Is Your LED Lighting Project Headed For Failure?
Due diligence matters when it comes to your LED lighting project
We’re all familiar with the salesperson giving the LED lighting project pitch, whether their product can deliver on the promises or not.
- LEDs can drastically cut lighting utility costs for businesses.
- Longer life translates to lower maintenance costs.
- Because of their instant on/off characteristics, they are an ideal candidate for further savings via motion sensors.
- They have no mercury, so they eliminate associated hazmat disposal costs.
Unfortunately, salespeople are compensated for selling their products, not for being your trusted partner. The reality is that many LED lighting brands aren’t up to the task.
It’s been our experience that businesses that go with high-volume, cheaply designed and made overseas solutions fail to realize the anticipated benefits of their LED lighting initiative due to premature product failure. This is a more pervasive problem in LED lighting than you may realize. Why? Primarily it’s cultural. Many overseas manufacturers focus on price alone. They use inferior materials and craftsmanship to produce product as cheaply as possible. But these designs tend to be thermally inefficient, which routinely leads to sub-par performance and premature failure.
How can this be? Simple. Many manufacturers are trying to meet a price point rather than solve an environmental application problem for the customer.
To better understand the issues involved, it helps to break all LED fixtures into two parts – the light engine and the AC/DC power supply. Today, we’ll start with the light engine, which is simply the LEDs, the LED board and the heat sync. In our next segment, we’ll focus on the AC/DC power supply usually referred to as the driver.
The problem is in the product design.
Contrary to common opinion, LEDs produce a lot of heat on the backside of the LED at the junction point with the LED board. And LEDs are incredibly sensitive to heat. Before you know it, heat degradation can lead to inadequate performance, lumen loss and premature failure.
In fact, according to Energy Star, thermal management is generally the single most important factor in the successful performance of an LED over its lifetime. The higher the temperature at which the LEDs are operated, the more quickly the light will degrade, and the shorter the useful life will be.
What you need to know about heat and LED lighting.
When it comes to LED lighting for industrial and commercial applications, there are five main heat sources you need to be concerned with:
- Heat from the light emitting diode itself
- Heat from the driver
- Ambient heat from the surrounding environment
- Radiant heat sources, such as molten metal, flames, radiant heaters, etc.
- External contributing factors, such as dust and debris build-up on the heat sync that acts as an insulator and prevents the heat sync from doing its job, causing LED junction point temperatures to climb to permanently damaging levels
Don’t have high heat environments at your facility? Depending on the fixture design, your operation could still be negatively impacted. A poorly designed light engine may not be able to reduce the heat sufficiently to deliver promised light expectancies even in room temperature environments.
In order to reap the benefits you seek from your LED lighting project, you want to make sure the products you choose have taken these heat factors into consideration and are thermally efficient enough to adequately address the issues.
To help you navigate the technology options successfully, our next installment looks at drivers – Will your LED lighting AC/DC power supplies survive in the real world?
For more information about how to ensure the success of your high-efficiency industrial LED lighting project, get all the skilled professional resources needed and maximize the project’s benefit to your organization, contact us today or visit wasmerco.com.