LEDs Magazine News & Insights 29 April 2020 - Editor's Column

April 29, 2020

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for Apr. 29, 2020. Of course you may think this has become the LEDs Magazine Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection newsletter or the Solid-State Lighting (SSL) and Coronavirus Times.

I really had intended to leave coronavirus coverage mainly to the mainstream news organizations. I never imagined it would become so entwined with technologies we cover or of course the magnitude of business impact it would have on leading LED and SSL companies around the globe.

Following my thoughts shared in this space last Friday about the US President’s crazy counsel on using UV emission to kill coronavirus in the body, we start with a much more uplifting and scientifically-valid story today. As Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City faced shortages of medical masks, doctors there sought help from long-time research partners at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

The RPI Center for Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications (LESA) laboratory, the RPI Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS), and other RPI cross-disciplinary engineering resources teamed to quickly deliver a system capable of disinfecting masks. A process that might have taken months or years in normal times was compressed into a few weeks.

The amazing aspect of the story is the complexity and robustness of the design. The engineers delivered a machine with a mechanical carriage for the masks that carries the masks through a UV-C light bath that operates continuously. Masks in to masks out — RPI officials said it can process thousands of masks per day.

Of course, companies small and large are seeing opportunities in UV. We have a couple of Signify stories in the newsletter this week starting with a financial report. The company’s income fell around 40% due primarily to the impact of the coronavirus. But even Signify, the world’s largest lighting manufacturer, sees some salvation in UV. The company plans to ramp its existing UV lamp manufacturing business and perhaps directly enter the luminaire business. On a positive note, Signify did say its manufacturing capacity is back up to 80% of pre-coronavirus levels.

We have some additional UV-centric content linked down below today, some of which I think I mentioned in a prior column. I’d recommend you read the guidance from the IES on using UV if you haven’t already done so. This remains a technology that is inherently dangerous when used incorrectly.

You will find many more stories of interest in the body of today’s newsletter. And always feel free to contact me to discuss content we post or to pitch a contributed article.

- Maury Wright, (858) 748-6785, [email protected]