Solid State Lighting Rules Show Floor at LIGHTFAIR 2010

Toshiba LED A19 Lamps

Toshiba LED A19 Lamps

LIGHTFAIR International 2010 in Las Vegas this week (May 10-14) is awash with solid state lighting products.  In fact, the representation of LED lighting at the show is way out of proportion to the presence of LED lighting in the lighting market today.  An informal poll of another attendee suggests that 70 to 80 percent of the exhibits at this year’s LIGHTFAIR showcased LED lighting in a substantive way in one form or another.  Since this prevalence of LED lighting at LIGHTFAIR is entirely out of proportion to the current importance of LED lighting in today’s marketplace, we will be stepping up our efforts to analyze and understand the market penetration and technology trends for solid state lighting.

It will likely take longer than my press room reflections permit to properly address this question.  However, my visit to Toshiba’s large display was very revealing of both industry progress and direction.  The photo below sums up the LIGHTFAIR idea of LEDs.

This photo from the Toshiba booth features the wide range of Toshiba A19 (standard Edison base) LED lamps that Toshiba currently produces intriguingly displayed in the form of an A19 LED lamp (complete with the all important ribbed heatsink).

Even more interesting, but with a caveat from the Toshiba representative and his Japanese translating booth brother not to photograph the “prototype device,” was a lamp that was described as a “100 Watt Class” A19 style lamp with 85 lumen/watt efficacy.  This prototype dimmable lamp with a stated output of 1690 lumens, represents a significant achievement in the performance of a A19 replacement style lamp.  This prototype lamp performance should be compared to the 60 W class LED A19 LED lamps rolling out in response to the US Department of Energy’s “L Prize” competition (PDF file) requirements that are summarized as:

  • Efficacy of more than 90 lumens per watt, which exceeds the efficiency of all incandescent and most compact fluorescent sources today, which range from 10 to 60 lumens per watt
  • Energy consumption of less than 10 watts as compared to a 60 watt incandescent.
  • Output of more than 900 lumens, equivalent to a 60 Watt incandescent light bulb
  • Lifetime of more than 25,000 hours, which is 25X greater than a typical incandescent bulb
  • Color Rendering Index (CRI) greater than 90, which is a high measure of lighting quality
  • Color Temperature between 2700 – 3000 Kelvin, which is “warm” white light comparable to that of incandescent sources

However, as I proceeded to interview the Toshiba booth staff, the Toshiba representative turned the interview around and asked me if I thought the replacement lamp market is an important one.  Well, given the wide spread prevalence of LED A19 and other style replacement lamps (including fluorescent-tube-style LED lamps) at LIGHTFAIR 2010, one would likely conclude that the industry believes that replacement lamps are important.

I replied to the Toshiba representative with my view of the current situation.  I pointed out that consumers are currently facing a transition to more efficient lighting but have an investment in existing fixtures (luminaires).  Thus, I told him that while I believe that Edison base and other style replacement lamps will play an important role for the foreseeable future (5, 10 or 15?? years), the real advantage of solid state lighting will arrive when consumers and the lighting industry adopt purpose-designed solid state lighting systems.  Examples of these emerging more optimized lamp systems were also exhibited at LIGHTFAIR.  Two examples were GE’s Infusion™ and Molex’s Helieon™ LED lamp modules.  Integrated solid state lighting solutions such as these will lead to improved lighting cost of ownership propositions in future and will become widespread as these lighting solutions come to market at appropriate initial purchase price points.

Looking forward, consumers and the lighting industry must get from here to there in the years to come.  This is the challenge going forward and as LIGHTFAIR 2010 shows, the lighting industry is rising to the challenge.

About Phillip Wright