SSL Technology Update: September 4, 2012

Sept. 5, 2012
In this week's update: A novel approach to LED retrofit lamps comes from 3M; Cree debuts a new outdoor product series; and a look back at some highlights from The LED Show.
Let's start with 3M's innovative retrofit lamp design. There are many approaches to LED retrofit lamps ranging from Philips remote phosphor designs to the ubiquitous snow-cone designs with LEDs shining up into an empty globe. Materials specialist 3M took a drastically different approach. The 3M LED Advanced Light mounts the driver electronics in the globe area. The LEDs are spread around the neck of the lamp just above the Edison base and shine into a 3M-designed light guide that forms the structure of the globe. Air moves through the lamp from slots just below the LEDs to vents in the upper portion of the globe – cooling both the LEDs and the driver. The omnidirectional $25 lamps output 800 lumens, serve as 60W equivalents, and are due on Walmart's shelves in September.

In outdoor lighting, Cree Lighting has announced an extension of The Edge luminaire family with high-output models that are designed to replace 1000W metal halide lamps. Applications include area lighting in parking lots where security concerns drive the use of the 1000W lamps, and of course big-box retailers like to draw attention to their location with lighting. Cree also developed a new optic specifically designed to illuminate the front line of autos for sale at a dealership. The new products range from 279 watts to 851 watts and generally provide around 50% energy savings over metal halide lamps.

We are working on a comprehensive story on The LED show that took place earlier this summer. We have posted some conference stories online, and a session on color mixing was especially interesting. Marc Dyble of Osram explained that mixing amber LEDs with phosphor-converted white LEDs could deliver both high CRI and high efficacy. Demanding applications, such as retail, are especially sensitive to CRI and that has traditionally required a tradeoff in efficacy in luminaires based strictly on white LEDs.

There was also an interesting presentation by Kurt Vogel of Lithonia Lighting that focused on techniques for retrofitting fluorescent troffers with solid-state lighting. Vogel discussed kits from multiple vendors that can be inserted into the troffer frame without disrupting the dust above and with minimal rewiring. He said that a retrofit can take as little as 10 minutes.