Every year, our Access Fixtures team attends Lightfair International to see first-hand the latest in innovative lighting products and cutting-edge technologies. Below are the top trends we observed at Lightfair International 2015:
LED is the dominant light source.
This year, LED was virtually the only light source on display. The exceptions to this trend were a few companies that sell induction products, and one major HID lamp and ballast manufacturer displaying an extreme performance PSMH system. LED was everywhere, demonstrating that almost every company sees the benefits in the rapidly advancing technology.
LED lumens per watt (lm/W) is increasing.
For LED, 100 lm/W was once the holy grail. This is now the standard. Since the typical objective is to produce maximum lumen output for a given form factor, this could accelerate the adoption of LED technology.
LED performance data can be misleading.
Data presented by LED luminaire manufacturers is frequently based on lm/W of the chip, module, or luminaire. This is misleading because there is a significant difference between the lumen output of an LED chip vs. an LED module. The configuration in which the LED module is installed can also drastically affect lumen output. For instance, even clear glass reduces lumen output by ten percent. The only numbers that ultimately matter are net lm/W of the luminaire and the total lumens delivered by the luminaire.
LED light bars are the “new new thing.”
LED luminaire design is evolving quickly. Overall production costs drop rapidly when using a part that can be mass produced and used in multiple configurations. This is the inspiration for LED light bars; rectangular modules that include the LED chip on board or LED array, plus the heat sink and optics. To increase the amount of light, one need only increase the number of light bars.
A Chinese company is capturing the LED driver market.
Until now, the industry standard brand name drivers for LED luminaires were all manufactured in the United States. At Lightfair 2015, it became apparent that many companies had switched to a Chinese brand, Mean Well, that many now believe is superior. Their drivers can now be found in some of the latest luminaire designs.
TLEDs are becoming mainstream.
Designed as an energy-efficient replacement for fluorescent lamps, TLEDs have, in recent years, become a controversial topic in the lighting industry. Today, performance of TLEDs has improved while prices have dropped, resulting in a viable mainstream product category.
Purpose-built LED luminaires are replacing traditional styles.
Most LED luminaires were once based on traditional designs and used existing housings. LED luminaires that broke from that standard were quite expensive. Today, we’re seeing many more purpose-built LED luminaires, and not just those with LED light bars. New housings and designs are proliferating with LED light bars, LED chips on board, LED arrays, and LED modules. These are not your grandfather’s luminaire designs.
Current luminaire manufacturers are not leading the pack.
The LED luminaire market is open for the next great company to win. Major LED chip producers, driver manufacturers, and luminaire housing manufacturers sell components to other companies as well as make their own luminaire designs. Unique designs are evolving and the market is anybody’s to win.
Fluorescent troffers are obsolete.
Prices on LED troffers are expected to plunge in the near future. The expectation is that we will see quality LED 2×2 troffers, and possibly even 2×4 troffers, to fall under $100 in the near future. The result is likely to be the end of the current office standard, the fluorescent troffer.
Solar-powered LED luminaires are on the way.
Solar-powered LEDs and area lights are now entering the market. The benefits are the ability to run off the grid, zero energy cost, and eliminating the need to run power to each luminaire. While the output of these luminaires is still limited by the output and storage capacity of battery packs, this market is expected to rapidly evolve.