At the 2012 Hong Kong Lighting Fair, buyers from North America, Europe, and Scandinavia marked interest from manufacturers seeking Energy Star and Zhaga certification.
The Autumn Edition of the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair, held at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre in late October, hosted a record-breaking 2,300 exhibitors from 37 countries and regions. There was also ample representation from American and Canadian lighting companies visiting the fair as well many from Germany, Australia, Scandinavia, Great Britain and some traveling from as far away as South America.
What are the North American companies and designers looking for? Unique sources for component parts, LED developments, and innovative products. With the LED technology rapidly changing, there were many product launches that were not ready in time for the April Light+Building fair in Frankfurt or at LIGHTFAIR International in May.
The daily educational seminars that covered topics as diverse as how to obtain Energy Star and Zhaga certification and the state of LED adoption throughout the world to new developments in the LED field were filled to capacity, necessitating an overflow room for each session.
One of the first-time exhibitors is a name very familiar to the American lighting industry: Satco Products, which showed the latest introductions to its Kolourone brand at the Wooree Lighting booth. Wooree Lighting is a highly respected Korean lighting manufacturer and is Satco’s partner in the Kolourone line.
One of the most attention-getting products on display was a brand new circular fixture module, which is part of the company’s Motivation line. “This is a game-changer for what can be done in the entry level LED category,” explains Brian Brandes of Satco. The product answers a demand that Brandes heard at an electrical distributors meeting this year where there was a call for project-oriented LED lighting that can address the multi-family market. “They are going away from CFL,” Brandes notes.
KolourOne was also displaying a complete fixture called Sprint that can fit into narrow-socket recessed lighting applications. “The LED is below the ceiling line, so that lowers the operating temperature,” Brandes points out. “I think, overall, our design style for KolourOne is identifiable; it’s not a me-too.” American visitors to the KolourOne booth were able to see a preview of what will be available in the U.S. soon. On display was an A19 prototype for a 13-watt omni-directional lamp that is under development.
One of the most impressive booths belonged to Diamond Life, a premium crystal and art glass lighting manufacturer that is well-established in Europe and Asia. The company has partnered with Kalco Lighting to create the sister company Allegri, which has a permanent showroom at the Dallas Market Center and has distribution throughout North America. Diamond Life’s factory excels at custom fabrication for the hospitality market as well as residential. Those same capabilities are available to Allegri’s North American customers.
Strolling the aisles of the show were quite a few familiar faces (manufacturers and retailers) from the U.S. and Canada, who are typically seen at Dallas Market and LIGHTFAIR. They were interested in investigating the latest technology in LEDs as well as exploring new sources for products and materials.
As previously mentioned, the timing of the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair was an opportunity for manufacturers to present innovations that were just debuting on the market plus it was a global platform to heighten their brand awareness in the cases of companies that might have been overlooked or overshadowed during the mega-size Light+Building show earlier in the year.
Megaman®, which has a partnership with Acuity in the U.S. under the ABL brand, received a Best of the Fair award for its high-performance T8. The company also featured what it calls a “true 100-watt replacement” using 16-watt LEDs that can be ordered in warm white, offers 95 lumens per watt, and can last 15,000 for residential use, which it estimates as 10-15 years. The new bulbs have a small heat sink, permitting 330 degrees of illumination.
Megaman has also introduced a Zhaga-certified product. Fred Bass, managing director of Neonlite International Ltd., the brand owner of Megaman® explained, “Zhaga creates specifications that enable interchangeability of LED light sources made by different manufacturers. Our Zhaga-certified Megaman LED light engines, the TECOH® CFx series, give buyers of light engines and luminaires increased confidence that the light engines are easily replaceable and commercially available. With the highest certified lumen package worldwide, this TECOH® range offers fixture manufacturer partners the ideal solution; incredible performance with peace of mind.” The manufacturer also unveiled its Dimmable LED AR111 reflectors, which are an alternative to the 75-watt halogen AR111 reflector lamps and deliver thermal control for optimal performance in a similar size to the halogen AR111.
Epistar, which is Taiwan’s most well-known LED chip maker, debuted a patented chip solution for candelabra lamps that will reportedly last 20,000 hours. Representatives from Epistar said the company hopes to partner with a company in the U.S. as well as Europe and an official announcement will be coming soon.
Executives from Tridonic said that some of its products that were introduced at Light+Building are now available and that the company will be focusing on the U.S. market in the near future.
Philips unveiled a product that was not ready at the time of Light+Building this year: the next generation of its Rebel Plus product line which can operate in hotter temperatures (77⁰F to 185⁰F). The company also put a greater emphasis on single color binning at a consistent 3000K.
Vossloh-Schwabe, a European company that used to exhibit at LIGHTFAIR but now is part of Panasonic, introduced a new LED chip plus new drivers that could reduce lighting usage by 40 percent in off-peak street lighting applications.
Neo-Neon, which owns American Lighting in the U.S., has concentrated on making its LED products closer in price to CFL. The company also debuted a new T8 tube as well a downlight. Neo-Neon’s general manager, Lawrence Chan, said the company saw heavy traffic at the fair. “We have received more inquiries from India, the Middle East, and Australia,” he noted. “The Australian government started to levy a carbon tax, while electricity tariffs are extremely high in India. Buyers from these countries are therefore eager to look for LED products to save energy and reduce electricity consumption, creating a lot of business opportunities for our company.” Chan added that the market potential in emerging markets such as India and the Middle East “should not be overlooked given their rocketing economic development in recent years.”
Civilight, which exhibited at LIGHTFAIR this year, has a partnership with Cree® as well as Bridgelux. “We work mostly in the U.S. on a project basis, because it is too difficult to enter the retail market due to pricing since we are more high-end,” a representative said. “We do some Las Vegas hotel, shop, and restaurant projects. We really haven’t brought our name to the public,” he added. The company also does OEM business and supplies the V-light to Walmart and Home Depot. Its new patented HaLED™, which resembles a halogen spot, was a hit at the fair. It has 400 lumens, a CRI of 93, and is dimmable. “This product gives people who love halogen an alternative,” the spokesman said.
For the Hong Kong exhibition, Taiwan-based Everlight was focused on getting its name out there as a provider of a complete lighting solution package. The company has distribution in Texas and in Florida (for its fixtures). Its sub-brand, Zenaro, was shown at LIGHTFAIR and included both fixtures, light engines, and packages.
Also from Taiwan is Lextar, which is reportedly one of the few LED makers with vertical integration from chip to fixture and control system and is related to the laptop manufacturer Acer. The company debuted a flat panel light using LEDs that closely resembled an OLED fixture. Lextar offers downlights with a CRI of 95 that is close to incandescent light and relies on the inclusion of a blue chip instead of the more common red color. It has a partnership with Intermatix in the U.S. and is working towards developing more Zhaga-certified products.
AZ-elite, from Singapore, has been in the LED market for four years in the public housing sector. At the Hong Kong fair, the company introduced an intelligent lighting control system that is reportedly easy to implement using existing wires and can be controlled via a smart phone or computer. The company does not have distribution in the U.S. yet, but is looking for a partner.
At OptiLED, the theme was “sustainable quality that lasts.” This company also has gained a solid reputation in the public housing sector and is now looking to expand its reach. Its strip light products have been sold at Home Depot in six-foot kits that include a strip, power supply, and dimmer. To cater to the DIY market, the company has posted videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to install its strip lights.
Taiwan-based Comet International Corp. won the Best Eco Design Award at the first Hong Kong International Lighting Products Award. The company exports mainly to Europe, the U.S., and Japan, but has noticed an increase in customers from emerging markets such as India, Central America, and South America, as well as Mexico. “For exhibitors like us, this fair is not just a platform for sourcing and business negotiations, but also an effective channel to promote new products to buyers from every corner of the world,” said Tony Lu, Comet International’s general manager.
Small Orders Welcome
This year there was a new feature at the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair, designed to meet the sourcing needs of a wider range of buyers. A Small-Order Zone was set up at the fair with more than 1,000 high-quality products from 200+ suppliers. The zone drew more than 12,000 buyer visits, and generated about 8,000 business inquiries.
Canadian buyer Peter Richardson said the Small-Order Zone shorted his sourcing time. “In the past, we ordered large quantities which required us to spend more time on finding suitable suppliers, conducting several rounds of in-depth negotiations with potential suppliers and even visiting their factories on the Chinese mainland to check their production quality so as to reduce sourcing risks,” he explained. “If suppliers are willing to accept smaller orders, we can place a trial order for smaller quantities, allowing us to evaluate the products and service quality offered by suppliers and test market responses. By doing so, we can shorten our sourcing time, enabling us to respond more quickly to rapid-changing market needs.”
In an educational session titled “LED Lamps in the 21st Century,” Fred Bass, managing director of bulb manufacturer Megaman, stated,” The tipping point for LED is approaching for mass adoption in general lighting; it’s just about here.” As many manufacturers are concerned with offering the most lumens per watt, Bass cautioned, “It’s useful lumens that we need. If the lumens do not go where we want them to go, then that is not green. That’s wasteful. It should be about how you control those lumens. High lumens per watt does not always mean high efficacy. It could also be light pollution.”
Bass told the audience that having a retrofit product can be desirable. “Retrofits mean you have the ability to change something. It’s future-proof, updatable, and sustainable.” As technology improves, modules can be replaced with a better-performing model. For example, he said, “LED technology has been changing every six months. My cell phone is [state of the art] today and it will still be working in five years, but will I still want it then? No, I will want to upgrade my phone to the newest technology.” The LED industry is no different.
This 24K gold-plated chandelier by Diamond Life was created especially for the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair to showcase the factory’s finishing strengths.
Todd Phillips of Quoizel and product designer Sergio Orozco made certain to stop by the Hong Kong Lighting Fair to explore sourcing opportunities.
This brand new LED bulb called LEDISONG by Zhejiang Ledison Optoelectronics Co., is particularly noteworthy because it is designed with no metal heat sink. It is dimmable, omni-directional, and closely resembles an incandescent A19.
Lighting industry veteran Jim Fleming of Camelot Group, who was perusing the show looking for new sources, was thrilled with this giant table lamp. “This would make a great marketing item or display feature within a lighting showroom or outside of the store in a Sunbrella® fabric,” he says.