Packaged LED news: Lumileds and Luminus rev mid-power, Nichia gets warmer

July 14, 2021
Outdoor SSL can move to HPS look and feel with 1800K-CCT LED from Nichia, while both Lumileds and Luminus boost performance in mid-power LEDs.

Nichia has announced the NVSW219F series of packaged LEDs that radiate at a CCT as low as 1800K and deliver what the company says is the first true replication of the widely-deployed high-pressure sodium (HPS) sources outdoors while also improving visibility. Lumileds has created a new series of mid-power LEDs dubbed the Luxeon 2835 Commercial, and as the product name implies targets commercial solid-state lighting (SSL) applications. Meanwhile, Luminus has higher-performing MP-3030-120H LEDs that deliver 225 lm/W and can even target horticultural lighting applications.

Warm light at night

Even after more than a decade of widely deployed LED lighting in outdoor-area and street lighting applications, many people still seem to prefer the yellow-orange glow of HPS sources outdoors. Indeed, the demand for warm-CCT outdoor lighting is especially acute in areas such as historic downtown districts.

“People like the visual effect provided by HPS, creating what we call the nostalgic landscape,” said Yuji Itsuki, general manager of marketing at Nichia. “Existing LED technology finds it hard to replicate this.” Itsuki was referring to LEDs as existing technology that fails to deliver the HPS experience in terms of color. Some companies have claimed that 2200K LEDs offer an HPS-like look. But Nichia says that 2200K is not an accurate match and that the new LEDs are the first to reach 1800K.

It may be ironic that many in society became attached to a light source that does not enable good visibility considering the primary reason for outdoor lighting is safety. But clearly extremely cool CCTs present problems as well. The compromise seems to be 3000–4000K-CCT street lighting on busy roads. And the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) is now in accordance with the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) recommending 3000K-CCT or warmer lighting in residential areas. And now where preferred, municipalities can add the warmer option.

Indeed, Nichia promises the new LED will offer both the warm ambience of HPS and better visibility in areas where it is installed. Nichia said that it had measured CRI for HPS light sources at levels less than 5. We’ve previously reported typical HPS CRIs in the 20 and under range. What that low-CRI score means is that people in an HPS-lit space can’t see details enabled by better contrast. For example, facial recognition is poor.

Moving to an LED source, the CRI will be inherently better. Nichia said the new LEDs will have a baseline CRI of 70. That would be a poor score for lighting in a nice retail shop, but relatively good light quality outdoors at night. “The 219F is the only LED available today that can accurately match the CCT of HPS,” said Itsuki. “This ability to blend LED and HPS without creating harsh variations is what really makes it the first in the industry to provide a true alternative.” Nichia will also offer the LEDs at 2000K, 2200K, and 2500K with the cooler options delivering better efficacy. All are rated for 60,000 hours.

Mid-power power grab

Moving primarily to indoor applications, the mid-power LED sector continues to usurp market opportunity from high-power LED options. And as a Lumileds representative pointed out, the luminaire categories served now by 2835 (2.8×3.5-mm) LEDs is among the largest opportunities in the SSL business. Extending the performance of 2835 LEDs enables Lumileds to expand the scope of applications served by the components.

Lumileds has previously offered a family of 2835 LEDs for indoor applications, even extending the performance of such devices earlier this year. Now the company is taking those prior products and rebranding them as the Luxeon 2835 Architectural series. The existing products balance performance and efficacy with excellent color quality.

The Luxeon Commercial series is focused more on maximizing lm/W and lm/$ — and as mentioned earlier, expanding the application scope. “The architectural and commercial luminaire and lighting fixture markets have their own needs and characteristics,” said product and marketing manager Ryan Dong. “Manufacturers of commercial lighting prioritize lumens per watt and lumens per dollar over almost everything else and we deliver both in a package providing the quality and robustness expected of Luxeon LEDs.” Typical applications for the new LEDs include troffers, flat-panel fixtures, high-bay luminaires, and more.

3030 and horticulture

Luminus is making a similar move in the 3030 (3×3-mm) LED form factor. The company calls the MP-3030-120H components “ultra high-performance LEDs.” In addition to the aforementioned efficacy achievement, Luminus offers the LEDs with 80-, 90- and 95-CRI options. Moreover, the LEDs are rated for 36,000 hours of life even when driven beyond nominal conditions.

Tom Jory, vice president of illumination marketing, said, “We’re really hitting on all cylinders with this much-anticipated product launch since the product has outstanding efficacy, solid LM-80 in both PPF and lumens, high quality of light with optional 95 CRI minimum and lead times which enable customers to move quickly.”

The quote mentioned performance in PPF or photosynthetic photon flux in addition to lumens. The mention of PPF is indicative of horticultural lighting being a potential target application for the new LEDs. PPF is essentially performance in the PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) of the spectrum and is a metric used commonly in horticultural applications.

LEDs Magazine chief editor MAURY WRIGHT is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade.

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About the Author

Maury Wright | Editor in Chief

Maury Wright is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade. Wright first wrote for LEDs Magazine as a contractor in 2010, and took over as Editor-in-Chief in 2012. He has broad experience in technology areas ranging from microprocessors to digital media to wireless networks that he gained over 30 years in the trade press. Wright has experience running global editorial operations, such as during his tenure as worldwide editorial director of EDN Magazine, and has been instrumental in launching publication websites going back to the earliest days of the Internet. Wright has won numerous industry awards, including multiple ASBPE national awards for B2B journalism excellence, and has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards. He received a BS in electrical engineering from Auburn University.