LEDs Magazine News & Insights 1 Sept 2021 – Editor’s Column

Sept. 1, 2021

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for Sept. 1, 2021. Seems like summer passed in a week. I know part of the perceived pace was the mental freedom of spending in-person time with family and friends, although Delta again threatens that freedom. I do think the virtual business practices are also partly to blame as businesses seemingly pack more into each day and week.

Speaking of virtual industry events, it’s one down and one up for us in the Endeavor LED & Lighting group. As I wrote this column last week, we were in the midst of Strategies in Light. The second-day content was outstanding. And the good thing about virtual is that you can still register and catch the presentations on demand.

Meanwhile, we will hold the HortiCann Light + Tech Conference virtually on Sept. 28–29. As in past years, our horticulturally-focused conference will dive deep into the technology and science. For example, Dr. Richard Field of NanoFlex Power will describe an approach to control all environmental elements of a controlled environment agriculture (CEA) facility. Moreover, the company uses solar technology to power sensors and simplify the installation.

In news for the week, we have a packaged LED story and that always makes me happy. While the fact is clearly evident, we sometimes forget that the LED is the basis of the transformation of the lighting market, even if new developments don’t come at the pace that they once did.

Lumileds continues to lead the sector in expanding its portfolio of LEDs that use a lead frame and plastic package. And yes, I carefully chose the words I used to describe the announcement of the Luxeon 7070 LED that, as the model number implies, has a 7×7-mm footprint and that can deliver as many as 2000 lm when over-driven slightly.

Actually, I have been struggling and the solid-state lighting (SSL) industry has been struggling for years in classifying packaged LED components. The old low-, mid-, high-, and ultrahigh-power designation ceased being useful mid last decade as mid-power LEDs were operated at high-power levels. The differentiator became the type of package utilized, but even that doesn’t always matter. If an LED in a traditional, ceramic, high-power package and another in a plastic, lead-frame package do the same job, does the package matter?

In reality, there are fine points of reliability , robustness, and product lifetime tied to package type. But they matter to a lesser degree as the plastic packages continue to improve. And Lumileds is squarely targeting demanding applications such as street lights with the 7070 products. Meanwhile, I will continue to search for a better way to classify components.

In the same LED story in which we wrote about Lumileds, we also reported that Seoul Semiconductor had announced that it had taken on sole ownership of the SunLike LED technology. The phosphor mix in those LEDs originally came from Toshiba Materials. Going forward, Seoul alone will control all aspects of technology development and also of branding and intellectual property (IP).

We also had a very interesting retrofit lamp story this week from Mark Halper covering new Signify products. There was a time when lamps stories were my second favorite to LEDs because of the truly varied ways that SSL players tried to create a perfect incandescent replacement. And this Signify story reprises that refrain. The company said the new lamps deliver 60% energy savings relative to its existing LED-based lamps that are on the market. That’s a big jump for an LED lamp these days. The company was miserly with details as to how. What I will say is clearly higher cost in components and manufacturing was a key. We will see how the market reacts to a lamp that might last 50 years yet puts a bigger dent in your wallet.

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) 208-9442, [email protected]