Cree has introduced a 13.5W, 1100-lm LED retrofit lamp adding to its 2700K Soft White family of replacement lamps that have been widely sold by popular US retailers. With the new lamp, the company has stuck with the same filament-tower design and opaque silicon-coated diffuser to deliver a lamp that will initially sell for $23.97 at retail.
Cree only entered the A-lamp space in March 2013 with the 450- and 800-lm products. The innovative filament-tower design, along with the fact that the company makes its own LEDs, have allowed Cree to quickly gain market share while driving LED lamp prices downward.
Cree said that using the same basic design and LED components is the key to being able to launch the 1100-lm product at the sub-$25 price point. When asked if the design was identical to the 60W-equivalent design, Cree vice president of corporate marketing Mike Watson said, "We take advantage of the drive capability of our SC3 technology and additional thermal management to achieve 1100 lumens out of the same packages compared to the 800 lumens for the 60W replacement Cree LED bulb." SC3 (silicon carbide cubed) technology refers to the company's latest generation of silicon-carbide-based LEDs.
Indeed, both the spec sheets and the products reveal the more robust thermal management design in the 75W-equivalent lamp. The 800-lm lamp weighs in at 3.9 oz, whereas the new lamp weighs in at 6 oz. The difference is notable when you hold the lamps side by side.
Visually, you can also see the larger heat sink on the new lamp. Still, the maximum lamp dimensions in height and diameter remain unchanged and all of the lamps are in the A19 form factor that is most widely applicable to residential applications.
One potential downside to driving LEDs harder for more light output could be a reduced lifetime for the new lamps. But Cree rates the 1100-lm lamp for 25,000 hours and covers it with a ten-year warranty just as it did with the previous products. As long as the bulked up thermal design can remove the extra heat, Cree has LED lumen-maintenance documentation that would support the ratings.
The new lamp is another step toward Cree's stated goal of driving a complete conversion to SSL. "Driving to 100% adoption of LED lighting requires continuous innovation to meet even more customer needs," said David Elien, Cree vice president of marketing and business development. "The new Cree LED 75W replacement bulb gives consumers even more options and yet another reason to switch to LED lighting."
The Cree replacement lamp product line also includes the True White branded A-19 lamps that deliver 93 CRI. The Soft White TW series was just announced in September. There is no word for now as to whether a 75W-equivalent lamp will come to that series. The company also launched a BR30 LED lamp back in July.