SSL Technology Update: November 27, 2012

In this week's update: LED retrofit lamps and SSL driver design news; Business updates; Semiconductor news from Electronica; and a retrofit lamp milestone.

While LED retrofit lamps have been widely available as replacements for 75W and lower-power incandescents, the major lamp makers have been working feverishly to deliver a 100W-equiavlent lamp. Earlier this year at Lightfair, GE Lighting, Osram Sylvania, Philips Lighting, Lighting Science Group, and Switch Lighting all touted such products but projected broad availability varying from now to mid 2013.

The race to market has ended however, with Osram selling the Sylvania Ultra LED 20W through Lowe's home-improvement stores. Philips is close behind with its EnduraLED product due at Home Depot December 1. Both of those products are in the A21 form factor that is slightly larger than the A19 lamps that are most widely used in homes. At 20 watts, the Sylvania product bests the Philips offering by 2 watts, but the Philips lamp delivers 1780 lumens -- 180 more than the Sylvania lamp. GE Lighting has said its lamp won't ship until sometime next year, but the company pledges it will be an A19 lamp.

The LED driver design space remains competitive as well, with IC manufacturers racing to deliver products that yield a driver with minimal bill of materials and optimal performance in terms of no flicker and smooth dimming. At the recent Electronica show, Power Integrations launched its LYTSwitch product that uses a single power-conversion stage, yet the company says that it includes power factor correction and smooth dimming with no pop-on behavior. The company also collaborated with Cree on a PAR38 retrofit lamp reference design.

Texas Instruments, meanwhile, announced an addition to its Webench online development tool. Driver designers can use Webench to quickly prototype projects that use TI driver ICs and a new export facility allows users to move designs into popular computer-aided design tools from Cadence, Altium, and Mentor, thereby accelerating time to market.

We will close with a couple of business news items. Certification body CSA Group has acquired test-equipment vendor Orb Optronix. In the LED manufacturing space, Chinese San'an Optoelectronics is investing $80 million in Taiwan-based LED manufacture Formosa Epitaxi, better known as Forepi. And in the intellectual property area, Osram and LG Electronics have settled their patent disputes and will enter into a cross-licensing agreement.

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