Category Archives: LEDs in the news

LEDs on Fleek? Shifting Trends in Lighting

Recently, Osram released the Socket Survey: an annual snapshot of consumer attitudes and buying patterns related to lighting. LED technology has been growing in popularity due to falling prices, increased awareness, and improvements in quality. Still, we were surprised to see such a significant jump this year, with more Americans recognizing LED bulbs (89%) over any other technology, and the majority of them (65%) reported having purchased at least one example of LED lighting for the home.

2015 Socket Survey findings
Click the image to download the report.

Since our specialty lies more in professional-grade, commercial and industrial LED lighting, you might think these findings are irrelevant to us. However, it is interesting and gratifying for us to read this report because these figures indirectly represent the fruits of our labor here at LED Waves.

Taking on these larger LED lighting projects has allowed us to effect the most change – and not just in mass savings on energy and replacements. By developing products on more ambitious scales, we are uncovering ways to improve the performance of LED lights – and playing a role in the overall advancement of LED technology. As with any technology, these advancements tend to start out in the commercial and industrial sectors before they make their way into consumer products. In this way, LED Waves helped shape the bulbs that so many American consumers now enjoy.

Look at these hipsters. Image via Wikipedia Commons.
Look at these hipsters. Image via Wikipedia Commons.

We can see this correlation when we compare Osram’s demographic data with our own from the past calendar year. 69% of this year’s Socket Survey respondents aged 18-34 had purchased LED light bulbs – indicating that millenials are largely on board with the LED revolution. The remaining 31% may include a certain brand of mustachioed hipsters clinging to their Edison-style exposed filament bulbs while riding their old timey bikes with the big front wheels.

Millenials represent a relatively small portion of our online customers (13% ages 18-34), which makes sense given the types of products we sell. Very few youngsters are in charge of buying decisions at facilities that need, for example, LED high bays.

However, while millenials may not buy a lot from us, the 18-34 age group does represent the largest segment of site visitorship at LEDWaves.com, at over 28% – presumably browsing the informational articles and guides about LED lighting in our Help section. (And we’re not the “Buy something or get out,” type; we’re glad that people are using us as a resource if it brings them closer to adopting green technology elsewhere in their lives.)

Statistics via Google Analytics

This jibes with the increased awareness about the benefits of LED lighting, which is manifested in the changing priorities of Americans shopping for light bulbs. LED technology reigns when it comes to what Americans consider the most important attributes, including lumen output at 97%, lifespan at 94%, and energy usage at 91%. Produced color is at an all-time high at 85%, which is significant as it is a factor that few lighting consumers could even control before the advent of LEDs.

There are also some weird outlier statistics and interesting social commentary to be made from the Socket Survey report, like 54% of women and 72% of men claiming to be the sole decision maker of lighting purchases in their homes (how…?) so it’s worth a download. And for other lighting-related information, you can always contact LED Waves – regardless of your demographic.

An LED Merger Mystery

Some of the biggest, brightest names in the LED business may be merging – and while it’s unclear how this would affect the global lighting industry, we can already tell its impact on LED Waves‘ OEM operations will be huge.

Philips announced their intention to spin off Lumileds – which covers LUXEON, the line of LEDs built into the Illinois PAR30, the New York 3.0 PAR38, the Genesys 3.0 T8 tube, and a growing number of more industrial LED lights we are developing – into a separate company, after making an impressive $1.91 billion in sales last year.

Will Philips Lumileds enjoy more success than this other spinoff?

This news coincided with Cree announcing their intention to grow through strategic acquisition. The makers of the LEDs in our Midtown recessed lights, Andromeda high bay, the California MR16 and other bulbs made in the USA by LED Waves; Cree is a direct competitor to Philips Lumileds, having shown comparable success with $1.4 billion in 2013 sales.

Our Cree LED PAR30 alongside our Philips LED PAR30.
Our Cree LED PAR30 and our Philips LED PAR30.

What this merge would mean for affiliated LED lighting OEMs such as ourselves in terms of administrative operations remains unseen. However, with strengths on both sides – Cree is known for envelope-pushing innovation and efficiency (their bulb was the first to break the 100lm/W efficacy barrier), while Philips stands out for providing the quality and consistency large scale lighting specifiers need (Lumiled’s “Freedom from Binning” policy was a game changer for us all) – we foresee only great things to happen with LED technology itself.

via Trefis

 

How LED Tech News is Shaping Our New Industrial Lights

We’ve slowed down on updates recently, and that’s because all hands are on deck here at LED Waves HQ! We’ve got tons of American-made industrial LED lights coming down the pipeline – undergoing design tweaks, in situ testing, and even re-naming! (It’s hard nailing down impactful, relevant names for our unique products.)

While we can’t reveal too much about these new products, we did want to take a moment on this Social Media Day to let you know what’s going on in the greater LED world. Everything in this industry is related: All advancements, no matter where in the technology and in the supply chain, lead to better performance and lower prices on LED lighting everywhere.

Case in point: Taiwan is stepping up their bulb standards, with the Ministry of Economic Affairs requiring manufacturers to test all new bulbs coming to market starting July 1st. Taiwanese manufacturers will be fined a minimum of NT $0.2 million (US $6,669.33) if found in violation of this mandate. This measure protects consumers against the mislabeling and confusing labels that had gone unchecked in the LED industry.

This doesn’t relate to LED Waves directly, as we haven’t imported any new bulbs from the East since we launched our American-made LED bulbs in 2012, and our specialty lies in higher end, commercial and industrial lighting anyway. But if other manufacturers – particularly those with historic strongholds in the industry – are held to a higher standard, consumers will be better informed about lighting technology, have better user experiences, and are more likely to adopt earth-friendly LED lighting in other walks of life.

Pictured: the driver that comes with each dimmable Midtown LED Recessed Light
Pictured: the driver that comes with each dimmable Midtown LED Recessed Light

In related news, IHS Technologies reports that 25% of all driver revenues in 2013 went towards LED light sources.

A driver is an component that regulates the current from a power source to an electronic device. Since this can cover such a huge range of consumer products – especially those experiencing rapid growth (Do you know anyone who hasn’t bought a new phone, tablet, or computer in the past year?) – these LED driver sales paints a promising picture in the adoption of this advanced lighting technology.

This topic was on the minds of many at LIGHTFAIR International earlier this month.

LFI2014 Bigshots
We can only imagine what was on the minds of THESE trade show crashers.

With record-breaking numbers of attendees seeking out LED lights and exhibitors selling them year after year, it’s become clear there’s no question if LEDs will achieve worldwide adoption, but when. This year, some were even wondering why: Is this technology really the go-to solution? With some industries – particularly agricultural settings – traditionally reliant on incandescent lighting for inherently incandescent qualities, are LEDs really capable of penetrating all lighting applications? With our upcoming line of rugged, industrial LED lights, LED Waves is setting out to answer these questions with a resounding YES.

Updates to LED Waves’ Standard & 5-Year Warranty

Recently, a major issue caught our attention of us here at LED Waves by way of the LEDs & Lighting group on LinkedIn. In a discussion thread titled “LED Warranty small print – what should you look out for?” lighting professionals shared their experiences, good and bad, dealing with manufacturers’ warranties.

We learned of suppliers and manufacturers who refused to honor (what we assumed were) very basic instances requiring warranty service:

  • if some, but not all, LEDs did not light up (“Hey, you’re still getting SOME light out of it.”)
  • if the luminaire’s light output deteriorates up to 50% within their stated hours (Same as above. Note: the industry standard says that a lamp is spent after 30% deterioration of initial lumens.)
  • if a luminaire’s bundled electronics – the LED driver, for instance – stops working. (“We didn’t make that part, so it’s not OUR problem.”)
  • if the product wasn’t registered at every point along the supply chain (“Yeah, we made this, but you didn’t buy it directly from us; take it up with that guy.”)

… and so on. We were surprised to hear these horror stories, probably because (a) since so many of our clients are lighting designers and facility managers, they cannot accept this level of non-service in a warranty – and we must abide by that; and (b) as both an LED lighting OEM and a direct supplier, we have to take responsibility for our products at every point from design, assembly, to burn-in testing before they reach your door. We can’t pass the responsibility of basic warranty service off on anyone else.

5 year warranty
We promise, our fine print is not very fine at all.

In light of this, we decided to update our warranty. Read our amended standard warranty statement, as well as the extended 5 year warranty applicable to our LED lights made in the USA. Note that since we’re an Original Equipment Manufacturer that also sells directly, any LED Waves purchase is automatically covered by our warranty without having to register your purchase.

TL:DR: The terms of our warranty are the same on our end. In the extremely rare case of product failure, we will provide the same level of service our high end lighting professional customers have come to expect. But with our new explicit wording, we’re hoping that all our customers (old and new) will understand the protection they’re getting from the LED Waves warranty – the protection you deserve.

LED T8 Tube News, Plus Limited Time Sale

This is a big week in environmental news, as we await today’s White House climate change report, and as we learn that LED lights will outnumber the fluorescent tubes to be installed this year. A survey of professional lighting installers shows that SSL technology will make up 49% of their planned projects in 2014 – edging out fluorescent at 46% and almost doubling the projections from 2013.

This is the first year LED tube installations will outnumber fluorescent linear lighting, and it means buildings will now be more efficiently illuminated, and fewer mercury-tainted tubes will enter the waste stream as fluorescent T8s reach the end of useful service – typically after only a few thousand hours.

Waves of Savings.Genesys LED T8 sale frosted availableWe’re celebrating the good news with a sale on our own 4-foot LED tubes made in the USA. Today through Monday, May 12th 2014; save 20% on all Genesys 3.0 LED T8 tubes with coupon code WAVES.

To ensure years of superior quality lighting covered by our 5 year warranty, the Genesys 3.0 is built with Philips LUXEON LEDs and bundled with your choice of 20W or 38W driver – each powered under capacity to ensure upwards of 50,000 hours of service life.

In more LED T8 news, we’re adding a clear lens option alongside the traditional frosted covered Genesys. The clear lens transmits 10% more light and is currently only available by special order, so call us at 1(800)986-0169 to claim yours today!

via Energy Manager Today

 

A Sea Change for LED Lighting Manufacturers

When we first shifted LED Waves manufacturing operations stateside to debut a set of American-made LED PAR lamps back in 2012, we did so with three primary goals:

  1. Lower costs by eliminating middlemen and consolidating operations in-house – accelerating wide-scale adoption of energy-saving LED lights.
  2. Create jobs – especially in the green tech field, particularly for the United States (which was falling behind in this field at the time) and most importantly – for us personally – on a local level here in NYC.
  3. Exercise closer quality control of our in-house exclusives – helping diffuse the discontent some early adopters experienced from poorly made LED products.
Chicago.Illinois.LED PAR30.light bulbs
Chicago, Illinois:
The evolution of our LED PAR30 involved adding dimmability and upgrading from 7 LEDs to latest Philips single CoB.

While we figured we were oddities at the time – supplying and manufacturing LED lights in-house in the USA, despite our small company size – we didn’t realize we were on the ground floor of a global sea change in the SSL industry.

China has long dominated our field, handling the intensive process behind the manufacture of all energy efficient lighting – from the glass-blown curvature of CFL bulbs to the board population and highly nuanced assembly of LED replacements – with a seemingly endless supply of cheap labor. Government subsidies made it even harder for American businesses to resist the allure of Chinese manufacturing.

Slowly yet surely, though, China is losing its foothold and manufacturing has shifted back to the United States. Forbes has noted six commonalities among manufacturers affecting this change:

forbes chinese mfgThis does not portend the end of Chinese manufacturing – far from it. Rather, we’re seeing a leveling of the playing field – and on a higher level at that. Healthy competition between LED Waves among other American manufacturers (not to mention other global contenders) breeds higher quality, lower cost LED lights, with more jobs and better employee satisfaction. And remember, that’s what drove our decision to manufacture LED lights in the USA.

The World’s Thinnest LED (PLUS Our Thinnest LED Recessed Light)

Time’s running out on our PR15 UltraThin LED Recessed Light sale, so shop online now with coupon code WAVES for $10 this low-profile, high-end downlight. This offer expires at midnight tonight.

Graphical representation of the layering and light transmission of the 2-D LED. From U of Washington.

In other ultra-thin LED news, scientists at the University of Washington reported last month that they have created effective LEDs that are only 3 atoms thick. This was achieved by compressing flat sheets of  tungsten diselenide – the lowest profile molecular semiconductor known.

Ten thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair, this LED may serve immediate applications in nano-computers and wireless communications rather than general LED lighting for the home or workplace. But Jason Ross, co-author of the paper covering this incredible development, explains “This is a huge leap of miniaturization of technology, and because it’s a semiconductor, you can do almost everything with it that is possible with existing, three-dimensional silicon technologies.” Furthermore, this LED also appears to react with polarized light in unexpected ways that no other materials can – leading UW’s team to pursue other applications.

Our team here at LED Waves is extremely excited to hear how this story develops; perhaps one day it will lead to an even smarter, thinner PR15 UltraThin LED Recessed Light!

Lincoln Tunnel Gets LED Lighting Upgrade

LED Waves wants to know: Have you driven through the Lincoln Tunnel lately? Did you notice the new LED lighting in there? The tunnel now features 2,300 new LED lights studded along its 8,216 ft length.

These LED lights are part of a $2.1 million project upgrading the lights at all Port Authority properties, which also includes the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the Journal Square PATH station, the George Washington Bridge and the Holland Tunnel. The Lincoln Tunnel retrofit alone will save $283,000 a year in energy and maintenance, contributing to a total of $1.3 million in expected savings for the Port Authority.

The new industrial LED lights also improve visibility with higher CRI white light, transmitted in more focused beams. What do you think?

Before
Inside Lincoln Tunnel
After
imabe via New Jersey Journal http://connect.nj.com/user/njojjournal/photos.html

Now, if only they can do something about the traffic.

via The Jersey Journal

Meet the World’s First Single Molecule LED

This month, researchers from the Institut de Physique et de Chimie des Matériaux de Strasbourg made the outstanding announcement that they created a single-molecule LED. To grasp the significance of this development, perhaps we have to revisit the actual meaning of LED.

The Bridgelux Vero, used in the Owl Outdoor LED Wall Pack, more closely resembles lighting class LEDs on the market today. It features outstanding efficacy an a unique vertically integrated LED package.

LED is an acronym for Light Emitting Diode. A diode is an electronic cell. LEDs are actually semiconductor diodes – meaning they create light when an electric current passes through them.

So the resulting component need not resemble the LEDs you’d find on a typical replacement bulb or any other lighting-class LED fixture. But the term still applies even on a molecular scale – as long as it’s a Diode that Emits Light, you’ve got yourself an LED.

Artist rendering of electroluminescence from single molecule LED. Image credit: G. Reecht et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. (2014) via PhysOrg.

The researchers used a single polythiophene wire, composed of hydrogen, carbon and sulfur atoms. (These elements make great conductors, and are commonly used in lighting class LEDs.) One end of the polythiophene wire was attached to a gold surface, and the other to a scanning tunneling microscope. The researchers found that the negative charge of the electron, met with the positive charge in the wire, combined and turned that energy into a photon of light as it traveled towards the gold. (Read PhysOrg for more details.)

The single-molecule LED is unlikely to reach the general lighting market anytime soon, as it has more immediate applications in the development of nano-computers. However, this research illuminates the conductivity of materials which can create more powerful lighting class LEDs, and also grows our understanding of quantum physics – all ways that a little LED can make a BIG splash.

 

LEDs Shine Light on Brain Functions

Thanks to some small LED lights, we’re making big strides in unlocking the mysteries of the brain. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have developed a method of manipulating neuron proteins using an LED. By observing the resulting activity in mouse brains, they can determine each protein’s function – and point to the analog for humans.

led light brain mouseProteins are composed of chains of amino acids through which molecules flow. A precisely calibrated LED light applied to a protein causes a light-sensitive amino acid – called a Cmn – to fall off the chain. This alters the flow of molecules through the amino acids, effectively activating or deactivating the protein.

Controlling the proteins in this manner reveals the brain activities with which each one is associated. This is significant in illuminating the most complicated and mysterious organ we have in our bodies. Now that’s bright!