SSL Technology Update: December 3, 2012

In this week's update: Automaker Daimler increases use of LEDs in new luxury model; Researchers offer new insights into lighting networks and control technology; and a range of business news in the LED sector.

Let’s start with adaptive controls. A new networked-lighting installation at the University of California at Davis includes 1400 LED-based luminaires installed outdoors across the campus. The fixtures include a wireless-network and fixture-control module from Lumewave that also connects to a motion sensor. The system dims the lights on pathways when no one is present for maximum energy savings.

The project revealed that in a campus like environment, it's not sufficient to simply have a sensor control the light mounted on the same pole. For example, a bicyclist would pass the pole before the light comes to full brightness. Instead, the California Technology Lighting Center that led the project uses the network of sensors to detect the direction and speed of travel objects to bring a light to full brightness before the bicyclist arrives at each sequential pole. The California Technology Lighting Center says that controls on the campus have increased energy savings by as much as 36% beyond the baseline savings attributable to LED sources, and hopes to take the work it has done on pathways to roadway applications.

Luxury car buyers will now have the option of buying a Mercedes-Benz with all in-cabin and external lighting based on LEDs. The Mercedes offering includes high-end features such as adaptive highbeam lights that drivers do not have to control directly due to sensors that detect oncoming traffic. But the best news for the broader auto industry is that the move to all LEDs cuts the electrical power requirements in the car. The reduction provides a commensurate reduction in fuel use and better mileage.

To close, there have been a number of business-related stories this week, including new acquisitions and partnerships. GE Lighting announced that it is acquiring LED-fixture maker Albeo Technologies, based in Boulder, Colorado. The acquisition will give GE an immediate way to serve a broader customer base with more diverse applications and with products such as high-bay fixtures. A GE executive said customers were looking to GE as a source for their complete solid-state lighting needs, leading to the acquisition.

In the UK, lighting product manufacturer Marl announced a partnership with component distributor Anglia. The alliance will allow Marl to accelerate the design process prototype development with supply from Anglia under the same roof as the product designers.

LED lighting manufacturer Dialight, meanwhile, announced a number of new design wins for its luminaires with a focus on rugged applications. For example, a solar-power plant in California's Mojave Desert will use more than 1000 Dialight fixtures. Earlier, Dialight had announced a deal to supply 1,224 fixtures for an off-shore drilling rig. In a more-conventional application, Dialight said UK packaging company Rexam is realizing 60% energy savings after a retrofit of 340 400W lights with 150W LED high-bay fixtures.

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