Light+Building Showcases Innovation

Occurring once every two years in Frankfurt, this anticipated show brings forth the newest developments from lighting powerhouses as well as the emerging players.

2012 Light + Building: A look at this Years Gathering

One could say that the latest edition of Light+Building was all about subtlety. Unlike when LEDs were first introduced for residential, light commercial, and decorative use several years ago, the featured innovations centered on refining the medium such as presenting more realistic life expectancy based on the application, increasing lumen output, and warming up the color to more closely resemble incandescent.

Osram executives noted that for many consumers, LED retrofits represent the simplest introduction to LED technology. Citing the results of a comprehensive study conducted on the future of the lighting market, Osram officials say the number of sold retrofits is expected to triple in the next five years, adding that in the beginning of the coming decade it is anticipated that this number will exceed the volume of compact fluorescent lamps.

Frankfurt light + building Featuring LED Lighting Technology

At Light+Building, Osram unveiled its LED Parathom Classic A75 Advanced bulb, which the company says is the first LED substitute for the 75-watt incandescent on the European market. It is estimated that customers could save approximately $485 (U.S.) per lamp over its 30,000-hour lifetime. The Parathom Classic A75 Advanced boasts a design that distributes the LEDs on surfaces around the lamp axis and radiate in all directions, allowing a coverage angle of 320 degrees. As a follow-up, Osram introduced its LED alternative for the 50-watt incandescent in June at a consumer cost of less than $25.

One of the largest categories for LED retrofits has been in the realm of roadway lighting with “smart” controls. These sophisticated systems are being used everywhere from major cities in the U.S. to China, India, and throughout Europe.  Osram adapted its light management system for residential use by introducing the IQ Light Control family, which allows users to select fixtures and portables individually or as a group to be turned on/off or dimmed. The remote control allows for a large selection of colors, plus up to eight scenes can be stored and recalled by pressing a button. The IQ light management system also includes an adapter with a remote switch/dimmer (for portable lamps or fixtures with plugs), a switching relay (for luminaires without plugs) for flush-mounted fitting, as well as a motion detector with integrated light sensor.

light and building 2012 Featuring LED LIghting by Vimar’s, Regent, Philips, Osram
Osram also improved upon its Oslon Square by developing a highly efficient light diode with compact dimensions of only 3 x 3 mm (approximately 0.11” x 0.11”) that is suitable for both interior and exterior lighting. The Oslon Square is offered in different versions with a variety of color temperatures. Depending on what is required, it can also be operated with different currents. According to the company, “If light within a luminaire is sent back to the LED, a special coating ensures that the light is reflected and can be utilized once again. In doing so, efficiency can be increased by five percent.”

The company famously unveiled an OLED fixture designed in collaboration with renowned German lighting designer and visionary Ingo Maurer back in 2008. Since then, Osram presented Orbeos, the first so-called “qualified” OLED product consisting of a panel with defined basic data, demonstrating what an OLED product could look like. At this year’s Light+Building expo, the OLED concept was taken further into more functional lighting. Researchers and developers at Osram have reportedly been successful at attaining new efficiency records both with the rigid and flexible OLED. At Light+Building, panels from the new pilot production line in Regensburg were installed showcasing 40 lumens per watt in an approximately 4.5” x 4.5” size – more efficient and larger than the products offered to date. In addition, booth visitors could take a closer look at the newly developed connection system that facilitates the simple panel assembly.

Lighting controls was very much on the minds of many exhibitors at Light+Building, however offering control plates that blend more seamless with today’s décor was a focus at Vimar, headquartered in Italy. Its new Eikon Evo series combines beautiful shapes and premium finishes with intelligent technology. There are seven options in styles and materials,  including four looks in aluminum and crystal.

Vimar’s new 4.3″ and 10″ video touch screens coordinate with the company’s By-me home automation system and offers simple and intuitive graphics. In addition to managing video door entry functions for homeowners to see what is going on outside their residence, the latest system has advanced functions that measure the temperature in real time and calculate the energy profile of the home, constantly monitoring consumption. A Web interface allows homeowners to manage their system on the Internet, from a PC, smartphone, or the latest generation tablet. Vimar products are distributed in the U.S. through DRSA in Riviera Beach, Florida.

Quite a few exhibitors of office lighting debuted versions of free-standing luminaires for work stations. These versions resemble floor lamps with a downward facing diffuser that can be positioned over the desk surface. Architectural lighting companies such as Waldmann Lighting and Luxo Lighting – both of whom have U.S. offices – offered such a product, along with other well-known makers such as Zumtobel.

A collaboration between Swiss company Regent Lighting and the Frankfurt-based architectural firm Schneider + Schumacher has brought about Regent’s Tweak CLD LED version that also provides uplighting. It is offered in 92- and 110-watt versions with up to 100 lumens per watt. The Tweak boasts a micro-prismatic CLD controlled luminance diffuser and superb glare control. It can also be specified in a T5 version.

Regent also introduced its Channel LED light strip product as office ceiling luminaires. The new possibilities for using light strips in the office settings are facilitated through the combination of LED and the light control element C-LED. As a result, Regent claims its Channel LED has high ergonomic lighting quality. To further complement and enhance this product, Regent offers its patent-pending APD (added performance diffuser). The result is that only one single mounting element is needed for the control and dispersion of the light. The combination of APD and LED in the channel will reportedly yield 40 percent greater efficiency APD can also be combined with T5 fluorescent lamps.

Without question, one of the most exciting attributes of LED as source of decorative lighting is the ability for product designers to create fixtures in shapes and with flexible characteristics in a way not possible with the more conventional light sources such as incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes. For example, the Rhythm collection designed by Arik Levy for the Spanish lighting company Vibia, is composed of different LED-powered “sticker” modules that can be configured into various horizontal or vertical combinations. Thanks to its rotation system, each sticker can rotate on an axis and be positioned at any desired angle. Each module is equipped with LED technology that enables high-lumen output and controlled light distribution, making the fixtures a unique, decorative solution for large spaces. (Vibia has U.S. distribution.)

Another crowd-pleaser at Light+Building was the lighting company behemoth Philips, which prominently featured its Lumiblade OLED technology to provide diffuse lighting in large areas. The company’s OLED Panel GL350 measures just under 5” x 5” and has 120-lumen luminous flux. According to Philips’ executives, it is powerful enough to be used in a table lamp or other forms of decorative lighting. It is offered in either a silver or a black housing.

Extremely thin (less than 2 mm thick) and flat, with little heat dissipation, the Lumiblade system can be embedded into most materials with ease to give designers the ability to incorporate the product into everyday objects, scenes and surfaces. According to Philips, the possibilities range from chairs and clothing to walls, windows, and tabletops. The concept of creating ambient lighting that becomes an integral part of an object or building was particularly appealing to designers and engineers visiting the booth.

As evidenced by the developments presented during Light+Building this year, the world of lighting as we know it is changing rapidly. It’s an exciting time to be in the lighting business and members of  entire community – from OEM providers and fixture manufacturers to end users – are eagerly waiting to see what innovations will be unveiled at the major lighting shows next year.

Please checkout these additional articles on Light+Building:

Light + Building in Frankfurt: Beauty in Technology

Light + Building in Frankfurt: LED LIghting

About Edward Frebowitz
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