Friday, Jun 1, 2012

The world’s leading trade fair Light+Build is held at Frankfurt in Germany and attracts around 2000 exhibitors and 200,000 visitors from around the world. Visitors are architects, artists, interior designers, engineers, light planners, and one of those was the editor of Sidelights.
It was hardly a surprise to see the abundance of LED products and it was interesting to see the confidence in which manufacturers have embraced LED across the range since the last fair 2 years ago.

The number of LED options has been aided by the wide availability of Zhaga-standard LED modules produced by ever increasing numbers of manufacturers of LED chips. Some modules use collimator lenses over the LED arrays with the aim that the light distribution from the LED arrays more efficiently control the design of the reflector around it or smoothes out the part of the beam distribution that emits from the LED array directly with no influence from the reflector.


It’s now safe to say that LEDs are a viable choice for standard downlights and spotlights where previuosly MR16, AR111 and compact fluorescents had the market covered. A quick scan around at the stands was evidence to support this.


Many manufacturers are pushing the limits of what LEDs can reasonably do and attempting to compete with the T5 linear fluorescent market. There were loads of examples of LED profile, direct & indirect luminaires and troffer look a likes. We have yet to see if LEDs are able to realistically compete with fluorescent in terms of light output and efficiency let alone cost.


Some manufacturers are restricting their colour temperature offerings to 3000K or 4000K and some are now adding 2700K as the efficacy has increased. Colour rendering was the big standout with claims of CRI of 93 being made. The colour consistency in white is still a concern. There are some excellent “True-White” technologies out there which have very good whites in all colour-temperature options but others still have varying differences.


There seems to be is some rebranding appearing of 4000K as Neutral White and 6500K as Cool White. Is this a marketing ploy for representation of data? Why confuse us, just stick to what we know - 3000K is Warm White, 3500K is Neutral White, 4000K is Cool White and 6500K is Daylight as has been for a long time in fluorescent lamps.


Australia is lighting the way with its green initiatives and should have some influence on LED development, afterall the ban the incandescent is now a global movement. The industry needs new standards to give direction to the light engine/module manufacturers.


Apart from all those LEDs the stands themselves are fabulous showcases. Some have playful themes like Modular's Circus Big Top, Trilux's ginormous bubble chandelier or Viabizzuno's quirky library and each with inexhaustable hospitality. The senses are overwhelmed again and again and my 3 day experience was a whirlwind affair but I’d recommend it to anyone.