LightFair part 1 - White LEDs and light engines

April 29, 2005
Among the key trends at this year’s LightFair was a focus on usable white light (providing color control, consistency) and also the development of solid-state lighting platforms.
ATG Electronics Predictably, LEDs were very much in evidence throughout this year’s LightFair International tradeshow, from pre-conference seminars to the New Product Showcase awards (see below) to the exhibition itself. Participating companies included a selection of LED manufacturers (see LightFair part 2 - High-power LED suppliers ), module manufacturers such as Heatron and Lamina, chip-on-board specialists such as VS Optoelectronic, test & measurement companies, and of course many lighting fixture suppliers. Products ranged from Westinghouse LED’s light bulbs, based around the company’s patented polymer technology, to LED strips and neon replacements, to LED streetlights, architectural fittings and even a few surprises – for example, Martin Architectural booth staff were playing with a prototype LED spotlight fixture containing large numbers for RGB LEDs.

In general, many companies seemed to have moved past the stage of exhibiting LED-based products simply to because they are a new technology; instead, there was more of a sense of accepting the current limitations of LEDs which makes them more appropriate for certain product categories than for others. Even so, there continues to be a gap in sophistication between companies that simply put LEDs into fixtures, and others that understand the fundamentals that make LED systems work properly.

Platforms and light engines
Because of the many design considerations involved in building luminaires using LEDs – thermal, optical, mechanical and electrical – some companies have taken the approach of integrating the necessary technology into a solid-state building block that can form the core of different luminaire designs. Two excellent examples of this approach were from TIR Systems and Dialight.

One of the highest-profile LED-related announcements at the show was TIR's LEXEL technology, which incorporates key advances in thermal management, optics and color control - see TIR Systems unveils LEXEL lighting platform.

Along similar lines, Dialight displayed several lighting products based around its integrated solid-state light engine, which contains proprietary optics and is capable of generating a flux density of 1,214 lumens per square inch – see Dialight demonstrates integrated solid-state light engine.

Teledyne Photon Engine Teledyne exhibited its Photon Engine LED Illuminator, which incorporates non-imaging optics and efficient thermal design (thermal resistance junction-heatsink = 10°C) in a product which can be coupled to acrylic waveguides (see photo) or used for a variety of other applications. The company has also developed a Blackhole LED which uses total internal reflection to redirect the light output into a radial distribution pattern, with very little emission in the center.

White LEDs
White LEDs and white lighting products were emphasized by a number of companies, with a focus on improving color consistency and controllability and reducing the variations inherent in the manufacturing process. Osram Opto Semiconductors announced a design win for its white Golden Dragon LEDs with Color Kinetics (see news item); the devices are incorporated into iW Blast fixtures containing warm white and cool white LEDs.

Encore EXIT comboColor Kinetics’ Chromacore technology controls the fixture’s color temperatures within the range of 3000 – 6500 K, and allows independent adjustment of brightness, color temperature, or both. CK demonstrated how its fixture could be used to illuminate a jewelry display, using warm white light to highlight gold objects and cool white for silver. CK also manufactures fixed color dimmable products, where the light intensity can be adjusted using standard dimmers for low voltage circuits. Unlike conventional light sources, which decrease in color temperature as they're dimmed, these sources maintain a constant color temperature at any intensity.

Elsewhere on the scale of white LED fixtures, Maxlite introduced a series of 2700K light bulbs containing four white LEDs and developed in conjunction with Toshiba (see Maxlite introduces 2700K LED light bulbs).

Neon replacement
LED systems capable of replacing neon were offered by a number of companies (see Exposed neon appearance in robust GELcore LED system).

iLight Technologies’ approach for generating white light in its Plexineon product is to use high-intensity blue LEDs in combination with different colored covers to produce white at 3500K, 4500K or 6500K. iLight also exhibited a 1-foot strip of blue Plexineon capable of producing 15,000 lux, which contained 5 W Lumileds devices positioned 0.5 inch apart.

More new products at LightFair
The New Products Showcase Awards featured a large number of LED-related entries – among the winners were products from Nualight, Waldmann Lighting, e3LED, Color Kinetics, Xenon Light, Dialight, Hess America, Lamina Ceramics (see LED products pick up awards at LightFair).

Prescolite LD4 LiteForms Prescolite, a division of Hubbel Lighting, exhibited the LD4 LiteForms LED Cylinder in two housing lengths of 6.5 or 12.38 inches, and are four inches in diameter. The extruded aluminum cylinders are available with smooth or finned surfaces, and contain either one LED array pointing up, or two that point up and down. Each array contains six one-watt LEDs, and have a lifetime of 50,000 hours.

More new products:
Philips presents Aurelle LED Candles and Aurelle DeckLight
Enlux introduces 1K LED light modules
GELcore's LED refrigerated display lighting solution