Sapphire Industry Watch – June 5

  • LTP Takes Interactive Architectural LED Lighting to New Heights for Barratt London – LEDs Magazine: Lighting Technology Projects has completed work on another energy-efficient architectural LED lighting scheme. The Tower, which is the centerpiece of Barratt London’s new regeneration project, is a 27-story residential building which overlooks West London’s ‘Golden Mile’. The installment is comprised of 53 horizontal rows going up the ‘spine’ or the building, each containing six LED lights that are programmed to operate fully automatically.
  • Lower-Cost LEDs Offer Some Competition to Compact Fluorescent Lights – The New York Times: LEDs have long been more expensive than CFLs, but with costs beginning to level and consumer demand is starting to shift, experts say that demand for compact fluorescents will continue to dwindle, while demand will continue to rise for LEDs.
  •  Strategies Unlimited Reports Global Packaged LED Market to Reach $22B by 2019 – LEDs Magazine: Strategies Unlimited recently released a report investigating the global packaged LED market. The total packaged LED market grew 7.6 percent in 2014 to reach overall revenue of $15.6 billion. Lighting made up 34 percent of total revenue, which is almost the same as display backlighting and mobile applications combined, and is expected to reach 45 percent of total revenue by 2019.
  • Materials Innovations Help LEDs Turn On – Photonics Spectra: Innovations in sapphire manufacturing is helping cut cost and boosting performance for LEDs. While there are other suitable substrate choices for LEDs, the majority of LEDs today are using sapphire. Rubicon Technology’s CEO, Bill Weissman discusses how the industry shift towards large diameter wafers minimizes edge loss and how patterning of substrates is increasing light extraction.

FIFA World Cup: LEDs Celebrate Soccer

Iconic Christ the Redeemer statue lit up in LEDs to celebrate the FIFA World Cup in Brazil

Iconic Christ the Redeemer statue lit up in LEDs to celebrate the FIFA World Cup in Brazil

While the glitz and glamour of FIFA World Cup soccer remains on the field, others in Brazil are turning to LEDs to celebrate the tournament with light.  Even Brazil’s iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue is taking a role in the FIFA World Cup. The monument will be lit up with the colors of each country’s flag. This is possible due to a recent LED lighting retrofit of the popular tourist destination Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Completed in 1931, the famous statue had an LED light retrofit for its 80th birthday in 2011. Lighting company Osram replaced the outdated lighting system with 300 advanced LED projectors (from subsidiary Traxon Technologies).  These high-output spotlights are fitted with a special lens to precisely light the statue in alternating colors and different light intensities.

A special “Lighting Control Engine” aims each LED projector to light a particular part of the statue. The lighting can be programmed and controlled remotely providing energy efficient atmospheric lighting for the monument. The new lighting system saves time and resources for the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro.

For Further Reading & Viewing

The Guardian, Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer lit up in celebration of the World Cup – video, http://www.theguardian.com/football/video/2014/jun/12/rio-de-janeiro-christ-the-redeemer-lit-up-celebration-world-cup-video

NLB, Christ the Redeemer Monument in Rio de Janeiro Bathed in a New Light, http://www.nlb.org/index.cfm?cdid=10779&pid=10634

NDTV Sports, FIFA World Cup 2014 Opening Ceremony, Highlights: J-Lo, Pitbull Kick Off Biggest Mega-Event in Sao Paulo, http://sports.ndtv.com/fifa-world-cup-2014/news/225479-live-blog-fifa-world-cup-2014-opening-ceremony

ECD Solutions, Brazil’s football stadiums install LED lights ahead of summer tournament, http://www.electricalsolutions.net.au/case_studies/67109-Brazil-39-s-football-stadiums-install-LED-lights-ahead-of-summer-tournament

Schreder, SCHRÉDER, PARTNER FOR LIGHTING THE 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP STADIA IN BRAZIL, http://www.schreder.com/be-en/News/Pages/Schreder-partner-for-lighting-2014-FIFA-World-Cup-Stadia-in-Brazil.aspx

 

 

 

Cities Worldwide Tap LEDs to Make Skylines Sparkle

The world’s skylines are changing. They’re no longer bathed in white light or neon. Thanks to new programmable LEDs, today’s city skylines are transformed into rainbows of light promoting good causes, events and company brands in every color imaginable that can change nightly.

But first let’s take a look at how lighting in cities got its start. Skylines and exhibitions played an early role in promoting lighting. Perhaps one of the most notable points in the history of lighting is the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.

The Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 set the stage for promoting the wonder of electric lighting. In fact it was a big part in the race to light the world between Westinghouse backing Nicola Tesla (inventor of alternating current) and General Electric, owned by JP Morgan and Thomas Edison (inventor of light bulbs and direct current).

Westinghouse outbid Edison for the contract to light and power the fair. More than 200,000 white incandescent bulbs, using Tesla’s polyphase alternating current system, amazed crowds as they lit up the world’s fair at night. How did they beat out Edison? They under-bid Edison and GE banned them from using Edison light bulbs in retaliation for losing the bid. To light the fair, Westinghouse and Tesla sidestepped Edison’s light bulb patents with a new double stopper light bulb.

Here’s a photo from the Chicago World’s Fair at night. Just imagine how impressive this display of light must have been to a population used to gas lights and candles.

Chicago World's Fair 1893

Chicago World’s Fair 1893

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to today. LED lighting systems have given rise to a whole new look to a city skyline. Here are a few of the more colorful city skylines bathed in LED lighting.

New York, New York

New York City Skyline

New York City Skyline

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Skyline

Hong Kong Skyline

Chicago, IL

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline bathed in pink for Breast Cancer Month

Dubai

Dubai Skyline

Dubai Skyline

For Further Reading

NY Post, City’s towers in LED arms race to get brightest spot in skyline, http://nypost.com/2014/03/23/citys-towers-in-led-arms-race-to-get-brightest-spot-in-skyline/

City Lab, How LEDs Have Transformed the City Skyline, http://www.citylab.com/design/2013/07/how-leds-have-transformed-city-skyline/6382/

NY Post, High-tech LEDs turning NYC skyline into a lightshow, http://nypost.com/2014/01/15/high-tech-leds-turning-nyc-skyline-into-a-lightshow/

 

Sochi Olympic Venues Light Up with LEDs

The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia begin in just a few weeks on February 7th with the Opening Ceremonies.  The buzz about the Olympics is only just beginning.  This week Clearlysapphire focuses on the lighting for the games. Unlike many Olympic cities, Russia’s Sochi had to start from scratch and build their entire Olympic infrastructure from scratch. This did allow organizers to focus on building green, including installing green lighting using standards developed by the Russian Federation.  In total 200 buildings were built according to these standards, the first applied to construction in Russia, for the Games.

Organizers selected LEDs for lighting several key venues including Fisht Olympic Stadium, Bolshoy Ice Dome, Shayba Arena, and the Iceberg Skating Palace.  We’ll focus on two of them here.

The Bolshoy Ice Dome, to be used for hockey, features an innovative aluminum roof studded with 38,000 LEDs. Inspired by an ice drop, the roof will light up at night in vibrant colors like this photo. The facility will seat 12,000 people and will be used for concerts and sporting events after the Olympics. Fact:  Bolshoy means “major” in Russian.

Bolshoy Ice Dom, Sochi, Russia, lit up with LEDs, is home to ice hockey.

Bolshoy Ice Dom, Sochi, Russia, lit up with LEDs, is home to ice hockey.

The second building we’ll focus on is the Shayba Arena, also one of the ice hockey venues for the Olympics.  It features the latest in LED scoreboard technology installed by ColosseoEAS, a Slovakian company and a European leader in sports arena technology.  Shayba’s aluminum exterior features 45,000 programmable LEDs.  After the Olympics, the 7,000 seat Shayba will be dismantled and transported to another city in Russia for use as an ice sports facility.  Fact:  Shayba means “puck” in Russian.

Shayba Area is also home to Olympic ice hockey.

Shayba Area is also home to Olympic ice hockey.

For Further Reading

Official Web Site for Sochi 2014, http://www.sochi2014.com

Sports Illustrated, All-new Sochi Olympics venues a spectacle of lights, ice, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/-olympics/news/20140106/sochi-winter-olympics-stadiums/

Sports Illustrated, First look: Sochi Olympic hockey will live in lights and ice domes, http://nhl.si.com/2014/01/09/first-look-sochi-olympic-hockey-will-live-in-lights-and-ice-domes/

 

 

 

 

 

LED Applications – Celebrating the Royal Birth in LEDs

London and the world celebrated the birth of the latest heir to the British throne, Prince George Alexander Louis, in style with LEDs.  A number of landmarks in London turned blue to celebrate the occasion and even a few outside of the UK turned blue in honor of the future king.  For a video, go to this BBC story.

The 600 foot tall BT Tower used more than 500K LEDs for the announcement:

royal baby BT Tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The famous London Eye ferris wheel turned red, white and blue:

Royalblu_381

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fountain at Trafalgar Square marked the occasion in blue:

Trafalgar square

 

 

 

 

 

Even the London Bridge turned blue:

London Bridge in Blue

 

 

 

 

 

Not to be outdone, North America celebrated too with Niagra Falls turning blue:

Niagra Falls Blue

 

 

 

 

 

Toronto’s CN Tower:

Toronto CN Tower

 

 

 

 

 

Christchurch Airport in New Zealand turned blue too.

Christchurch Airport NZ

 

 

 

 

 

For Further Reading and Viewing

The BBC, Royal baby: London landmarks turn blue for birth, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23416932 (video)

The Daily Mail, The world turns a Royal shade of blue, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2374793/Kate-Middleton-gives-birth-Royal-baby-boy-landmarks-globe-illuminated.html

The Art of Light – James Turrell Brings LED Light to the Guggenheim

Aten Rein

A rendering of James Turrell’s ‘Aten Rein,’ which uses LED lights and make use of sunlight from the museum’s skylight. (Source: James Turrell/Andreas Tjeldflaat/Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation)

One of the world’s most renowned artists working with light, James Turrell, is transforming New York’s Guggenheim museum with LED light.  The exposition, “Aten Rein,” opened on June 21 and runs through September 25.  The exhibit, six years in the making, will transform the museum itself into an exhibit of light using LEDs.

Aten Rein uses LEDs to light the rotunda of the iconic architectural landmark designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  Turrell takes the natural light from the museum’s huge glass skylight and the museum’s unique shape to bathe the central rotunda area of the museum in a mixture of natural and LED light.  LEDs illuminate the five rings of the rotunda in bands of changing colors.  You can see how the column of light forms in the photo.

According to Turrell in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the name Aten Rein comes from the ancient Egyptian deification of light.  During the reign of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, the Aten became the principle god of ancient Egypt.  Aten was the name for the sun itself. Turrell, world famous for his exhibitions in light, is also the subject of simultaneous retrospectives at The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, CA.

For Further Reading

Wall Street Journal, Iconic Museum Seen in a New Light, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324688404578543720866432566.html

The Architectural Record, James Turrell at the Guggenheim, http://archrecord.construction.com/news/2013/06/130620-James-Turrell-at-the-Guggenheim.asp

The New York Times, How James Turrell Knocked the Art World Off Its Feet, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/magazine/how-james-turrell-knocked-the-art-world-off-its-feet.html?ref=jamesturrell

Lightfair 2013 – Observations about LEDs from Philadelphia

The LFI Innovation Award went to Philips BoldPlay  for Most Innovative Product of the Year

The Lightfair International trade show and conference was recently held in Philadelphia.  According to the organizers, LIGHTFAIR International (LFI) is the world’s largest annual commercial and architectural lighting trade show and conference.  Sponsored by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), the 2012 show had more than 24,000 registered attendees from 73 countries. It is clearly a big deal in the lighting industry.

Here’s a round-up of some analysis of LEDs at the show and a quick look at industry awards from LFI.

The engineers from Groom Energy made their annual trek to Lightfair and included an analysis of their trek in their blog.  This year, they noticed a difference in the quality of light from LEDs on display.  The light the LEDs on display put off was the more familiar, warmer light similar to the light put out by an incandescent. LEDs also got smarter with lighting controls evolved from being add-ons to being embedded. Jon Guerster, the author of the blog, speculates that California’s Title 24 that requires lighting controls may be a driver for all of the new smart lighting controls.  Finally, the Groom Energy team found that LED fixtures no longer looked distinct like LED fixtures, but sported the familiar look of incandescent, HID and fluorescent fixtures from the past. Now, you can’t tell that there are LEDs inside.

The LED analyst team from IMS Research traveled from London to Philadelphia and posted an analysis about the show on their LED blog.  IMS Analyst Jamie Fox noted that the show no longer featured that “Wow” moment.  He said this is due to the relative maturity of LED lighting.  The maturity and evolution of the LED market also led to two key observations from IMS.

According to Fox, there’s no clear winning sector in the American LEDs general lighting market.  Fox and his colleagues were told by LED manufacturers that residential, retail, outdoor, hospitality and others all have a “significant” part of the pie but none of them dominates. This was supported by IMS observations of the product mix on the show floor.  As for LED manufacturers, Fox noted that the “big three” — Nichia, Cree and Lumileds — are leaders in the American LED market and while global LED players like Samsung, Seoul Semiconductor, Osram and others play a role in the US, the “big three” are consistently mentioned as clear leaders in the market.

Finally, Fox noted that industry price decreases versus quality was an issue for many at the show.  According to Fox, “there is a significant worry though, both from my own observations of product, and from show floor conversations, that it is becoming too much of a lowest price fight at the moment, and not enough advancement on quality.”  Fox says low price may not ensure that a customer will be happy with the light quality from an LED bulb that doesn’t compare well to an incandescent bulb.

The LFI Innovation Awards program honored lighting vendors for innovation and design. Here are a few of the top winners:

  • PHILIPS (BoldPlay): Most Innovative Product of the Year—the program’s highest award, recognizing the most innovative new product
  • COOLEDGE LIGHTING (Light Sheet): Design Excellence Award—recognizing outstanding achievement in design
  • DOW CORNING CORPORATION (Dow Corning® Brand Moldable Silicones): Technical Innovation Award—recognizing the most forward-thinking advancement in lighting technology
  • PHILIPS (hue personal wireless lighting): Judges’ Citation Award—special recognition of an innovative product at the judges’ discretion

For Further Reading

Groom Energy, LightFair 2013: LED Lighting Is Warm, Smart and Looks Like What You Know, http://blog.groomenergy.com/2013/04/lightfair-2013-led-lighting-is-warm-smart-and-looks-like-what-you-know/

IMS RESEARCH, LED Blog, LEDs Continue to Evolve At LIGHTFAIR, http://www.ledmarketresearch.com/blog/leds_continue_to_evolve_at_lightfair

Industrial LED Lighting Gains Momentum

 

LED lighting in an industrial location (source, Greenbiz.com, http://bit.ly/YZFMbE)

IDC Energy Insights reports that the industrial market for LEDs is picking up momentum as companies looking to build new “smart” facilities or retrofit old ones choose energy efficient LED lighting.  Adoption of LEDs for industrial lighting is good news for the commercial sapphire market and others in the LED supply chain. More LED lighting means more demand for sapphire.

First, let’s start with some background.  Warehouses are particularly fertile ground for LED lighting since instant-on LED lights provide virtually no cycle time compared to traditional industrial lighting sources like HID (high-intensity discharge lamps) along with lower lifetime costs (including maintenance), higher efficacy and local utility incentives among others.

For those who watched the recent Super Bowl in New Orleans, the HID lights may be familiar.   After the electricity loss during the second half, the lengthy delay in the game – more than 20 minutes — was partially due to the cycle time of the HID lighting for the interior of the stadium.  In a warehouse situation, HID cycle time becomes a big issue as no one wants to wait for the lights to cycle and as a result, many warehouses just keep the lights on, running up energy costs.

IDC Energy Insights research analyst Casey Talon commented in her clean energy blog that LED lighting and “smart building” will be the disruptive technology for energy efficiency over the next three years.

Talon highlighted two big announcements in early January 2013 that demonstrate the momentum of smart building with LED lighting.  First, lighting leader Acuity Brands acquired Adura Technologies.  Adura’s Zigbee wireless mesh architecture enables individual fixture controls for cost and energy savings.  Secondly, Digital Lumens, a leader in the industrial lighting solutions market, announced new growth numbers and funding, that demonstrates the viability of the emerging smart building technology segment.  The company secured a new round of $10 million in financing and reported a footprint of 500 ‘large-scale’ installations representing 150% growth.

She notes in the blog that “fundamentally this news demonstrates that end users are increasingly aware of the benefits of energy efficiency to both their bottom lines and corporate goals.  The activity in these markets illustrates a growing acceptance of upfront costs to achieve longer term benefits.”

LED lighting combined with lighting control and management software offers the ability to track and manage the benefits of LED lighting.  Wireless controls and analytics help building managers understand when to have lighting on or off when employees are present, measure “free” ambient light from outside to cut down reliance on lighting, and know when and where to adjust brightness in areas when high precision work is needed.

Using analytics already is paying off.  According to one case study from Digital Lumens, Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services North America, a worldwide leader in helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul for Sikorsky, Eurocopter, AgustaWestland and Boeing helicopters, saved more than 72% on their annual energy costs with a Digital Lumens retrofit.

According to Talon, “If these early announcements are a signal, then 2013 may mark a tipping point in the smart buildings marketplace as customer awareness and investment begin to converge for broader adoption of intelligent energy management solutions.”

Further Reading

IDC Energy Insights, Illuminating the Smart Building, https://idc-insights-community.com/energy/clean-energy/illuminatingthesmartbuilding

Greenbiz.com, LED lighting gaining traction in commercial retrofits, http://www.greenbiz.com/news/2013/02/05/led-lighting-gaining-traction-commercial-retrofits

LED Light as Art

SHY Light Bronze by Bec Brittain

SHY Light Bronze by Bec Brittain

Now that we have looked into the technology and markets for LED-based tube lighting, let’s take a few moments to admire the creative side of LED lighting – a very artistic approach to using LED tubes as a medium.  The collection of LED lighting from New York City-based Bec Brittain, The SHY Light, uses thin LED tubes to redefine LED lighting that’s very different from your standard T-12 fixture.

Inspired by crystalline structures and the way they grow, the LED light fixtures can take on the shape of a pyramid or polyhedron and are configured in modules so that they can be reconfigured in a myriad of different ways depending on the space from retail to high-end homes.  The SHY LED lighting has been featured in LUX, Dwell and Interior Design.

After first working with fluorescent tubes, Brittain told the blog “You have been here sometime” that she turned to LEDs due to simpler wiring, but also for advances in the quality of light.  Her first priority is to design things that can be passed on to future generations.

The New York Times Magazine recently focused on Brittain and her new role as LED lighting designer.  With degrees in architecture and philosophy, she worked in lighting design with lighting design specialist Lindsey Adelman while at the same time designing braided leather jewelry and bug sculptures. “I’d like to explore the possibility of bringing the materiality and femininity of my other projects into my design work,” Brittain said. “You can only do so many things at once.”

For Further Reading

Times Magazine (The New York Times), Seeing the Light, http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/31/seeing-the-light-2/

You Have Been Here Sometime, A Conversation with Bec Brittain, http://youhavebeenheresometime.blogspot.com/2012/01/conversation-with-bec-brittain.html

Clearlysapphire.com, Deep Dive: LED Tubes Gain Traction, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=247

LEDs Play Role in October Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Chicago Skyline in Pink

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. It is hard not to notice pink ribbons and lights and even NASCAR race cars and NFL players sporting pink for breast cancer awareness.  If you live near a major city, you probably have noticed a building or landmark lit up in pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month this October.

Landmarks and even hotels around the world turned pink for October including Montparnasse Tower in Paris, Mexico City’s Angel of Independence, buildings at Haifa University in Israel and even Jumeirah Group, a global luxury hospitality management group and a member of Dubai Holding, turned hotel facades pink in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Mallorca and Shanghai.

LEDs help building managers take part in these types of events because they are easily programmed to turn a certain color or pattern. Here’s a sampling of the buildings and landmarks taking part in many of the campaigns worldwide, many of which are lit up with LEDs.

Philadelphia, PA — One of the most thorough and organized landmark lighting events took place in Philadelphia with more than 100 buildings sporting pink lights. During the month of October, the city skyline has been pink. One building even featured a pink ribbon in light.  You can view a video of the “Lights For The Cure” Skyline Tour.

Philadelphia’s Famed Boathouse Row

Chicago, IL – Chicago also shined pink for Breast Cancer Awareness in October.  Organized by the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation, 140 buildings in the Chicago area turned pink.

London, UK – Historic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, and Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square London went pink in support of Breast Cancer Campaign’s Action Month.

The Tower of London illuminated pink for Breast Cancer Campaign’s ‘Turn London Landmarks Pink’ for breast cancer awareness month

New York, NY – Leveraging a new LED lighting system, the Empire State Building turned pink from October 14 to October 16.  The famed George Washington Bridge also turned pink in honor of breast cancer awareness.

Washington, DC — President Barack Obama declared the month of October to be National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a presidential proclamation and turned the White House pink. The White House has become pink since 2009 for the yearly October event.

The White House Turned Pink