LED Lighting Shake Up

1 Apr 2012 by AVLScotland, No Comments »

So we’ve just invested in a whole load of new moving lights. We’re trying to reduce our Carbon Footprint while maintaining the high standard we have always strived to provide.  AVL have always followed LED technology closely and have been investing heavily in professional LED lighting for the last 5 years or so.  It’s really amazing how far this technology has come along in recent years.  As a maturing technology, Light-emitting Diodes or SMD (Surface Mount Diodes) are enabling lighting manufacturers to produce static and moving lights that rival their traditional halogen and discharge based siblings.  We’re now seeing lights that are brighter, lighter and physically smaller, yet they consume a fraction (literally ¼) of the power. Amazing!

On that note, we thought it would be interesting to let you know a little about the history of the now commonplace Light-Emitting Diode.

Though there is a lot of marketing hype around LED based products, believe it or not, they are not a new technology.  Electroluminescence as a phenomenon was discovered in 1907 by the British experimenter H. J. Round of Marconi Labs though it was a Russian, Oleg Vladimirovich Losev who created the first LED in 1927.

There weren’t many practical uses for them in the early days, notoriously red in colour, they were extremely costly to produce (IRO £130 each) and they didn’t produce much in the way of visible light.  Initially they were used in high-end electronic devices as indicators of their power stated, graphic equalizers in Hi-Fi equipment and visual displays of numbers and text through seven-segment displays.

Speed things up a little to the turn of the century and the global recognition of how much energy we use in lighting commercial and residential spaces, market leaders Phillips and Osram realised the opportunity that lay in converting this comparatively low power technology into a usable light source.  Not as easy as it sounds.  A diode is after all a semiconductor which requires rather complex control in order to make it behave like regular incandescent light sources.  An on-off state may suffice in signalling conditions but for ambient light and atmospheric environments, the flooded market of conventional LED replacements can not be dimmed.  Great for shopping centres or railway stations, not so hot for your living room or a nice restaurant.  Dimmable LED lighting for home and commercial use does exist though it’s either pricey or requires professional installation with control gear.

In entertainment, rental companies and television studios are investing more money in LED because of it’s perceivable visual effects, low power consumption and minimal heat output.  ITV’s hit show Take Me Out is a perfect example.

Today you can see LED replacements for conventional lighting in McDonalds Restaurants, Starbucks Coffee Shops and Kone Lifts, it’s not at all surprising that these market leaders are early adopters.

LED is the lighting and entertainment industries new sliced bread but, be in no doubt, very soon it’s going to be the norm.

 

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