NEW YORK – Tyco Electronics, a leading supplier of electronic components ($12.1 billion revenue in 2010), is now laying a strategic bet on the lighting business.
Tyco Electronics’ freshly minted lighting business unit is rolling out Monday (Jan. 31st), a solid-state lighting solution, called “Nevalo.” It is specifically designed for lighting manufacturers transitioning to the new solid-state lighting fixture business.
Included in the Nevalo system are: a host of LED light module options; optics; drivers; new wiring systems; heat sinks and others.
Tyco Electronics’ engineering team developed the Nevalo system “to take the technical complexity out of the equation” in the LED design and manufacturing process, according to Holly Miller, marketing project management at Tyco Electronics.
While capitalizing on global regulatory trends (where many countries are moving toward banning the sale of incandescent bulbs), Tyco Electronics is focusing on the needs of lighting fixture suppliers, who generally lack adequate electronics experience or expertise to design new LED-based lighting systems.
“The barrier to entry in the solid-state lighting market still remains high,” noted Miller. The problem is that lighting fixture suppliers -- historically involved in mechanical and industrial design expertise -- are now required to learn, in addition, the electronics technology. “In essence, it is a total technology change for many lighting designers,” added Miller.
Further, designers also face unproven new components, as LED technology continues to advance. Consequently, it’s no easy task for lighting designers to match the right LED modules with the right optics and driver module, pair it with correct wiring and thermal management systems.
To be sure, lighting fixture suppliers today are not just building LED light bulbs, but a variety of solid-state lighting fixtures – in all shapes and forms – featuring digital control capabilities.
Designers of such future lighting systems cannot rely on knowing just one of the key building blocks [LED light modules, drivers, optics, wiring system to thermal and control systems], since each covers distinctly disparate technical expertise. They need to bring together knowledge at the system level, taking into account any interaction between the different technology building blocks used in solid-state lighting systems.
Hence, simplifying the design process is the first order of business before expanding the solid-state lighting market.
Tyco Electronics will provide lighting designers, or small to medium-size lighting fixture suppliers, with a color-coded table that lists all the necessary components [made available in the Nevalo System] for solid-state lighting. Such a holistic, system-level approach is designed to ease the pain, and help the lighting fixture suppliers to “safely and confidently mix and match” the right components necessary to create new LED lightings, said Tyco Electronics’ Miller. Further, Tyco Electronics hopes to assist them with products that can meet with constantly changing lighting standards and regulations on the global market.
Meanwhile, Tyco Electronics’ entry into the lighting business couldn’t have been timed better.
According to an LED market report just published this month by IMS Research, the next growth spurt in LED’s is expected to come from general lighting, rather than from its use in backlighting LCD TVs.
The packaged LED market grew from $6.1 billion in 2009 to $10.2 billion in 2010, a revenue growth of 67%, according to IMS Research. The $4.1 billion increase in 2010 versus 2009 is by far the largest in the history of LEDs.
Half the total LED market growth was driven by packaged LED sales for TVs, which grew from $0.4 billion to $2.5 billion. However, the market research firm projects all major backlighting applications to get saturated in 2013. Instead, from 2013, “LEDs in general lighting are forecast to account for most growth.”
Temperature: the biggest challenge in solid state lighting
One can’t possibly stress enough the significant impact of excessive temperature in solid- state lighting. It adversely affects the performance, lifetime and reliability of LEDs. It also affects nearby circuitry and connectors.
While it is imperative to install large heat sinks to keep LED temperatures within safe operating limits, advanced solid-state lighting designs often demand a thermal management system -- fully equipped with temperature sensors -- to provide monitoring, detection and protection for the light source. But the story doesn’t end there. How to properly measure and calculate LED temperature is a critical issue for solid-state lighting designers.
Indeed, it is well known that LED luminaire life is not identical to estimated LED life. For example, centrally located temperatures are not sufficient to monitor, detect and project multiple LED designs, according to Tyco Electronics.
Tyco Electronics believes that specially-designed test tools that accurately record temperatures can simplify the task of verifying that the temperature design has been done correctly. The Nevalo system offers a tool box that includes a thermal test instrument to help designers instantly test a system’s thermal performance, according to the company. Tyco Electronics believes such additional design tools will help lighting fixture designers shorten the testing and approval process for their new solid-state lighting systems.
The Nevalo system offers more than 60 LED light module options (ranging from 300-to-3400 lumens); optics in total internal reflection and reflector styles; drivers with constant current output, dimming-control capabilities and temperature monitoring; a new ribbon-based, four-wire configuration wiring system that is physically keyed and color coded for polarity, accurate power connections and ease of manufacturing. It also includes heat sinks matched to the LED light modules.
Tyco Electronics’ lighting business unit has more than 72 engineers around the world, including those in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and Shanghai.