philips Lumileds is a close second. Despite this, competition from Asian companies has increased in last few years in lighting applications.

During 2015 and beyond, IHS predicts that the share of mid-power will continue to increase. Also according to IHS, the proportion of chip-on-board (COB) LEDs of the packaged LED market is growing and playing an increasingly important role because companies are designing completed lighting products for a wider variety of target end markets. IHS says that high-power LEDs are still popular in areas such as street lighting and should retain a strong presence in the market.

Excluding lighting, the rest of the LED market is almost completely flat from year–to-year. IHS predicts that the rest of the packaged LED market will remain flat until 2019. The lighting market, led by mid-power LEDs, will drive the growth, IHS contends.

Daktronics to Acquire European Display Company Focused on Transportation Market
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 19, 2014...Brookings, South Dakota-based LED display company, Daktronics, recently agreed to purchase Data Display, a transportation focused display company that has manufacturing and engineering capabilities in Ireland. Data Display has served customers across the European Union and United States.

Under the terms of the agreement, Daktronics will retain Data Display's workforce of manufacturing, engineering, service, and sales teams. Data Display is headquartered in Ireland and includes a modern, ISO 9001:2008 certified manufacturing facility with 60,000 square feet (5.575 square meters) of space in County Clare, Ireland. Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Data Display has focused on the mass transit industry for more than 30 years. The company offers electronic displays for real-time passenger information (RTPI) in bus and tram networks and provides customer information systems (CIS) for railway networks. According to Daktronics, Data Display has built a strong business in Europe and brings a complementary customer base, skilled workforce and valuable mass transit sector experience.

Daktronics CEO Reece Kurtenbach noted, "We believe Daktronics and Data Display complement each other well. Daktronics is active in the transportation business, mainly in the United States, and we have a global presence with offices and people in many countries, currently focused on sports, third-party advertising and video solutions. Adding the strengths of Data Display will allow our combined organizations to better serve transportation customers world-wide and broaden our leadership position on a global scale. Daktronics looks forward to further expanding its customer and market focus in Europe and surrounding areas."

DRSA Wins Contracts to Refit Yauchts with LED lighting
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 19, 2014...DRSA, a supplier of marine LED lighting, recently secured more than 12 major contracts to refit yachts ranging between 100 and 175 with LED lighting. According to DRSA, refitting yachts with LED lighting that have dimming capabilities is now in high demand because the technology for LED lighting has finally made its way to the yacht industry.

We have dramatically increased our focus on designing, creating and sourcing LED light products over the past year as we have seen significants benefits in the marine industry, said DRSA president Cathy Smith. LED lights are smaller in size, brighter in appearance and lower in heat emissions. Also, we have now been able to identify solutions to properly dim LED lights on board, so anyone with a yacht going thru a refit - or a used build - is well advised to look at these alternatives, Smith added. For more than 25 years, DRSA has designed, developed, manufactured, and imported luminaires, light bulbs and LEDs to illuminate entire vessels from bow to stern.

DRSA will be showcasing its products at the International Boatbuilders Exhibition and conference (IBEX) 2014, September 30-October 2 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.

Daktronics Installs Lagest Ever Display at Ector County ISD High School
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 19, 2014...Daktronics supplied and installed the largest display that it has ever installed at the high school level for Ratliff Stadium of Ector County ISD (ECISD). Ratliff Stadium in Odessa, Texas is home to Odessa High School as well as Permian High School of "Friday Night Lights" fame. The company also recently installing the largest display in college football at Texas A&M University's Kyle Field and the largest display in professional football at the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Daktronics notes that ECISD's new display is one of the largest in all of high school sports. The display with a 15HD pixel layout measures about 27 feet high by 50 feet wide, a little more than 1,330 square feet. It's size makes it larger than displays at three professional stadiums including the New Orleans Saints, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders.

Daktronics originally installed the district's previous video display in 2005 that was less than 400 square feet. This display is still being used in the stadium. ECISD is apparently the only high school in the nation that uses two two displays with full video capability for a combined 1700 total square feet of video space.

The Daktronics Sports Marketing team helped ECISD secure 1.2 million dollars of equipment and and more than 2 million dollars in ad contracts over ten years. With the assistance, the district was able to pay off the existing equipment, which will stay where it is. The district is also expected to pay off the new equipment two years sooner. Any revenue generated above obligations is returned to the district.

If you are interested in advertising at Ratliff Stadium, contact Michael Vogelaar at 432-235-0103.

Cree Posts 43 Percent Increase in Annual Net Income
SSL Design News Staff

August 14, 2014...Durham, North Carolina-based Cree, Inc., posted revenues of $436 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 which ended June 29, 2014. . This is 16 percent higher than the $375 million reported for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, and an 8% increase compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2014. The company's total revenue for fiscal year 2014 increased 19 percent from $1.39 billion in fiscal year 2013 to $1.65 billion in fiscal year 2014. GAAP net income rose 43 percent to $124 million from 87 million during the previous fiscal year. Cree generated $319 million of operating cash flow and $121 million of free cash flow during fiscal 2014.

"Fiscal 2014 was another great year, as we achieved record revenue and grew our non-GAAP net income by over 30%," stated Chuck Swoboda, Cree Chairman and CEO. "The strength of our operating model gives us the flexibility to make investments to support our goal to grow the business and increase operating margin. Our new product pipeline, brand momentum and strong balance sheet put us in a great position to enable our long-term customer goal of 100% upgrade to LED lighting."

Notable recent projects for the company included replacing 2,000 high-pressure sodium streetlights for the city of San Luis Obispo, California, illuminating a Walgreens location in Goodyear, Arizona, and collaborating with Musco Lighting to transform the San Francisco to Oakland Bay Bridge. The company also launched several new products such as the OSQ Area luminaire, the XLamp XP-L LED, and the LED T8 Series.

Cree is targeting revenues of $440 to $465 million for the first fiscal quarter of 2015 ending September 28, 2014.

SemiLEDs Launches Complete 80mil EV LED Chip Family
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 14, 2014...SemiLEDs of Chunan, Taiwan has begun sampling and made available in high volume, a complete line of 80x80mil rugged metal LED chips, including blue, UV, and white varieties. A single member of the EV-80mil family can typically replace four 40x40mil LED chips and minimize shadow effects and color fringing, which are common among multi-chip devices. The EV family combines a vertical LED architecture with rugged copper-alloy substrates. has proven to be especially. SemiLEDs asserts that the EV family is ideal for handling the large-chip implementation and their increased thermal and electrical demands.

Mark Tuttle, General Manager for SemiLEDs Optoelectronics Co., Ltd., commented, “Applications in commercial and residential lighting, along with UV industrial applications, share the common challenge of achieving high output in compact form-factors, in the most cost-effective manner. SemiLEDs’ unique vertical-metal architectures allow these devices to be driven hard, without compromising either their stability or reliability, allowing packagers and integrators to deliver maximum optical power from extremely small package or chip-on-board footprints.” Mr. Tuttle continued, “The EV-80mil line is also able to deliver substantial versatility, including die-level white options that incorporate SemiLEDs’ proprietary ReadyWhite™ phosphor coating technology, which minimizes blue-leakage and delivers impressive levels of color uniformity with tight binning options for low-profile and multi-color white packaged LEDs.”

The new EV-80mil ReadyWhite™ chips employ the company's proprietary phosphor technology. At 3A chips in a typical 5x5mm ceramic package, can reportedly provide up to 1200 lumens. They chips come in correlated color temperatures (CCTs) ranging from 2600 to 10,000K, and after packaging, they have color rendering indices from a minimum 65 to a minimum of 90.

SemiLEDs’ ReadyWhite™ solutions when combined with the company's vertical LED chip architecture, deliver a package-ready white chip to single- or multi-die or COB packaging applications. The company claims that its ReadyWhite phosphor technology eliminates the need for costly phosphor manufacturing technology. At currents below 1.0A, the 80mil ReadyWhite chips offer up to 145 cool white lumens per watt in typical package configurations and are suited for outdoor street or area lighting, or heavy duty flashlights/torches.

The 80mil blue chips come in standard wavelengths ranging from 445 to 460nm, with wavelength options up to 470nm available upon request. The chips in typical ceramic packaging provide up to 4000mW of optical power at 450nm. SemiLED says that single-chip implementations of the ReadyWhite and blue chips are ideal for kilolumen applications requiring a narrow beam pattern because of their simplified optics and compact emitter sizes such as MR/GU/PAR spotlights, projectors, and automotive front lighting.

“While much of the news in the LED industry is focused on general lighting, there is an incredible amount of innovation going on in the industrial and medical arenas,” Mr. Tuttle continued. “The 80mil UV solution from SemiLEDs allows tremendous power per square millimeter for high output-density industrial requirements. Applications ranging from spot curing to 3D printing and fiber optic coupled systems, as well as completely new applications, are all benefitting from the increased optical control that is enabled by solid state solutions such as SemiLEDs single-die 80mil series,” he said.

The UV 80mil is available in wavelengths ranging from 360 to 420nm. At 3A in typical ceramic packages, the UV 80mil has optical outputs up to 4000mW. The UV LED is for industrial applications, such as spot curing of inks, polymers, and adhesives, 3D printing, and fiber optic coupled systems. The design of the 80mil enables an 8-10W single chip point source, eliminating the need for sophisticated optical designs to collimate light and avoiding dark gaps that are inherent with using multiple smaller chips. The single chip design enables varying the beam patterns through secondary optics, maximizes delivered UV optical power across the target areas, and increases UV exposure consistency. SemiLEDs’ EV-80mil LED chips are RoHS compliant with production quantities available now.

AUO to Begin Making 1.6-inch AMOLED Panels in Q4 of 2014

August 14, 2014...AU Optronics (AUO) plans to begin producing 1.6-inch AMOLED panels for smart wearable devices in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to a Digitimes article. Since 2011, the company has been developing small- to medium-size OLED panels. It has provided 5.5-inch Full HD and 5-inch HD panels used in smartphones for Taiwan- and China-based vendors.

In related news, the Japanese government has sponsored Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), Japan Display, Panasonic, and Sony will jointly invest JPY20 billion (US$196 million) to set up an OLED panel production in 2015 and begin volume production in 2018. While, Samsung Display currently boasts about 90% of the global market for small- to medium-size OLED panels, AUO asserts that AMOLED panel market may take off when more companies compete.

Quirky to Market Yoga Mat with Integrated Pressure Sensors and LEDs to Aid in Yoga Instruction
LIGHTimes News Staff

August 13, 2014...An invention marketing company called Quirky has created an interactive yoga mat. Quirky is tentatively calling the product Beacon. The yoga mat has integrated LEDs and pressure sensors. The mat gives feedback in the form colored LEDs. For example, the LEDs can emit green light around a person's hands on the mat if the person has balanced the weight distribution on their hands properly.

The Interactive Yoga Mat, which its inventors first referred to as Glow, came out of a 2009 Product Engineering class for seniors at MIT. Molly Duffy and her team at MIT came up with a prototype of Glow as part of the class's 'Be Well' theme.

The company says that Beacon provides instruction and feedback for a customized yoga experience. Further feedback comes from a laptop or cellphone app that works with the mat. The company claims that with the help of the mat's sensors, LEDs, and the smartphone app, users can get much of the same instruction that they might get one-on-one from a master yogi. Also according to Quirky, the mat and app enable a completely personalized Yoga workout, allowing the user to perform a single pose or a series of poses.

The LEDs can show users exactly where to put their hands and feet. Initially, the LEDs glow purple to show the user where to position themselves. The LEDs glow red to reveal areas that are getting too much pressure and green when the user is accurately positioned. The device communicates with the app via Bluetooth or USB cable and has a rechargeable battery for extended use.

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Commentary & Perspective...

The Light We Do, and Don't, Want
Commentary Staff

August 14, 2014...In a mostly annual trek into parts mostly unknown (to us, anyway) to see what is going on with lighting in the real world, we were struck two things. 1) There still isn't all that much of the light we want, and 2) There is still a lot of light we don't want. While few probably fell off their chair on that revelation, we all tend to have so much legacy lighting around us that we tend not to reflect too much on what we're missing, much less on what we're getting that we really shouldn't be.

One of the first stops on the tour was into The Caverns at Natural Bridges, in the mountains of Virginia. Lots of natural wonder to be found in a mostly horizontal cave that heads into a mountain, which therefore gets deeper and deeper "underground" as you head in. That means more opportunity for water to pick up minerals on its way down, and when they hit the roof or floor of the empty space, they give the minerals back. That water also carries clay with in this particular cavern, so you get pretty impressive "mudstones" that can be scrubbed white for a day or two (also right there on their website). And you get green stuff -- algae in this case, that made it down there on some air currents, and grows courtesy of the moisture and the artificial light. Nice, broad spectrum incandescent, to enhance our viewing pleasure, is prevalent, and with close to 8 hours a day on time, it's plenty to grow. It's the light we don't want. The guide pointed out where they had begun to changeover to LED lighting, that would "supposedly" help with that. The company apparently specializes in that kind of thing. Don't know who it is yet, but hopefully they'll let us know their formula, which we'd expect to be removing some spectra that algae like, and which the viewers won't necessarily miss.

The next stop was the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. A look at the high ceiling revealed some nice looking area lights that fit the model of Beta (now Cree's) original Edge product line. The optics were well done, and weren't obnoxious to look toward. With good color rendering, it made it the kind of light we do want. Unfortunately, the LED lighting doesn't appear to have gained overwhelming traction in that facility, as a number of displays protected from curious fingers behind a protective glass barrier required the traditional "bob and weave" to see it all against the glare in the glass. The original Wright flyer (the, the original... very cool) was illuminated by a beachy sort of Kitty Hawk sand dune kind of towards sunset yellow. Quite emotionally stirring, and very deficit of helpful wavelengths when it comes to visual acuity. LED lighting shouldn't be challenged to provide a cure for that - ambiance plus fidelity, all for just a few pennies per lumen. Even better would have been a bit more experiential display, with the light giving us the full sunrise-midday-sunset playback of a typical day over the course of 10 minutes, along with a background soundtrack of seabreeze, sputtering engines and enthusiastic hollering (I'd recommend they check out Telelumen's solution for the realistic light playback -- Yo, Smithsonian. Tell Steve Paolini we said "Hi").

At the Smithsonian Art and Portrait gallery, CMH and halogen were the watchwords. One of the few artifacts in the extensive gallery was a civil war sword. The sign read (paraphrase), "This is a replica. The original is carefully stored away to prevent it from being damaged by light." There's a thrill! A genuine, real live, carefully detailed replica. We could have gotten that in the wax museum in Gatlinburg, TN (lots of LED lights in that town... sort of Orlando in the mountains). In a room only lit by artificial light, should we really need to protect a treasure from the damage that light can cause? Maybe we can put in the kind of light we want, and get rid of the kind we don't.

The good news here is the LED lighting is in its infancy when it comes to what we know, or don't know, about light. As we've said many times before, incumbent technologies didn't offer a particularly cost-effective solution set to test each and every wavelength. LEDs open that door, and with that, our knowledge. We've mentioned it a lot, but it's only because we don't want anyone to miss it: This whole thing is about what our light can do for us, and very quickly, it will also be about what our light has been doing too us. Up til now, anyone has been able to claim, "That's all we had." No one was suing their employers for using kerosene lamps, since the choice then was those, or darkness. When Edison heated that wire, we quickly had good, healthy (enough) light. Then came the longevity and efficiency of fluorescent which quickly devolved to devising the bare minimum of phosphor spikes to fool our eyes into thinking it looked ok, but do we really know what we were missing? Soon enough, we'll know what the lack of, or extra of, in terms of photons were or weren't doing for us. Then there will be published papers that get cited in the lawsuits for decades of bad lighting causing many of the ails of society. And the justifiable defense will be "We didn't know." All will be forgiven, with the out of court settlement being total conversion to "natural" LED lighting (with none of the bad additives).

This will be way better than that incandescent bulb ban. We promise.

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