Tuesday, September 21, 2010

5 Most Common Problems with Induction Lighting | DoItYourself.com

Here's a post on induction lighting.

5 Most Common Problems with Induction Lighting | DoItYourself.com

Induction lighting uses a special type of fluorescent bulb. Induction lights use a magnetic field generator to electrically excite the phosphorus coating on the inside of a glass tube. This type of lamp offers several financial and environmental benefits over traditional electric fluorescent bulbs. Induction bulbs are more energy efficient and last longer. An induction bulb produces more light for a given amount of electric power than either compact fluorescent bulbs or light-emitting diodes. High quality bulbs can operate for 80,000 to 100,000 hours. The bulbs warm up much faster and with less energy than sodium vapor bulbs. This has led some municipalities to adopt induction lamps for street lighting. However, the technology is fairly new and still undercommercialized. Induction lights have been neglected in favor of LEDs by important policymakers such as the U.S. Department of Energy. Problems still exist with the technology.

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/5-most-common-problems-with-induction-lighting#ixzz10B8h1dZF

I think it is fair to say that there are problems still exist with the technology. 99% of the induction sold in the USA are made in China - and from user reports i have gathered from Australia to Germany, the Chinese ballasts, not the bulbs, are the most problematic and fundamentally challenged area.

Largely because the technology was copied - from Philips and Osram, the Chinese R&D have failed to improve upon that 20 years old ballast design and electrical circuitry. If you understand the fundamentals of induction and magnetism, you will find that the Chinese ballasts are so technically backwards in this digital world. Open one of these ballasts and you will travel back to the analog days, listening to radios and 8 tracks.

Unfortunately, there are no one in China that can upgrade this ballast to a digital world. If China is the world factory, then why has production not been scaled up to make this technology cheaper? If anyone can do it, it's the Chinese that can mass produce and mass discount? Then why is that not happening? My theory is that they can't - the production know how is so low that there are very little competent manufacturers, and even amongst those who know it, the failure rate is so high that it cannot be mass produced.

By mass produced i mean in the scale of CFL manufacturers which, in China, produces 20 million units in a month, in a decent size and competent facility. The numbers that i have heard from Chinese induction manufacturers are 1 million units per year. Why 240 times less?

If they can scale up production, we will see prices falling and a successful commercialization of the technology - which is already half the price of LED equivalents.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

New Interview with Michael Ng, CEO of Amko SOLARA Lighting Co.

So it’s been almost two years since your last interview, what are your thoughts on induction lighting and the market place now?



Induction lighting is now being recognized as a truly long life lamp with real world energy saving potentials higher than LED. It is 50% more efficient than CFL’s, and cuts energy usage of traditional lamps like mercury vapor and high pressure sodium by half or more. Its tested lifespan of over 30,000 hours makes it a reliable solution for hard-to-maintain areas. With a rated lifespan of 60,000 hours, it is also a very environmentally friendly solution that symbolizes reduction, recycle, and reuse.



At Amko, we continue to offer high performance induction lamps and fixtures with greater stability and consistency than our competition. Our luminaires are redesigned to bring out the best of induction lighting and they are manufactured either in Taiwan for high performance or in China for cost efficiency. We offer 5 year warranties on our lamp and fixture, 3 years on our ballasts, though we will extend that warranty at a fee for 2 additional years, basically sending you replacement units for those that have reached its end of life. We are also planning on introducing premium ballasts that carry a 5 year warranty later this year.

There have been a lot of new induction lamp companies starting up in the US over the past few years. What do you think of the current explosion of induction lamp competition?



Well, the reality is that there is only a hand full of, or five to be exact, manufacturers of induction lamp – that includes OSRAM, Philips, Matsushita, HongYuan (aka LVD) and Amko SOLARA, fully owned subsidiary of Amko Industrial – one of the largest shareholder of JK Yaming.



While the explosion of induction lamp companies in the US is exciting and may very well helped popularized the idea, we did get feedback that people are fed up with these companies posing as manufacturers when they are in reality just import/export companies with little knowledge on induction lights. We do not agree with their strategy.



If you observe closely, you will find that those claiming 100,000 hours are those relying on marketing, rather than a serious technical understanding of induction lighting. You will also notice that they don’t offer anything more than what the Chinese manufacturers are exporting to them because they don’t have the knowhow or development ability to bring out the best in induction lighting. There are much more than just a light bulb when preparing government projects – for instance our projects in Taiwan and Mexico contains restrict requirements in lighting distribution, glare reduction, ambiance temperature, and IP rating inspections.



We always thought that the keys to success with induction lighting was firstly the adaptation of an international standard, followed by genuine production capabilities, and lastly a sound and far reaching infrastructure that delivers both product and service to the consumers.



The first key took almost ten years in the making, with us leading the national standards all across China and now even Taiwan. Our continued efforts in researching the various generations of induction lamps allowed us to surpass every competitor out there, most of which abandoned induction lighting long ago.



Back in JK’s headquarters in Singapore, our board of directors continued to reinvest all of our profits back into expanding the production facilities, which now spans over five locations and totals more than 60,000 sqm (6,000,000 sqft). We designed the entire line of production equipment in house and we made it very scalable. Unfortunately we cannot show it to anyone, let alone make a video on it.



Lastly, we insisted on developing strong and competent distributors who will not only serve the market but also provide warranty services, RMA, and maintenance needs. We identified distributors who possess a strong technical background and understanding of control systems and electrical systems and trained them to understand what brings out the best of induction lighting – what makes it a truly environmental and eco-friendly light. They are also well funded and well resourced to bring our product and service to the different ends of the world, closing the gap between the end users and an overseas manufacturer like us.



We are fortunate to have a global company like Havells Sylvania become our distributor for Amko SOLARA. Likewise we are very lucky to have regional distributors in Latin America, North America, and Europe promoting our technology and providing services to the end users locally.



Together with JK, we did 12 million USD on induction lighting alone in 2008 (on 187 million SGD, or 128 million USD). We are looking at 60 million USD in 2009 and we already recorded 21 million USD in the first quarter. We will continue to work with the best distributors that are committed to our product and have the resources to serve those interested in our product.

What about those new induction companies in China? Do you foresee some of them rising to capture some of your market share?



Yes and no. They are doing very well domestically in China, but not in a commercial sense. They are seeking capital funding to bring their prototypes to the next level, and have found several Taiwanese and Hong Kong merchants to do so. Most of these companies are opened by engineers that were under the employment of HongYuan (LVD), in essence depleting HongYuan’s pool of R&D talent. These companies do not even have small production line and most are struggling to make their lamps operate at the lower frequency of 210-250 kHz. I don’t see any decent products from any of these companies because they are too small and they don’t have enough R&D and knowhow to really bring their product to the market.



One company however, ZhengShin, is well funded by its parent company, and has invested considerably into induction lighting. They also lured some of my best employees over, and tried to copy both our marketing materials, including our website and our second generation induction lamp designs. Nonetheless, I have high expectations for them and we shall see if their efforts come true at the end of 2009.



That said, I don’t think any of the Chinese competitors are positioned to take any significant market share from us in the short term. They are still years behind us in too many aspects.

What makes induction lighting so suitable with sensor controls?



Sadly we did not discover this ourselves, but rather learned from our customer who was looking for a better solution to employ motion sensors. They were unsatisfied with the delayed on/off limits with mercury vapor and metal halide lamps, at the same time they are very upset that fluorescent lamps and CFL’s experience shortened lifespan when you frequently turn the lamp on and off in a high traffic zone. Induction lamp on the other hand delivered on both problems they are currently facing and became the obvious choice for sensor equipped controls.



I think the point that we learned here is not to be caught up in selling what we want to deliver from our range of products. The key here is to listen to the problems and let the problem (high temperature, high failure rates, maintenance difficulties, energy costs, etc.) tell us what to do. In this particular case, the customer was heard and they got to know our product and the problem solved itself.

Then what makes induction lighting so suitable with alternative energy sources like solar and wind?



Induction lighting is an efficient source of light, and it is very suitable for renewable energy because it brings the costs down associated with solar panels and wind turbines. We use nearly half as much energy as CFL’s and our lamps overpower LED’s. Therefore our panels and batteries are smaller and our costs are lower. The extremely long and proven lifespan of induction lighting makes it a very environmental product by cutting down waste in replacement bulbs, packaging material, and shipping costs. Amko’s range of induction lighting is unique that it is the only induction lamp that is dimmable via an open source 0-10V control, and we also will be offer a wired PLC and a wireless 2.4 GHz control system (ECLIPSE) to compliment our system. Both are highly reliable and flexible to be integrated into existing control systems, making it easy to monitor and inspect on the new installations of street lamps that have solar panels and wind turbines integrated into the pole.

What makes your induction lighting more competitive than the others?



I think the most distinctive characteristic about Amko SOLARA is our openness to people seeking more information and our candid approach to the advantages and disadvantages of induction lighting. We do not recommend induction lighting to every solution – there are situations where traditional lighting such as T8 and T5 excels induction and there is no point for the customer to switch to induction. There are also areas where LED is the obvious solution, and we always recognized that LED will be a winner down the line. The key to LED though, is in thermal dynamics and material science, and while most US institutes and labs know what that means, manufacturers and integrators in Asian countries have yet to understand that because they lack space / missile (more specifically, intercontinental ballistic missiles) technology.



We generally find our customers divided into two focused interests. The first wishes to replace high pressure sodium lamps (street and tunnel) with our lamps (400W HPS -> 150W SOLARA) to save energy and maintenance costs (10,000 hrs -> 50,000 hrs).

The second group is interested in new alternative lighting sources – LED or induction. They tend to be new installs or replacements of T8/T12 or CFL installations. Most chose induction in the end because our prices are more competitive, our products are more stable and do not burn out after 5,000 hrs. We are working on positioning induction directly against LED to replace them – and also at the lowest end of the pricing spectrum.



For instance, one of our customers made the following comparison of 600mm x 600mm indoor luminaires for offices:



LUNARA 40W gives an output of 2667 lumens – nearly 67lm/W. In our luminaire, we used a brushed reflector and installed a 2mm diffuser to reduce the glare – hence the 53% efficiency. Without the diffuser it is nearly 70%. Without revealing too much, the Korean LED was quoted 180 USD on average, while the Chinese LED was quoted at 80 USD. Our 40W lamp is priced the same as the Chinese LED.



One thing that we repeatedly told our customer is that induction lighting is a 60,000 hours solution, not 100,000 hours. That is a theoretical lifespan and it completely disregards the CIE recommendation of replacing lamps once they have reached a 30% or greater lumens depreciation. In our marketing material, the luminances that we use in our data are all initial lumens, after 100 hours. With induction lighting you should expect no less than maintenance of 82% of the initial lumens after 10,000 hours. Yes, the lifespan of the bulb is theoretically longer, but we warranty our lamps for 5 years, not 10, which in my opinion is just reckless. They should have a useful lifespan of 60,000 hours when lumen maintenance drops to 70%. Our ballasts are warranted for 3 years, but we are working on a new ballast design for 5 years.



Induction lamps are shaped uniquely and therefore new fixtures had to be designed to accommodate and maximize the performance of induction lighting. There is a lot to design and enhance on induction lighting such as more efficient fixtures and control systems. 50% of Amko SOLARA’s fixtures are unique to us and you can’t find that in the market. They are completely redesigned to maximize the fixture efficiency for induction lamps, from the reflectors to the lens coating and filters. Our customers come back to us after they’ve tested our competitor’s fixtures because they find our fixture and lamps are of higher quality and consistency.



Again, Amko’s range of induction lighting is unique that it is the only induction lamp that is dimmable via an open source 0-10V control. The wired PLC and a wireless 2.4 GHz control system (ECLIPSE) compliment our system. Both are highly reliable and flexible to be integrated into existing control systems. Furthermore, the control units can also be retrofitted into any existing Amko SOLARA’s 0-10V or simple on/off ballasts.



We are an ISO 9000 rated company and factory, and nearly all of our products have received UL certification. Most of our products have CE and CB. We also have CNS and product safety marks (Taiwan), and our explosion proof line also adheres to North American, Japan, and European standards. For instance, our AF7-801 and AF7-802 are certifiable to JIS d2G4 standards and meet with NEC Class 1 Div. 1 and European Exd (flameproof), Group II (any gas group) and Temperature classification T3. We have one of the best equipped explosion proof testing laboratories in Taiwan for both the European and Japanese standards.

How well does induction lamps operate in cold temperatures?



There is no loss in the lumens output in freezing conditions – the start up time is lengthened to 20 minutes as the bulb needs to heat up. There is also no loss in the lifespan. But lamps designed to operate below -25 will be produced in a special batch to make sure the start up time is not longer than 20 minutes. For 0 to -25 our normal induction lamp will do the job.

What about ECLIPSE? What is that and what role does it play with your lamps?



ECLIPSE is a control gear unit at the side of the lamp ballast, directly wired to the power line to provide communication back to a router unit that can be mounted up to 50 meters away. Each control gear unit is also a signal repeater, allowing daisy chaining up to 255 units per router. The router stores all the programmed information such as zoning, timing and dimming setting on a flash chip that retains all programming even after a power failure. The router communicates back to the main computer via GPRS, broadband, RJ-45, USB or serial (RJ-232) connection. The computer or a hosted website synchronizes all the times for the routers. The control gears are synchronized via the router by power line communication and high quality narrow band, and can be set to different timings and dimming individually or in an assigned group. The user interface of the programming is HTML and FLASH based so it is extremely user friendly. Distance does cause signal degradation, and the routers have a maximum radius of 1 kilometer to the control units. ECLIPSE will also be available in a wireless solution by the end of 2009, operating at 2.4 GHz.



The units and routers are all IP65 rated, and can be encased in IP67 rating if required – making it suitable for various missions and locations. It may be mounted inside most of Amko SOLARA’s fixtures but will be externally mounted for our high/low bay fixtures.



Temperature, voltage, and wattages are reported back to the computer in real time to provide continuous monitoring and recording. Notifications or alerts such as failures, maintenance updates, or temperature alerts can be communicated through email or SMS. Total system wattage or group wattages (ie, energy consumption) is recorded, as well as an integrated timer that records the total operating time of each lamp – hence easing the maintenance work.

Induction lighting is still more expensive than traditional lighting, so where are the segments that find induction lighting a suitable replacement and the numbers work out?



Actually induction lighting can realize returns on investments as soon as 2 years. We have found that street lighting and tunnel lighting are the two most expensive areas of lighting where maintenance costs and operating costs far outstrips the initial cost of the lamps themselves. Induction lighting not only reduces energy usage to just a half, but also reduces maintenance costs to just a fifth of traditional high pressure sodium lighting.



Below is a table to compares the costs of operating different lighting sources against induction lighting over 10 years.









Many people ask if we could make a replacement chart for induction lighting versus traditional lighting so below is a direct comparison chart. The most difficult comparison for us is with LED lighting because LED’s do not give enough luminance as required by the national standards for street lighting and are often underpowered to make the case that they are energy efficient. In reality, at high wattages (above 40W) they are no more efficient than metal halides. For our comparison, we have to first provide a comparable induction lamp wattage that is similar to the LED solution and then suggest a second wattage that is appropriate and more realistic for the job intended.









Advantages of induction over LED:
1. More lumens output and higher lux levels on the ground
2. Less energy consumption required at wattages above LED 20W
3. Reduces overall costs by reducing the costs of higher wattage solar panels and batteries
4. Has a better “real world” lifespan due to better design and less sensitivity to heat
5. Induction lighting solutions are 1/3 to 1/5 of the cost of comparable LED solutions

There are talks of 3rd and 4th generation designs down the pipeline, what are they?



The 3rd and 4th generation SOLARA induction lamps are new designs and they completely revamp the current induction lighting – Philips’ design was the 1st generation, and Osram came up with the 2nd generation, improving upon that and getting around Philips’ patent. Our 3rd generation will be unique to Amko SOLARA only and will be a mass market product – low cost, easy to install, and small size. We are looking at the middle of the 2009 to have a working unit ready, and released no later than 2010. The 4th generation design is still in the works but is very much advanced in the process and we should have a production model by the end of 2009, while the roll out is scheduled for the middle of 2010. It is also a complete structural redesign to make induction lighting even more flexible for interior lighting and next generation lighting design. There is actually a 5th generation in the plan, again a mass market product, but designed to replace T5 and T8 lamps.

So what does the different generations of induction lighting rank against other lighting sources from a luminous efficacy stand point?



Luminous efficacy literally looks at the raw energy numbers: thermal v. light energy. That is the question that people never really ask – LED manufacturers also don’t want to admit this. In fact, all existing lighting sources are still terribly inefficient – the best solutions we have are low pressure sodium lamps which are 30% efficient.



Here is a table that lists various light sources to compare luminous efficiency. In theory, the maximum luminous output is 683 lumens per watt of energy – that is 100% all light energy. The natural sunlight is 93 lm/W which is 14% efficient. Induction lamp is between 9% to 14% efficient, similar to that of other fluorescent lamps.







There are questions about health concerns regarding the harmful effects of induction lighting, could you elaborate on that?



We’ve also heard people suggesting that induction lighting, with its magnetic field generation, poses EMI and EMC concerns. While these are true, as it is the fundamental working theory of induction lighting, it is also a fact that we already live in a world full of radio frequencies and magnetic waves.



Mobile phones operate at 900 MHz, Wi-Fi networks and cordless phones operate at 2.4 GHz; these consumer electronic devices that we use everywhere is transmitting more EMI than induction lighting, which in Amko’s SOLARA and LUNARA ranges, operate at 250 kHz. Modern fluorescent lamps also operate at close to 30 kHz.



There is no way that with the resources we have that we can prove and document definitively that EMI’s of 250 kHz is harmless to human beings, just as the mobile phones and high tech industries do not produce any documents saying their devices are safe for human contact – especially concerning that we keep mobile phones even closer to our bodies than any other electronic devices. All we can do is to stand on the basis that we have fulfilled the safety requirements that are designated by each governing body of the certifications we have (UL, CE, CB, CCC, CNS, CSA) obtained, through Amko’s name or our subsidiaries, over the past twelve years of induction lighting research.

So what is next for you? You’ve mentioned briefly on the 3rd generation design and coupling that with solar energy. Could you tell us more?



The idea with solar is simple really - we are working with US based JA Solar and Prefersolar together to offer our 12W LUNARA lamps with a 20W solar panel, charge/discharge controller and battery to the emerging markets at a target price of USD$100 with the help from micro-financiers (loans) in African countries, India, China, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia. I think it has vast potentials for the end users because they will have a complete system that is guaranteed to last 5 years with no electricity bills and no hidden fees. It is clean, pollution free and does not add stress to the power grid. It is cheaper than LED solutions and even kerosene over the lifespan while giving off a better quality light, and needless to say it is also exponentially better for the children’s education and their health.



Our target price is our cost at the moment and this will be a strictly non-for-profit organization. We have a lot of good people and partners helping us on this project to bring the product to the market and distribute it as well as bringing it to the attention of NGO’s and institutions that can bolster our efforts to get this product to the hands of those who need it the most.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Welcome to Induction Lighting

I've decided to post this and the Induction Lighting FAQ as sticky posts so everyone can read about it first before digging further into other articles and papers about induction lighting. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Induction Lighting FAQ

Michael Ng, Director of Marketing for Amko SOLARA Induction Lamps, describes briefly the applications and comparisons of different lighting sources with Induction Lighting in this short interview.

Original post can be found here:

1. What is the difference between traditional fluorescent light and induction light?

An induction light is similar to a fluorescent light in that mercury in a gas fill inside the bulb is excited, emitting UV radiation that in turn is converted into visible white light by the phosphor coating on the bulb. Like fluorescent, the phosphor coating determines the color qualities of the light. Fluorescent lamps use electrodes to strike the arc and initiate the flow of current through the lamp, which excites the gas fill. Each time voltage is supplied by the ballast and the arc is struck, the electrodes degrade a little, eventually causing the lamp to fail. Induction lamps do not use electrodes. Instead of a ballast, the system uses a high-frequency generator with a power coupler. The generator produces a radio frequency magnetic field to excite gas fill. With no electrodes, the lamp lasts longer. Induction lamps, in fact, last up to 100,000 hours, with the lamp producing 70% of its light output at 60,000 hours. In other words, their rated life is 5-13 times longer than metal halide (7,500 to 20,000 hours at 10 hours/start) and about seven times longer than T12HO fluorescent (at 10 hours/start).

2. How efficient or energy saving is it?

While induction lamps can generate more lumens per watt compared to metal halides (80 v. 70), it is not as efficient as T5’s that powers 100+ lumens per watt.

3. What kind of application is induction lighting for?

Induction lamps are ideally suited for high-ceiling applications where the lamps are difficult, costly or hazardous to access. They are also ideally suited for such applications where the advantages of fluorescent lighting are sought but a light source is needed that can start and operate efficiently in extremely cold temperatures. As a result, induction lighting is a suitable for a wide range of applications, including not only warehouses, industrial buildings, cafeterias, gymnasiums, etc., but also signage, tunnels, bridges, roadways, outdoor area and security fixtures, parking garages, public spaces, and freezer and cold storage lighting.

For some applications, well-designed linear induction hi-bays are better than well-designed HID hi-bays with regard to glare, contrast ratios and vertical footcandles. Here are two examples. Imagine yourself playing volleyball. As you follow the high arching ball coming towards you, would you prefer having to look up into a point source HID bi-bay or a 4ft long induction hi-bay with one 400W lamp? Imagine yourself as a forklift driver having to deal with vertical surfaces and load and unload pallets in high warehouse racks. Compare vertical footcandles with well-designed 4-ft., 8-ft. or extended-row linear induction hi-bays mounted in the middle of rack aisle row parallel to the racks with well-designed HID hi-bays mounted in the middle of rack aisle row. Envision how easily a loaded pallet can block the light from the point source HID lamp.

4. What are the increased costs to use induction lighting?

The increased costs occurs in the induction systems themselves – which could be 5 to 6 times more than metal halide systems, and also in new fixtures, which can inflate payback periods and reduce return on investment. But you also generally get a 30% reduction in capital and operating costs immediately from the reduced number of fixtures made possible by the higher light output. You also get 15% more efficiency just because the induction system (lamp and electronic ballast) is more efficient. Apply that over ten years plus replacement and maintenance costs and suddenly it makes a lot of sense to go into induction lighting systems.

5. What advantages are there for induction lights v. metal halides

I think the biggest advantage that induction lighting has over metal halides is the ability to instantly start and shut off. The reason I said that is because we see the fastest growing replacement of metal halides to induction in areas like tunnel and street lighting. Why? Because a driver driving at 55mph cannot afford to be inside a pitch dark tunnel for more than 2 minutes waiting for the metal halides to restart! Many tunnel lighting fixtures have an emergency direct current backup where the light will run on batteries until the electrical power is back up. Metal halides, once turned off in an outage require a cooling off period for the gases to return to a solid state before it can restart itself. A solution to this problem is to install fluorescent lamps such as T5’s or CFL lamps, as emergency lamps that will light up immediately. But that in turn increases the installation of fixtures and lights, as well as periodically testing these back up lamps to see if they are still functional. Not to mention that these are usually installed in minimum quantities and in low wattages that barely suffice as emergency lighting. Our tunnel fixture installed with SOLARA induction lamp will switch to DC power immediately and keep the tunnel lit as if nothing has happened.

Another advantage induction lighting has over metal halide is lumen maintenance. Most significantly, at 40% of service life, metal halide’s light output and efficacy experience severe degradation. A 400W metal halide lamp, for example, may produce 36,000 lumens but 25,000 at 40% of life, a 30% decline. Therefore, unless the lamps are periodically group-relamped, a large system’s “average” performance over time is much lower than its initial ratings. Tests on the 400W SOLARA Induction lamps on the other side, retains 82% output after 20,000 hours (that’s already more than the rated hours on metal halides) and still puts out 70% after 60,000 hours. You would have replaced at least 6 metal halide bulbs by then and the last bulb will be running at 50% output.

6. How does induction light compare with LED?

Well we all know that Light Emitting Diodes are not considered for general lighting purposes because of its limited brightness and poor color rendering, but this is compensated by its high reliability and high color temperature. It is still a common mistake that many people make thinking that higher color temperature, say 6000k, means higher brightness.
LED however, does have the same theoretical lifespan of 100,000 plus hours as induction light, given that the integrated chip does not fail before the diode. Many LED manufacturers neglect to fit a decent high temperature IC or integrate some kind of heat dissipation device and their LEDs fail after only 10,000 hours.

Induction light on the other hand, offers the same stability and lifespan as LEDs but is available in much higher wattages and brightness that it can truly replace incandescent and discharge lamps as the next revolutionary lighting source. In the end, both are emerging technologies and are getting as much attention and improvements as the other so you can expect these problems to be corrected in the near future.

7. What about T5?

The T5 is a very effective fluorescent light because it tops 100 lumens per watt whereas the SOLARA generates between 80 and 85 lumens per watt. The only problem is T5 is not available in higher wattages – you can generally find a T5 tube up to 58W, but there is a German manufacturer that produces a 90W T5 at a relatively high price. When you are limited to small wattages, you have no choice but to use multiple tubes together to increase the total lumens output, hence increasing your material costs in terms of additional inventory and lighting fixtures.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The advantages of using SOLARA Induction Lighting

This is part 2 of the interview with Michael Ng, Director of Marketing for Amko SOLARA Induction Lamps where he talks about the advantages of their product.

There are several advantages to using induction lights. The extremely long rated life for one and energy saving for another. But the 4 most important advantages for Amko's SOLARA lights are the savings from a ridiculuously extended service life, the highest wattage outputs (up to 400 watts) amongst induction lighting systems, proprietary heat dissipation designs, and dimmable electronic ballasts.

The costs associated with servicing a lamp, say street lamp, include the replacement bulbs, the service crew, and the economic losses incurred when a lamp is out or produces too little light as it approaches the end of its service life (ie. a store sign that won't lit, a dark corner at the shop floor, losing business to a new competitor with a bright and clean environment, and lastly, accidents). What's more are the costs of warehousing that inventory, the logistic costs, the overhead costs of keeping a relatively large service crew such as training, insurance, salaries, etc. Using a lamp with a longer service lifespan means you can maintain a smaller crew and waste less time on organizing regular maintenances and the associated logistics. It gives management more flexibility and quick operations.

The higher wattage lamps makes replacement for high-bay metal halide solutions even more convincing. Higher wattage means higher ceilings, more coverage area (paired with the right fixtures), and more upfront savings on installation. Currently, AMKO SOLARA is the first and only manufacturer in the world to produce and sell a 400 watt induction lamp - and this is one of the key reasons we are getting such great feedback from customers because they have been waiting so long for big players like Osram, GE and Philips to make induction lighting more applicable in industrial settings, public sectors, and commercial usages.

Speaking of application, proper heat dissipation and ingenious design is also another key. For long, lighting companies have relied on fixture manufacturers to integrate their product and deal with the "real world" problems such as dust, maintenance and heat dissipation. We thought that the issue was in the light and the ballast itself.

So working with some of Taiwan's best CPU/GPU heat sink manufacturers, we cooperatively developed individual heat dissipation solutions for various parts in our product from the outer casing to copper heat pipes. You will see these in our 2nd generation ballasts and lamps in early 2007. Customers are already saying that it's gonna be a homerun!

Last but not least, AMKO SOLARA is the only induction system that is dimmable - we have developed a method to linearly dim the light down to 20%. You can integrate building systems and smart artificial intelligence controls such as photo sensors to control these lamps. At your office for instance, you can set the lamps to 40% during the morning, where lots of sunlight is coming through the windows, and at 80% during the evening when the sun is setting. At night when nobody is in the office, you can have the light at just 20% if you building has a light ordinance requirement.

We've been showing these features to customers in Hong Kong, Dubai, Taipei and pretty soon we'll be at other cities in Europe and Americas. They really like what they saw.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Induction lamps - from Energy Star.Gov, Building Lighting Chapter

Induction lamps, also called electrodeless lamps, consist of a high-frequency power generator, a coupling device that generates a magnetic field (essentially an antenna), and a glass housing that contains the gases and phosphor coating—no electrodes required. The main advantages of induction lighting are the ability to produce a substantial amount of light in a relatively compact package and a long lamp life due to the elimination of the electrodes. The major drawback of induction lighting is high installed cost. In applications where maintenance costs are high, though, induction lighting systems can be cost-effective.

Existing induction-lamp products are aimed at two distinct market niches. The higher-wattage versions available (55 to 165 W) offer very long life (up to 100,000 hours) and can be a good choice anywhere that relamping and maintenance are difficult or hazardous. These lamps have been used in all of the following locations:

Escalator wells
High-ceilinged spaces, including atriums (such as over open mall areas) and in warehouses and factories
Parking garages
Roadways, including bridges, tunnels, underpasses, and signs
Exterior pedestrian lighting

Lower-wattage induction lamps (20 and 23 watts) are also available as direct replacements for medium-base incandescent and compact fluorescent lamps. They offer efficacies of about 50 lumens per watt, CRIs of 82, and an expected life of 15,000 hours.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Induction Lighting - Online Retailer

Practically maintenance-free, induction lighting offers many features that make it an attractive light source and is emerging as one of the newest technologies in lighting. With a 100,000 hour rated life, these systems seldom need replacing. Particularly useful in applications where lamp replacement is cumbersome and expensive, as in some outdoor applications and in hard-to-reach areas such as tunnels, airports, public facilities, freezers, and many others. Ultra-Long Life - 100,000 hour rated life*, perfect for hard-to-reach applications Low Total Cost of Ownership - reduced energy and maintenance costs Crisp White Light - choice of color temperatures Outstanding Color Performance - no shift over lamp life, high 80+ color rendering High Reliability - instant hot and cold start-up and re-start Stable Light Output - no variation over a wide range of temperatures and voltage fluctuations High efficacy Because its light output is not significantly influenced by ambient temperature, the induction lamp can start at very low temperatures, maintaining at least 85% of nominal lumens. Induction lighting produces high quality light in a variety of color temperatures. This makes it useful in a multitude of applications while still offering improved efficiency. This gives lighting designers more options in their designs. Relatively insensitive to line voltage fluctuations, its light output remains constant over a wide range of input voltages. The induction lamp is ideal for indoor and outdoor applications where durability and long life is certainly a high priority. As a compact source, the induction lamp can be used in a wide range of fixtures, adding further flexibility for the lighting designer. The induction lighting system provides a longer-life lamp, superior lumen maintenance, and the crisp white light currently available from similar wattage metal halide lighting systems. These product advantages could turn into major dollar savings when considering maintenance, labor, and replacement lamp cost of existing metal halide lighting fixtures. In most cases the payback in maintenance savings will more than offset the initial cost of the system

More Induction Lighting FAQ

Q: What is the induction lamp system and how does induction lighting work?
A: The induction lamp system uses a revolutionary technology of light generation that combines the basic principles of induction and gas discharge. Void of electrodes this new technology delivers an unprecedented 100,000 hours of high quality white light.

Q: What are the components of the system?
A: The system is comprised of three components; the generator, the power coupler and lamp. The power coupler transfers energy from the HF generator to the discharge inside the glass bulb using an antenna that contains the primary induction coil and its ferrite core. The power coupler also has a heat conducting rod with mounting flange. The mounting flange allows the Induction lamp system to be mechanically attached to the luminaire.

Q: Why Induction Lighting?
A: Induction lamps offer an amazing 100,000 hours life making it virtually maintenance free. It offers crisp white light with 80+ CRI and a choice of 3K, 4K, 5K and 6K color temperatures. The high CRI light makes colors look brighter, more vibrant and more attractive. It produces up to 80 lumens of light for each watt of energy. This 80 LPW efficacy makes it as energy efficient as high CRI metal halide systems. Induction lamps offer high reliability and instant on and off. With less heat output.

Q: Is the induction lamp dimmable?
A: Yes. The patented integrated circuit board ballast allows for full dimming of all lamps, which can increase energy savings and provide smooth light transition from ignition to full burn. Other brands of induction lamps do not yet have this useful feature.

Q: Do induction lamps need a dedicated fixture?
A: Yes. Due to operating and thermal requirements the system needs to be properly installed in a suitable fixture.

Q: Can running a lamp interfere with computers or any other electronic device?
A: No. It runs at a low 210KHz and complies with FCC rules with no interference under normal circumstances.

Q: Will the induction lighting system interfere with telecommunication equipment?
A: No. The FCC standards are in place to protect navigation and radio communications. The system will not interfere with portable or cellular/mobile phones.

Q: Is the light output of an induction lamp affected by low temperatures? High temperatures?
A: The lamp's amalgam fill technology and the heat conduction rod in the center create stable light output over a wide range of ambient temperatures, maintaining at least 85% of nominal lumens from -30° F to 130° F (for an enclosed fixture with heatsink). Induction lamps can start at temperatures as low as -40° F.

Q: Does operating position affect output?
A: No. The universal operating position does not affect the performance of the induction lamp system.

Q: Is the induction lamp system vibration-resistant?
A: Yes. The fact that induction lamps have no electrodes make them more reliable in high-vibration and gusty applications. The induction lamp system has proven its durability in bridges, tunnels, and signage applications.

Q: What, if any, is the effect of voltage supply fluctuations on the performance of the induction system?
A: Due to the built-in pre-conditioner in the HF generator, which provides a well stabilized internal supply voltage (a wide operating voltage range of +/- 20V) to the HF generator, the light output, consumed power and system efficacy (efficiency) of lamp system vary by less than 2% as a result of mains voltage fluctuations. There is no noticeable effect (visual or measurable) on the color performance (color temperature, color rendering, etc.) due to supply voltage fluctuation.

Q: Will induction lighting fade or damage materials?
A: The amount of ultraviolet light generated by an 80W lamp is roughly equivalent to that of a regular fluorescent lamp per 1000 lux. The permissible exposure time (PET) is +40 hours per 1000 lux, generously above the norm (24 hours per 1000 lux). The damage factor for materials is rated at a low 0.3 so induction lamps can be used in open luminaries without any front glass.

Q: How far can the HF generator be remotely mounted from the power coupler/discharge vessel assembly?
A: The length of the coaxial cable connecting them (15"). Because the cable forms part of the oscillating circuit of the HF generator, the length of the cable cannot be modified.

Q: At the end of life, must all components be replaced?
A: All three components are separately replaceable, however, induction lights are almost always supplied as a three-component system, even for relamping. End of life usually means the generator must be replaced, and at the time, it is usually recommended to replace the bulb, as phosphor degeneration at 100,000 hours lowers lumen output up to 37%.

Q: Why is induction lighting technology worth more?
A: Induction lighting systems offer five to ten times the life of HID systems for only two to three times the cost of the HID lamp and ballast. In almost all cases the payback in maintenance savings will more than offset the additional cost of the initial system.

Q: What's new with Induction Lighting?
A: Lamps are dimmable have an industry low operating frequency of only 210KHz which reduces interference and increases life span. Plans for a wider range of wattages will expand applications into residential and larger/higher outdoor uses.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Compact Fluorescents Face Tough Competition

Energy-efficient lighting¹s flagship product ‹ the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) ‹ has always had competitors, but the field is becoming more crowded.



Based on a study of the US marketplace, the increasing number of competitors stand to capture about two thirds of the incandescent-replacement market potential in the residential sector. The CFL's competitors fall into four groups:

(1) those that have been on the scene for a very long time, e.g. the standard incandescent GLS (general lighting service) lamp, known as the A-lamp in North America),
(2) those that represent recent, but incremental, innovations based on established products (e.g. the halogen infrared PAR lamp), and

(3) those that represent dramatic innovations, often bringing a whole new category of lighting into competition with the CFL (e.g. small, high-performance metal-halide lamps), and

(4) fundamental breakthroughs in technology (e.g. electrodeless induction lighting), some of which have been unveiled but are not yet in the catalogs.

One way to estimate the market potential for the CFL is through ³top-down² methods, in which current growth rates, population, and other factors are extrapolated to the future. A complementary method is a ³bottom-up² look at the technical potential for cost-effective energy savings through increased use of the products. One such study has been recently completed by one of us (Vorsatz) for the US residential and commercial sectors. The study examines the potential for indoor lighting in the year 2010. We summarize the results for CFLs in the remainder of this section.

In terms of energy use, the total US commercial-sector energy savings potential is divided as follows: Incandescent replacements account for 57%, while corresponding figures for fluorescent and high-intensity discharge replacements are 39 and 4% respectively. CFLs and halogen infrared reflector (HIR) accounts for most of the incandecent replacement potential.

For the residential market, the vast majority ofthe savings potential is from incandescent lamp replacements, as very few linear fluorescent or HID sources are used there today. Choosing the most energy-saving incandescent replacements results in an applicable stock of 2.9 billion incandescent lamps that can be replaced cost-effectively by energy-efficient lamps by the year 2010, apportioned 27% to more efficient incandescents (including the installation of lighting controls in some cases), 35% to halogen infrared, and 35% to CFLs. These market shares were obtained by systematically comparing and ranking competing retrofit options in order of decreasing cost-effectiveness.

Although CFLs end up facing significant competition from other incandescent replacement lamps, the quantity of CFLs called for is, nonetheless, considerable and represents a market for the residential sector. If it is assumed that the average burn time of a CFL is four hours per day, then the present annual sales would need to be about 150 million units in order to maintain a stock of just over 1 billion lamps. This sales volume is several times the size of the current market.

KEY MARKET NICHES FOR THE CFL

No application is the exclusive domain of the CFL, i.e. where no other light source can compete. (One exception is a trend towards what are called ³dedicated fixtures², wherein the base is designed to accommodate only the pin-based CFL). There are, of course, also market niches that are not currently available to CFLs. These include fixtures operated with motion sensors or conventional incandescent dimmers.

The main factors driving consumer interest in the CFL are energy savings and long service life. From an energy standpoint, this means that the most attractive applications are those with a large number of burning hours in a given year (thus creating a faster payback time on the incremental investment in the up-front cost of the CFL versus the competing incandescent lamp). For the commercial sector, this represents the vast majority of incandescent sockets, especially ultra-high-use applications such as Exit signs (of which there are tens of millions in the US). However, in the residential sector there are on average 30 or so sockets in a given US home, and only 5­10 are typically cost-effective applications for the CFL.

THE COMPETITION

On the one hand, CFL innovations resulting in entire new lamp shapes (e.g. the flat 2D or F-lamp technologies) and a proliferation of sizes and improved performance characteristics have helped the CFL capture an increasing market share. However, competitors to the CFL can be found now in virtually every light source family (incandescent, fluorescent, HID, induction, and LED). While not all are superior or even equal in terms of efficiency, many will be more attractive to consumers owing to other attributes such as longer service life, brilliance, better color rendering, ease of dimming, or environmental attributes.

Standard incandescent lamps have the distinct advantages of low first cost, no mercury, and sometimes smaller size, compared to the CFL. Color rendering is superior and lumen depreciation is lower than that of CFLs. For no other technology is dimming as problem-free and inexpensive, although incandescent dimming, in many cases, results in color shift (towards warmer color) and an audible buzzing sound. Their prime disadvantages are high operating cost (energy inefficiency) and short life. A relatively new generation of ³energy-saving² incandescents are marginally more efficient than standard incandescents, and have longer service lives.

Tungsten-halogen lamps have the same advantages (even more so in most cases) and disadvantages as standard incandescents. Additional disadvantages are the adverse impacts of dimming on life and efficiency and high operating temperature. Halogen reflector lamps perform much better than CFL reflector lamps. A new line of dichroic low-voltage halogen lamps, with infrared coatings on the capsule, is a step forward in efficiency (IAEEL 2/97). Important to the equation, the transformers that run the low-voltage lamps have about doubled in efficiency in recent years.

Full-size fluorescent lamps excel in almost every aspect over CFLs, although not all full-size fluorescents have performance attributes that rival the CFL. Their prime disadvantages are large size, difficulty in directing light towards a specific area, and difficulty in achieving aesthetic applications in residential settings. The narrow T5 and super-narrow T2 technologies overcome these disadvantages rather effectively (although the high brightness of the T5 lamps can be a problem in residential applications). The T5 will be available in the future in a circular format, making it an interesting competitor for torchiere applications among others (IAEEL 2/97). Dimming technology is more established and widely available for full-size fluorescents than for CFLs.

The electrodeless induction lamps are neck-in-neck competitors with the CFL in several respects, but are extremely new in the US market and have not as yet caused a large upset. Electromagnetic interference is a main disadvantage, although manufacturers claim to have overcome it. The reflector-type design of some of the electrodeless lamps limits their field of application slightly. It is not yet clear whether the mature market price will compete with the CFL. A newcomer to this field is Osram's Inductively Coupled Electrodeless Lamp (I.C.E., formerly called the ³Endura² lamp), with a high-lumen package that would only compete with CFLs in indirect illumination applications (IAEEL 2/97). The I.C.E lamp is supposed to be on the market in 1998.

Until recently, two classes of HID light sources (metal halide and high-pressure sodium) were not threats to the CFL, except perhaps for certain outdoor applications. Significant strides in technology have resulted in smaller lamps with color-rendering performance similar or better to that of CFLs. In many cases, these lamps are longer-lived and more energy-efficient than CFLs, and have far more stable color rendering, color temperature, and efficacy over a range of operating positions. Some of the emerging metal halide products are shaped like familiar PAR lamps and are superior in terms of color performance. Especially severe competition may be seen in the newly emerging ³torchiere² (halogen uplighter) market, where double-ended halogens currently pose a considerable fire hazard and consume excessive amounts of energy. HID sources will probably compete most strongly in outdoor lighting (residential) and downlighting (commercial) ‹ both important market niches for the CFL. HID sources, however, do not have good dimming performance.

The new low-wattage ceramic-burner metal halide technology overcomes much of the color instability problems of the last generation of metal halides (IAEEL 2/97). Their relatively small lumen packages, the availability of both pin and screw bases, good depreciation characteristics, lower UV emissions, and superb efficacy and color rendering make them formidable emerging competitors to the CFL. Even high-pressure sodium lamps, e.g. Philips' White SON, stand to compete with the CFL in some applications. Osram's hybrid sodium-xenon lamps (e.g. the Colorstar DSX2) are potential CFL competitors in terms of lumen output, life, and efficacy, but only in applications where color rendering is less critical. Two-step light output for the DSX2 adds to its appeal.

The sulfur lamp and other relatively high-light-output sources have similar or superior performance characteristics, although they sometimes require sophisticated light-distribution systems, such as light guides, mirror-based distribution, fiber optics, or large indirect fixtures. These applications would be limited to the non-residential sector, probably even in the case of lower-wattage sulfur lamp products that may emerge in the future.

Lastly, Exit signs are a very promising market for CFLs, especially given their long life compared to incandescents. No other application offers such large energy-cost savings as the 24-hour Exit sign. Light-emitting diode (LED) Exit signs may displace CFLs, although their costs are significantly higher. In Europe, however, the call for green exit signs has slowed the penetration of LED signs. In Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands, for example, CFLs had captured virtually the entire exit sign market more than four years ago (IAEEL 3/93).

While competition is getting stiffer, we hope that the CFL will always find its rightful socket. It is certainly more incumbent on lighting manufacturers, and their allies, than ever before to innovate and bring to market new CFL products that help to maintain, if not expand, the CFL's market prominence.

Evan Mills
Diana Vorsatz

Evan Mills, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, US
Tel: +1 510 486-6784
Fax +1 510 486-5394
Email: emills@lbl.gov

Diana Urge-Vorsatz,Central European University, Hungary
Tel: +36 1 327-3095
Fax: +36 1 327-3031
Email: vorsatzd@ceu.hu

For more information on the market potential of competing lamp types, see D. Vorsatz. 1996. ²Exploring U.S. Residential and Commercial Electricity Conservation Potentials: Analysis of the Lighting Sector². Ph.D. Dissertation, U.C. Los Angeles.

Induction Luminaire is rated for 100,000 hr of use

Product News Network, Oct 4, 2005

With 20-year rated life, Mercmaster III is suited for hazardous and non-hazardous industrial lighting applications where access for relamping is difficult. It utilizes QL induction technology, which offers instant restrike, exhibits little or no sensitivity to power fluctuations, and produces no flickering or stroboscopic effect. Each product, featuring under 10% harmonic distortion, comes with discharge vessel, power coupler, and high-frequency generator.

********************

ROSEMONT, IL, September 27, 2005 -- Appleton, a worldwide leader in hazardous location electrical equipment, today introduced its new Mercmaster III Induction Luminaire featuring QL Induction technology.

With a 20-year rated life or 100,000 hours, this unique fixture provides a cost-effective, long-term solution for hazardous and non-hazardous industrial lighting needs, and is especially effective where access for relamping is difficult, maintenance is prohibitively expensive, and reliability is absolutely essential. Even after 60,000 hours of use, the Mercmaster III Induction Luminaire should maintain 70 percent of its total light output.

QL induction technology promises many additional benefits to Mercmaster III Induction Luminaire users including: instant restrike; T3C "T Code" (maximum internal temperature is 136-160 degrees C), no cycling at end-of-life, no flickering or stroboscopic effect, little or no sensitivity to power fluctuations, low harmonic distortion (<10 percent), and frequency of 50/60 Hz.

Current lamp types such as fluorescent, mercury, metal halide, pulse-start metal halide or high-pressure sodium provide only 3-5 years of life expectancy. Because Appleton's latest innovation delivers more than 4 times that service life it helps users achieve greater productivity, improved safety and reduced maintenance expense.

For faster, hassle-free installations, the new fixture ships complete with discharge vessel, power coupler and high frequency generator.

For more information contact your local Appleton representative or call Appleton at 800-621-1506. On the web, www.appletonelec.com. E-mail: literature@egseg.com.

ABOUT APPLETON

Founded in 1903, Appleton manufactures a complete line of electrical products for hazardous and non-hazardous locations. It is a brand of the EGS Electrical Group.

EGS Electrical Group o 9377 West Higgins Road o Rosemont, Illinois o 60018

All products and names mentioned are the property of their respective owners. While EGS Electrical Group has made every effort at the time of publication to ensure the accuracy of the information provided herein, product specifications, configurations, prices, system/component/options availability are all subject to change without notice.

COPYRIGHT 2005 ThomasNet, Incorporated
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hysteresis and mode transitions in inductively coupled Ar–Hg plasma in the electrodeless induction lamp

Long Qi, Chen Yuming and Chen Dahua

Institute for Electric Light Sources, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
E-mail: Longqi@fudan.edu.cn

Abstract. Hysteresis and mode transitions in inductively coupled Ar–Hg plasma in the electrodeless induction lamp are studied at different discharge frequencies and under different matching conditions. It is observed that transition currents change at different frequencies and hysteresis exists not only between the starting and minimum maintaining currents of the electromagnetic mode (H mode) discharge but also between the starting and minimum maintaining currents of the electrostatic mode (E mode) discharge. The illuminance and global electrical parameters in the mode transitions are recorded. It is shown that the E to H mode transition is accompanied by increased plasma resistance and decreased plasma reactance, which results in a higher efficiency in the H mode. Under the same output voltage of the radio frequency source, mode transition can also be triggered by changing the matching condition. The emission spectra recorded before and after the E to H mode transition provide experimental evidence for the theory that the change of the electron energy distribution function plays an important role in the hysteresis effect.

Print publication: Issue 15 (7 August 2006)
Received 10 May 2006, in final form 9 June 2006
Published 21 July 2006

Many of you have asked for more information on dimmable induction lighting systems. Here's a document detailing the technicals. The Chinese are really heading the efforts here because nationwide they are energy hungry and the authorities know they cannot build enough coal burning power plants in time. A similar situation is occuring in developing countries and cities like Dubai and Mexico. Though energy is cheap, there simply isn't enough to catch up with the explosive economic growth.

You can find the original document here. (Note: subscription may be required if you are not a member of IOP)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Science behind Miser Lighting

By: L. Michael Roberts, 2007 Fibro Light Technology Inc. - All Rights Reserved

In 2006, Miser lighting introduced new, energy efficient high-bay lighting fixtures based on research from Fibro Light Technology. These long lasting, energy efficient lights have the potential to save clients about 50% in energy and maintenance costs over their lifetime compared to typical Metal halide, Mercury vapour and Sodium lamps usually used in industrial lighting applications.

Many people who see the new lighting fixtures remark at how bright they appear and the high quality of light emitted from the fixtures. However, when people have compared light meter readings of the new lights with conventional lighting, the new lights are measured as producing less output on the meter than conventional lights. This has led to people questioning the installation of these lights - even though they use far less energy - as they expect that areas lit by them will not be bright enough compared to conventional lighting even though their eyes are telling them they are the same or brighter.

Their FAQ can be found here .
A comparison of a tunnel lighting project can be found here .
Their brochure and a simple cost savings estimate can be found here .

Friday, April 13, 2007

Electrodeless Lamps

RPI, or Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, have this article on induction / electrodeless lamps from 1998. The original post can be found here

Electrodeless Lamps
When the fluorescent lamp first appeared in lamp catalogs in 1938, the lighting community saw it as a novelty source for producing colored light. Today, fluorescent lamps light over 50% of the building floorspace in the North America. Four companies hope that their electrodeless lamps can pull off a similar feat.

Philips Lighting's QL lamp system
In 1991, Philips introduced the QL in Europe. But how many specifiers realize that the QL has been available in North America since 1992? It's never been listed in Philips' North American catalog. "All we need to fill orders is a purchase order," says Lloyd Chapman, the product manager handling the QL for Philips' North American division.

In Europe, Philips sells the QL with several choices of luminaires. However, Philips doesn't offer QL luminaires in North America. Chapman believes that the QL could catch on here if it were packaged with a luminaire. Tom Heelan, CEO of WILA Lighting, agrees. "It's an OEM product...Philips can't sell this. We [luminaire manufacturers] have to do it for them." (An OEM is an original equipment manufacturer, a company that buys parts from manufacturers, puts them together, and sells the systems.)

Philips initially marketed the QL only to luminaire manufacturers. Although they liked the technology, the manufacturers did not market the QL because of its high cost and the lack of demand. Philips is now developing new marketing strategies. "We want to work with the marketplace to establish trial installations," says Chapman.

Luminaire manufacturers and specifiers are responding. In early 1995, Hadco, a division of Genlyte, worked with American Electric Power, a utility in Cleveland, Ohio, to set up a trial QL installation with outdoor post-top fixtures. And WILA Lighting joined with Philips and the municipality of Philadelphia to propose a test installation of over 100 QL systems to the Urban Consortium Energy Task Force.

Intersource Technology, Inc.'s E-Lamp
In the late 1980s, Intersource licensed the technology for the E-Lamp from Diablo Research Corporation (which presently has an engineering relationship with Intersource). After Intersource made a product announcement in June 1992, the E-Lamp caused a stir in major broadcast and print media. But where's the lamp?

Pierre Villere, founder and chairman of the board of Intersource, explains. "Intersource's efforts on what we call the A-Line replacement took longer and cost more than expected." More significant, feels Villere, is that in mid-to-late 1993 Intersource saw residential demand-side management programs coming to an end. "This put us in a quandary," says Villere, "because here we were with a product we were very close to taking out of engineering and into manufacturing, yet the programs that fueled the sales of high-efficiency lighting products were evaporating." Intersource felt that the American consumer would not voluntarily spend $10 to $15 on a long-life, high-efficiency product without utility rebates.

Intersource believes the commercial lighting market is more willing to invest in the E-Lamp. Villere notes the widespread acceptance of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) as an alternative to incandescent lighting in commercial market. "We want to do the same thing," says Villere. "We want the E-Lamp to become a standard in the industry." The company plans to sell the E-Lamp to OEMs and have them market their products as "E-Lamp Equipped." Intersource does not plan to enter the residential market in the near future.

GE Lighting's Genura
The E-Lamp's publicity elicited a response from GE. In a June 1992 memo to its lighting managers, GE stated that it had been developing and investing in electrodeless induction technology for many years. Two years later, GE introduced the Genura in Europe. "It's a highly successful lamp," says Terry McGowan, manager of application development at GE Lighting. "We cannot meet the demand and have committed every lamp that we manufacture." Because GE has to fill its European orders, the North American market won't see the Genura until the second quarter of 1995 or later. McGowan adds that GE will have samples available and wants to work with specifiers on projects.

GE will market the Genura as a retrofit for the 75-watt R30 lamps that will be eliminated in the U.S. after October 31, 1995 by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. GE is targeting the commercial market in areas such as retail stores and offices.

Fusion Lighting, Inc.'s sulfur lamp
In October 1994, news about Fusion's sulfur lamp spread across the major media and renewed interest in electrodeless technology. The technology behind the sulfur lamps is not new. Fusion Systems Corporation has a 20-year history of manufacturing microwave discharge units that are used for ultraviolet (UV) curing in the semiconductor and printing industries. In 1990, Fusion Systems discovered that sulfur in the gas fill of its units produced light resembling sunlight. Fusion Systems spun off Fusion Lighting in 1993 to develop the sulfur lamp as a commercial light source.

Since mid-1994, sulfur lamp prototypes have appeared in demonstrations. Reflector panels coated with a 3M optical film direct the light of two sulfur lamps at the entrance of the University Hospital in Lund, Sweden. In Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM) and the Forrestal Building feature light pipes made by A.L. Whitehead Ltd. that distribute light from sulfur lamps.

Fusion is now testing the Solar 1000, a smaller, improved version of the sulfur lamp. Sweden has several Solar 1000s for demonstrations in areas such as a botanical garden, post office, and commercial freezer. Kalle Hashmi, senior advisor to NUTEK (the Swedish National Board for Industrial and Technical Development), says, "We could probably place 500 of the Solar 1000s in the Scandinavian market now, but we can't get enough of them."

Kent Kipling, vice president of operations at Fusion Lighting, acknowledges that the company could sell more lamps now. However, Fusion is not ready to market the lamps. "We just need to make sure that we have everything fully understood and life tested before we get a lot of systems out there," says Kipling. "There's no particular area of concern; we're just being prudent." If Fusion decides to commercialize the Solar 1000, it could appear on the market in the first part of 1996.

How electrodeless lamps stack up
Performance-wise, the four lamps are often compared to CFLs and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps. The table on p. ii lists their performance characteristics, some which are of particular concern to specifiers.

Electromagnetic interference (EMI). Electrodeless lamps are electronic devices, and like all electronic devices, they can generate EM waves. EMI occurs when unwanted EM signals, which travel through wiring or radiate through the air, interfere with desirable signals. The International Special Committee on Radio Interference (Comit* International Sp*cial des Pertubations Radio*lectriques, or CISPR) develops standards for EMI from lighting devices. CISPR standards are accepted by the European Community. In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates EM emissions in the communication frequencies of 450 kHz to over 960 MHz. Canada also regulates EM emissions over these frequencies. Manufacturers need to comply with FCC regulations to sell products in the U.S. However, manufacturer compliance doesn't assure that EMI won't occur in unregulated frequencies.

The Genura and the QL operate at 2.65 MHz, the European Community's standard for induction lighting. The Genura's reflector provides enough shielding to meet the FCC's EMI requirements for commercial use but not for residential use. GE is seeking FCC approval for residential use of the lamp.

The QL lamp system depends on appropriate luminaire designs to meet shielding requirements. Philips offers to test QL luminaires for OEMs to certify that their products are properly shielded and meet other design requirements.

The E-Lamp operates at 13.56 MHz and does not require external shielding to meet FCC requirements. It is approved for both commercial and residential use.

The sulfur lamp operates at 2.45 GHz for regulatory and economic reasons. That frequency is approved for electronics; for example, microwave ovens operate at 2.45 GHz. And because microwave ovens are popular, magnetron parts are produced in large quantities and are relatively inexpensive. The sulfur lamp hasn't yet been approved by the FCC, but Kipling is not concerned. "The RF shielding limitation is one we're not really worried about. We've got 30,000 [microwave discharge] systems out there right now."

Color. The induction lamps use rare-earth phosphors, giving them color properties similar to those of higher-end fluorescent lamps. The sulfur lamp produces a continuous spectrum similar to that of sunlight; Fusion claims there is virtually no spectral shift over the lamp's life. However, some people have complained about the greenish cast of its light. Kipling says that at the NASM, Fusion used a filter because the museum wanted warmer light. For future versions of the lamp, Fusion plans to adjust the color of the light based on feedback received from the demonstration sites.

Light output and control. Carl Hillmann, a lighting designer with Hillmann, Dibernardo and Associates, echoes a common concern about the QL: "It's not available in large enough wattages...It doesn't put out enough light to find its way into an inaccessible location." This is an issue because Philips promotes the QL for use in areas where maintenance costs are high; often these areas involve high mounting heights. According to Donald Fentress, architectural manager at Hadco, his company is working within this limitation. Hadco produces a post-top luminaire with a refractor globe optically designed to maximize the light output of the QL. The design allows the lamp to be used outdoors at heights of 10« to 12«.

Chapman says that Philips is developing QL systems with higher wattages and higher light output. But induction lamps are fluorescent lamps, so the amount of light they emit is proportional to the surface area of the bulb to which phosphors are applied. Increasing the light output requires an increase in the size of the system. The larger the system, the harder it is to control physically and optically.

Because the QL and E-Lamp's glass bulbs resemble the bulb of a common incandescent A-lamp, they benefit from having a shape familiar to specifiers. The spherical shape also means that reflectors can more effectively control their light output than that of the more linear CFLs. The Genura also benefits by having the familiar shape of an R lamp.

The sulfur lamp produces a large amount of light, making it convenient for remote-source lighting applications. At the NASM, three 90«-long light pipes, each lighted at one end by a single sulfur lamp, replaced 94 HID lamps. Because the sulfur lamp is a small, high-intensity source, luminaires for the lamp need to be designed carefully to control glare and light distribution.

None of the electrodeless lamps are entering the market with dimming capability. However, all are potentially dimmable, and the manufacturers are waiting to see if the market wants a dimmable product.

Efficacy. The efficacies of induction lamps are like those of CFLs or HID lamps of comparable light output. On the other hand, estimates of the Solar 1000's potential efficacy exceed 120 lumens per watt, including ballast losses. Fusion decreased the sulfur lamp's input power - and increased its efficacy - by eliminating the external compressor used to cool the rotating glass ball. The compressor was the system's main source of noise, so Fusion also eliminated a source of complaint. Hashmi believes that replacing the magnetron with advanced solid-state technology may increase the sulfur lamp's efficacy to as much as 300 lumens per watt.

Life. Long life is the most touted feature of electrodeless lamps. Because they have no filament or electrode, they don't fail from sputtering, breakage by shock, or other electrode-related phenomena. Though an induction lamp will fail when its electronics fail, its life is limited primarily by the degradation of phosphors.

Life for induction lamps is often rated in hours to 30% lumen depreciation, the point at which lamps normally need to be changed. The E-Lamp and the QL reach 30% lumen depreciation at 30,000 hours and 60,000 hours, respectively.

GE lists the Genura's life in terms of the industry-standard average rated life (the time it takes for 50% of tested lamps to fail). The Genura claims a 10,000-hour average rated life, which is also its point of 30% lumen depreciation.

Recently, Intersource and Philips recast lamp lives as average rated life, and the results are startling. Intersource claims that the E-Lamp has a lamp life of 50,000 hours, and Philips claims a life of over 100,000 hours for the QL. The Genura's 10,000 hours seems unimpressive by comparison. McGowan explains, "The only thing similar is that they are all based on induction. But the designs of the products are completely different, and they are designed for different applications."

The sulfur lamp's bulb practically has an infinite life because the sulfur and argon in its fill do not react with each other or with the glass. The magnetron limits the sulfur lamp's life. Fusion rated the life of its older prototype at around 10,000 hours. Kipling says that Fusion now uses magnetrons with 15,000- and 20,000-hour lives. Replacing the magnetron with solid-state technology can further extend lamp life.

Cost. If life is the most touted feature of electrodeless lamps, cost is the most touted disadvantage. The OEM cost of the QL is around $200; adding a luminaire brings the system to a market price of $500 to $800. Philips emphasizes the long life and the benefits of installing the QL in areas where maintenance costs are high. Chapman says, "You have to look beyond initial cost of the system and at lifecycle costs instead." Hillmann is doubtful: "It would take a long time to pay that [high initial cost] back, especially when access could be had with a small lift or step ladder, given how much light you get out of the QL right now." Heelan agrees that it may be too expensive in some spaces. "But if you're looking at a municipality or a university," he says, "you're talking long-term, maintained usage. That's where the QL really makes a difference."

Some luminaire manufacturers haven't developed products for the QL because the systems can't compete against lower-cost HID systems. Hadco's luminaire is easily retrofittable. Fentress says, "The unit is designed to allow the customer to buy and use high-pressure sodium now, but tomorrow if the cost effectiveness of the QL is resolved, there would be no problem to switch out the source." Additionally, because replacing a QL is expensive, the QL luminaire needs to be resistant to vandalism. WILA produces QL downlights with nearly unbreakable acrylic lenses.

There's no comment from Fusion on the price of the sulfur lamp, currently made in ones and twos for demonstrations and tests. Kipling notes, "Ultimately, what does it cost to buy an inexpensive microwave oven?" Hillmann, who worked on the original NASM lighting design, thinks, "The Fusion lamp has a lot of potential...But what is the cost of the system that conveys that light?" The light pipes and guides now available are reportedly quite expensive. Hashmi says that some manufacturers are starting to produce less expensive alternatives.

Though the Genura appears successful in Europe, some European specifiers feel that it's too expensive. And those who have heard its U.S. price of around $20 also think that it's expensive. "For the efficacy you get," says Fentress, "you might as well buy a CFL." The E-lamp is similarly priced, but it will be packaged with luminaires whose prices are unknown at this time.

Barriers to a bright future
"The barrier [of initial cost] is what the buying decisions are going to be based on in the U.S., and the buying decisions in Europe and Asia, quite frankly, appear to be very different," observes Kipling. Both Kipling and Villere think that cost is the major, if not only, barrier to the use of their lamps in the U.S. As with many new products, electrodeless lamps will have to break the vicious circle of demand and cost. Philips runs into a sole-sourcing problem with the QL: no one besides Philips makes a QL-type system. When choosing equipment, many specifiers need to get competitive bids or alternate sources of supply. Philips may offer guarantees to address this problem. Heelan comments, "Even now with some lamps that have more than one manufacturer, sole sourcing is a big problem. It's a problem Philips has with the white sodium lamps. It's a big problem GE had when they first put metal halides on the market." And it could be a problem with the other electrodeless lamps entering the market.

Then there's the h-word. "So far it's a lot of hype," says Hillmann of the sulfur lamp. Not that the lighting community is uninterested in new technologies - it's become wary of situations like the 1992 announcement of the E-Lamp. Besides hearing about products and looking at them in installations, specifiers want to examine the product itself and get samples as soon as possible. They want to be satisfied that a product is well developed so that their clients' buildings won't be test sites.

If the announcement of a new and exciting product is distant from its real availability, manufacturers may find themselves in a bind. "It's no longer the latest and greatest when it is finally available. There's no excitement about it," says Fred Davis, president of Fred Davis Corporation, a wholesaler of efficient lighting products. "They [manufacturers] won't get the leading-edge part of the market, and that leading-edge part of the market is a natural lead-in to the larger part of the market." Davis thinks that delays in the North American release of the Genura may be detrimental from a marketing perspective. He says, "Right now there are reflector CFLs in the 20-watt range that are fairly compact. But by the time the Genura comes out, 23- or 25-watt CFLs might be available in a reflector that would be just as compact." Davis thinks the E-Lamp could also fall behind if its release is continually delayed.

Perhaps electrodeless lamps will become popular through government intervention such as the Energy Policy Act. Villere thinks, "We will see...the same thing happen in high-efficiency lighting that we saw in terms of safety and emission control in the automobile industry."

The lighting community remains wary but hopeful about the promises borne by electrodeless lamps. Some imagine installing a lamp and not worrying about it for over 20 years. Some have given up waiting for the E-Lamp and fear there may be a similar wait for the sulfur lamp. Some think the QL has no general applicability and the Genura is not precise enough for architectural applications. But given the right job, electrodeless lamps can be the right tool. The success of electrodeless lamps will depend on the interaction among manufacturers and the rest of the lighting community.

Whatever Happened to the E-Lamp?

This is an old article from 1994 when GE first marketed it's Genura lamp to the American public. The original post can be found here

In an effort to build a better light bulb, three manufacturers are producing or developing electrode-less induction lamps. But, so far, these lamps have not made it into the residential market.


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by Barbara A. Atkinson
Barbara A. Atkinson is a principal research associate in Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory's Energy Analysis Program. She performs analysis on lighting policy and building energy efficiency for the United States, Canada, Europe, and Central America.



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In April 1994, General Electric (G.E.) Lighting announced that "the world's first practical compact high-tech induction reflector lamp" would be on the market in Europe within weeks. The lamp was on display at the European Hannover Fair in April and at Light Fair in New York in early May. It will be sold in the United States by the fourth quarter of 1994, according to G.E. At first calling it an E-lamp,* G.E. now simply designates their new reflector lamp by its trade name of Genura.

Haven't we heard of this technology before? Home Energy's Sept/Oct '92 issue reported the announcement of major investment funding for Intersource Technologies' E-lamp, an electrode-less induction lamp. Because of its compact size and longer life, the E-lamp would aim to replace the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) as the state-of-the-art efficient light bulb.

Going Commercial

The news for households is that market research has convinced Intersource that the high price (about as much as a CFL) is a major barrier for residential consumers, for now. The company believes acceptance of the technology in the commercial market will be required before a strong residential market will develop. Meanwhile, G.E.'s product is not approved for use in the U.S. residential sector at all. Philips' "QL" induction lamp is a high wattage light source used only in the commercial and industrial sectors.

Intersource has continued research on its E-lamp, aiming toward a 1,500 lumen, 20-some watt replacement for the 100-watt PAR reflector lamp. Its efficacy is estimated at 60 lumens per watt (measured with center beam lumens). The company is looking for a prospective industry partner to produce prototype products by the end of 1994. While the lamp is approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use in the residential sector, Intersource has moved away from a screw-in lamp design. Instead they plan to package the lamp inside a luminaire through OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) for the commercial/industrial market. Intersource has no plans to design an A-line version in the near future.

In the meantime, other manufacturers' research efforts on induction lighting has started to bear fruit. Thorn Lighting in the United Kingdom had a development program for electrode-less induction lamps. U.S.-based G.E. Lighting acquired Thorn in 1991 and continued the induction lighting program. The birth of the Genura lamp culminated an international collaboration among engineers in the United States, England, and Hungary. The lamps are produced at G.E.'s Tungsram plant in Hungary.

The first Genura model, now on sale in Europe, is a 23-watt reflector lamp that replaces a 100-watt incandescent reflector lamp. Because of voltage differences, the version sold in the United States will be the equivalent of a 75-watt reflector lamp. It will reportedly retail for about $20.

G.E. rates the lumen output of the 23-watt lamp at 1,100 lumens, compared with 940 lumens from the 75-watt incandescent reflector it replaces and 1,500 lumens from an electronic CFL 23-watt reflector. Thus, it is slightly less than 50 lumens per watt (Lm/W), much better than the 12.5 Lm/W of the incandescent reflector but less efficacious than the CFL's 65 Lm/W. G.E. will introduce Genura lamps in other wattages in 1995.

G.E.'s Genura is more compact than CFL reflector lamps and is actually smaller than the incandescent reflector lamp it replaces. The E-Lamp will also have size advantages over the CFL reflector lamp.

Interference?

The Genura lamp operates at 2.6 megahertz (Mhz), because Europe has standardized at this frequency for induction lighting. The lamp needs shielding for conducted and radiated electromagnetic interference (EMI) emissions. The reflector portion of the lamp provides enough shielding to meet FCC EMI requirements for 2.6 Mhz. However, residential FCC requirements are stricter and the Genura does not meet them. The company is now attempting to convince the FCC to permit use of the lamp for residences.

Intersource's E-lamp operates at 13.56 Mhz. This is within the Industrial/Scientific/Medical (ISM) band in which the FCC allows unlimited radio-frequency emissions. However, to meet the FCC's residential requirements, the lamp must be shielded to keep emissions in the 40-68 Mhz range (3rd through 5th harmonics of the operating frequency).

Since there is no filament to burn out or electrodes to fail, an induction lamp can be turned on and off without affecting lamp life. Product life is limited only by the lamp phosphor depreciation. G.E. states that the Genura lamp will still have 70% of its rated lumen output at 10,000 hours, and 50% at 20,000 hours. Intersource rates its lamp lifetime as 20,000 hours with 70% of rated lumen output. The color rendering index of the Genura is good at 82.

Both the E-lamp and the Genura have problems starting up at low temperatures, and neither is recommended for outdoor use. Neither can be used on dimming circuits either, but both G.E. and Intersource plan to introduce dimmable induction lamps in the future.

Intersource states that the E-lamp will have "high power factor and low total harmonic distortion." The power quality of the Genura lamp is similar to that of lower-end CFLs, and not as good as high-power-quality CFLs. The second generation of the lamp may be power- quality-corrected.

Is the compact induction lamp the revolutionary lighting product originally acclaimed by the press? The best induction lamps on the horizon will be less efficacious than CFL reflectors. Until G.E. can obtain FCC permission to open a residential frequency band in which the Genura can operate, people will be able to enjoy its benefits only at work or in other public places. The E-lamp can be used in the residential sector, but will not be available as a screw-in retrofit.

Size is the first advantage of these lamps, allowing them to fit in more incandescent sockets. Also, the beam spread or directional quality of the light, critical to the utility of a reflector lamp, is better than that of a CFL reflector. While it's not a point source (such as a spot light or an MR16 reflector), as a flood lamp its beam quality is more like that of an incandescent than of a linear CFL. The induction lamp certainly competes favorably with the incandescent reflector lamp on a life-cycle cost basis, and in many applications it has the design edge over the CFL reflector.


* E-lamp is a registered trademark of Intersource Technologies.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Induction lamps turn on

Sep 1, 2000 12:00 PM, William L. Maiman
The original post can be found here

Philips Lighting and Osram Sylvania have announced additions to their electrodeless induction lamp light sources. These lamps offer extremely long life (up to 100,000 hours) and their average lifespan is 12 years under continuous operation. Induction technology offers lighting designers significantly reduced maintenance costs, low energy consumption, and a very high CRI of 80 in 3500K and 4100K versions.

Philips Lighting has added a 165W induction lamp to its QL series of existing 55 and 85W systems. The entire QL series is available in 120, 220, and 240V versions. The QL induction lamp has been used recently at Singapore's Changi Airport and the Rotterdam World Trade Center.

Osram Sylvania now offers the Icetron induction lamp in a universal voltage configuration (120-277V) in both the 100W and the 150W versions; a 150W, 120-240V style is also available. Outside of North America, the Icetron is marketed under the name Endura.

Recently the 100W Icetron was installed in different areas in Battery Park in New York City. According to Pete Jacobson, lighting specialist for Con Edison in New York, phase one of this installation is complete and an unintended result is that designers can compare induction lighting to conventionally used light sources: The 100W induction lamp is installed near both 150W HPS and 175W metal-halides. "Battery Park uses the same fixture along the esplanade and as roadway lighting, so the different lamp types are easy to see."

Continued growth in the numbers of lighting fixtures being designed to accommodate electrodeless induction sources is indicative of expanding applications for this technology. Jacobson concludes, "These products are moving beyond the experimental phase and are now being specified in greater numbers. All that's needed is the proper application and the vision of the lighting designer or specifier to risk using the unconventional to achieve the promises of this superb light source."

Leading lamps: The lighting market embraces electrodeless technology

Mar 1, 2000 12:00 PM, William L. Maiman
The original post can be found here

"Look, no wires"--a familiar exclamation, one much in use by fans of induction lighting technology. Call it what you will (every manufacturer has a different name for it; designers know its chief product as the electrodeless lamp), its strongest features are a 100,000-hour life, low energy consumption, and a selection of very pleasing color temperatures.

The electrodeless lamp uses magnetic induction, instead of an electrode at each end of the fluorescent tube, to produce illumination. The absence of electrodes (or filaments/wires) is a significant factor behind the much longer lamp life. A conventional fluorescent lamp has an average life of 20,000 hours, with higher operating costs for its associated ballast.

The comparison to a fluorescent system is appropriate, since the operating theories of the induction system and fluorescent lighting are similar. The conventional fluorescent system, with its internal electrodes, utilizes the UV radiation generated by the internal discharge. The radiation is converted to visible light by the phosphor coating on the inner wall of the glass tube. Different phosphors provide for different color temperatures and corresponding CRIs.

Osram Sylvania's Icetron system incorporates an electrodeless fluorescent lamp that is excited by a radio frequency (RF) magnetic field. The two large ferromagnetic (metal) cores create a magnetic field around the glass tube, using the high frequency generated by the RF power converter (ballast). The discharge path, induced by the ferrite cores, forms a closed loop--it is this inductively coupled field that initiates, excites, and maintains the interaction between the electrons and the phosphor within the tube, converting the UV light to visible light. Under the leadership of Valery Godyak, the Osram Sylvania Icetron was developed as the firm's entrant into the induction technology field.

The Icetron lamp has an unusual shape, guided, says Bob Horner, marketing manager for fluorescent products at Osram Sylvania, "by physics, and the need to maximize the efficiency of the system." The choice of phosphors is directly related to the need to be consistent with conventionally used lamps, as well as to ensure the longevity of the 100,000-hour product and to decrease the amount of lumen fall-off that can occur over time. Its frequency is 250kHz, which is considered very safe, and meets the more stringent European standards besides all applicable Federal Communications Commission EMI (electromagnetic interference) regulations.

The Icetron is available in 3500K and 4100K color temperature versions, and in three model types: the 100/QT100 at 100W, with 8,000 lumens; a 100/QT150 at 150W, with 11,000 lumens, and the 150/QT150 at 150W, with 12,000 lumens. There are now over two dozen fixture manufacturers certified by Osram Sylvania to offer complete lighting systems based on Icetron technology (see chart, facing page), which outside North America is marketed as Endura.

Horner says the technology allows for installations in industrial environments; interior settings like atria and entryways; exterior applications such as landscape, under-canopy, and pole-mounted street lighting; and even backlit signage applications. With this technology, aesthetics aren't skimped on, either.

In an era of tighter budgets and more restrictive building codes, many LDs and specifiers are compelled to do more with less. Demanding clients want creative approaches and specialized lighting for their installations. For existing buildings, for example, the textbook approach has been to replace incandescents with compact fluorescents, then to replace inefficient linear fluorescents with metal-halide sources. The inductively coupled electrodeless lamp, with its choice of color temperatures and other features (see chart, page 85), allows for use in many venues that have been hard to light with conventionally equipped lighting fixtures.

Icetron's crisp white light, combined with its very long life, suit it for outdoor applications like parks and public plazas. New York City's Union Square Park, a turn-of-the-last-century park that was the first in the US to have electric light, was recently restored and renovated with assistance from Icetron. "The challenges for the new lighting in Union Square Park were to increase the quantity and quality of light, and reduce maintenance and energy consumption versus the existing high-pressure sodium (100W) system. The new technology achieved all these goals, and demonstrates that there should be no compromising design and maintenance issues for lighting application," says Peter Jacobson, lighting specialist for Con Edison in New York.

Sentry Electric developed the historically appropriate lighting fixtures that accommodate the 100W, 3500K, 8,000-lumen Icetron system. "Using this technology in a post-top fixture required a specially engineered reflector to be developed to allow for good light dispersion and to dissipate the heat associated with the Icetron. However, careful engineering has solved these challenges, and we have seen an increase in sales of Icetron-equipped systems," says Shepard Kay, Sentry Electric's vice president of engineering.

Sentry supplied 60 Union Square ball globe fixtures, which were installed atop poles cast from original 19th-century molds, and 121 Riverside fixtures (a tulip-contoured luminaire with a top decoration and finial), equipped with Icetrons. All units operate on 120VAC, a city standard. The system was formally switched on last spring, and was completely operational by fall. Public (and bureaucratic) reaction has been very favorable, and plans are to expand induction lighting technology in a retrofit of existing roadway fixtures along nearby 14th Street, and possibly bring it to New York's Madison Square and Battery parks. (Currently, Sentry Electric has installed six 100W 3500K Icetron systems for testing and evaluation purposes.) Osram Sylvania's parent company, Siemens, has produced a videotape outlining the Union Square application.

Research is underway to develop a 20,000-lumen system which could provide designers with a comparable light to replace 250W metal-halide lamps. Dimming capability is also being actively explored by Osram Sylvania. Based on the level of activity surrounding it, the Icetron would appear to have a hot future.

Another entrant into this technology, from Philips, is the QL Induction Lamp. Its features include a white light with high CRI values, a 100,000-hour life, and high energy-efficiency, all enclosed in a glass envelope in the familiar bulb shape, similar to an A-lamp.

Operation is similar to other induction-type products, and the QL has three major components--the high frequency ballast (generator), power coupler, and bulb. The ballast contains an oscillator that introduces a high-frequency current (2.65MHz) into the power coupler, located inside the bulb. The power coupler consists of an inductive coil wound around a ferrite core, and is the only metal object within the bulb. Consistent with the term "induction," filaments (electrodes) are not used, providing long life. Completing the system is a coaxial cable connecting the ballast to the power coupler.

Philips says the principle is similar to a transformer. The core-and-coil power coupler produces a magnetic field, which then induces a secondary electrical current in the mercury vapor in the bulb. Similar to fluorescent lamps, the excited mercury ions produce UV radiation that strikes the phosphor coating lining the bulb, and emits the visible white light.

Philips uses two different phosphor coatings (the same as those used in its TL80 T-8 series) that allow the QL to be offered in color temperatures of 3000K and 4000K. Three styles are available: the 55W QL, at 3,500 lumens; the 85W QL at 6,000 lumens; and the recently developed 165W system, capable of producing 12,000 lumens.

This range of lumen packages has been incorporated into outdoor post-top luminaires, downlights, bollards, and other fixtures. The versatility of the QL shape easily allows for incorporation into lighting retrofits, especially for clients with demanding design requirements. The Comfort Inn in midtown Manhattan has numerous fiberglass bowl-type fixtures suspended 20' (6m) above its cozy lobby. "The hotel management wanted to retain its beloved fixtures, and not replace them, and still achieve the benefits of conversion to QL. They were primarily interested in the long life characteristic, which would eliminate the frequent (almost every three months) cycle of lamp changing. We designed a replacement of the three-lamp (100W) incandescent electrical component with one 85W QL at the 3000K temperature," says Judi Nadel, president of Energy & Lighting Systems.

The lighting retrofit (conducted under the Shared Energy Savings Program, administered by Con Edison) retained the muted look of the fixtures and was consistent with their originally measured lumen output, while generating substantial energy savings for the hotel. Nadel says that while saving energy was the impetus behind the introduction of induction lamp technology, an equally important consideration was the time saved on changing the lamps, a process that inevitably discomfited the Comfort Inn with scaffolding, ladders, and floor protection.

The QL's versatility will further increase as more manufacturers release fixtures based on this technology. So far, the QL has also been used on exterior lighting projects within numerous historic districts throughout North America, lanterns in the Museum of the City of New York, downlights over escalators at JC Penney stores, and a test installation of QL-equipped "jelly jars" on the George Washington Bridge in New York City.

Long 100,000-hour life High lumen output Instant on (regardless of temperature) Cold-weather starting, as low as -40 degrees F Instant restrike Wide operating temperature range 80-85 CRI provides excellent color rendition Consistent color over system life Two color temperatures available High system efficacy Flicker-free illumination Electrodeless design Universal operating position Low EMI, compliance with applicable regulations

Compact Fluorescent Systems (CFS), Marlboro, NJ Cooper Lighting, Chicago, IL Esco Lighting, Chicago, IL 1st Source Lighting, Auburn, CA Hadco, Littlestown, PA H.E. Williams, Carthage, MO Hi-Tek, Conyers, GA Holophane, Newark, OH Incon Industries, Sanford, FL Infinity, Carthage, MO Intrepid, Ronkonkoma, NY Kim Lighting, City of Industry, CA Louis Poulsen, Miami, FL Nu-Art, North Salt Lake, UT Pacific Lighting and Standards, Lynwood, CA Paramount Industries, Crosswell, MI Phoenix Lighting, Milwaukee, WI Quality Lighting, Franklin Park, IL Robert Lighting & Energy, Fairfield, NJ SPI Lighting, Mequon, WI Sentry Lighting, Freeport, NY Spring City Electrical, Spring City, PA Sterner, Winstead, MN Tri-Star Lighting, Huntington Valley, PA Widelite Outdoor, San Marcos, TX Winona, Winona, MN Zumtobel, Highland, NY

General Electric Osram Sylvania Philips Lighting