With the advent of solid-state technology in the lighting arena, lighting manufacturers have been challenged in their delivery of LED luminaires. To date, manufacturers' research and development for new LED fixtures has encompassed everything from the source to the circuitry to the heat sync to the housing. It is an exhausting process that is not always in tempo with the rate of LED technological advancements. But now, as manufacturers and designers become more familiar with the technical properties of LEDs and what they mean for architectural lighting applications, a new generation of LED products has arrived on the market that helps bridge the gap between keeping up with technology and streamlining the luminaire-development process.
Referred to as modules, these pucklike components incorporate LEDs, heat syncs, and drivers so that OEMs (original engineering manufacturers) can focus on the luminaire housing rather than be mired down in electronics and dissapating the heat generated from these tiny, but powerful, light sources.
The spring 2010 lighting trade-show season saw the introduction of LED modules from major players in the lighting industry: Cree; GE Lighting; Helieon (a Bridgelux and Molex partnership); Philips; Osram Sylvania; and Xicato. Not only do these modules present a new form-factor that better responds to the technical characteristics of LEDs, they also provide more flexible solutions, as they can be interchanged between housings, replaced for maintenance purposes, or upgraded as LED technology changes. While each module approaches its task of illumination with ever-so-slightly different features, all together they set in motion a new way of thinking about LED fixture design.
GE LIGHTING INFUSION LED The Infusion module from GE offers easy installation through its twist motion—once inserted into place, thermal and electrical connections are made. Fully dimmable, it features the ability to adjust light levels and wattage options with a wattage-adjust switch. The module can also adapt to varying color temperatures, beam angles, and light levels. GE Consumer and Industrial's LED business unit, Lumination, purchased this next-generation LED-module technology from Journée Lighting, a California-based LED fixture designer and manufacturer. gelighting.com
Philips' family of Fortimo LED engines deliver efficient white light with high color consistency. Designed with a range of intelligent drivers, the Fortimo line adapts to the light engine to produce the right level of light output. The Fortimo Twistable with an integral driver is geared toward architectural-lighting applications in hospitality environments. The Fortimo SLM engine is designed for color-demanding installations and provides a CRI of 90-plus. The Fortimo DLM (shown) delivers between 500 to 1500 lumens at 3000K for a broad range of lighting applications. philips.com
HELIEON LIGHT MODULE
Combining solid-state technology from Bridgelux and interconnect technology from Molex, the Helieon module offers a plug-and-play system in a separable source and socket format. With a turn-and-click installation, the Helieon delivers between 500 and 1500 lumens in both a 3000K warm-white and 4100K neutral-white option. The modules are also offered with narrow, medium, and wide flood-beam spreads, and it is the only market-available module where the manufacturer offers a three-year warranty. helieon.com
XICATO SPOT MODULE and ARTIST SERIES
The Xicato Spot Module and Artist Series both consist of an LED array within a mixing chamber located below a separated phosphor plate, which increases light quality in terms of both uniformity and color consistency. Delivering 700 lumens (when run at 700mA), they are offered in color temperatures of 2700K, 3000K, and 4000K, and have a CRI of over 95. The module is also IP66-rated for wet locations. xicato.com CIRCLE 143
CREE LMR4 MODULE
Cree's LMR4 module integrates driver electronics, optics, and thermal management all in one small package. According to the manufacturer, it has an anticipated life of 35,000 hours while consuming 12W of power and can be dimmed to 5 percent. It is available in 2700K, 3000K, 3500K, and 4000K, and with the company's EasyWhite technology has a CRI of 80-plus; with the company's TrueWhite technology, a CRI of 90-plus can be achieved. cree.com