Lighting technology is constantly evolving


LED lighting technology is constantly evolving, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved. Ian Drinkwater explores the latest trends and advancements changing the face of lighting.

Lighting manufacturers are constantly seeking to develop solutions that improve the performance and efficiency of LED fixtures, extending operational life while offering market leading brightness and clarity.

Traditionally, LED technology has been integrated to deliver energy-efficiency and long-life performance. However, the latest generation of LED modules is pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved. No longer are efficiencies restricted to traditional fixtures such as wall lamps and ceiling pendants; LED light is now used to generate brand appeal, in wayfinding and to create stunning architectural displays.

LED ribbon, for instance, has become the weapon of choice for specifiers looking to create accent or decorative lighting. However, technology has enabled the development of systems which can improve the performance of even their LED predecessors, out-stripping ribbon in terms of both energy usage and luminance. Compact and durable, the latest modules can be used in signage and lightbox applications to stunning effect. As the luminaires are even brighter than those previously used in LED ribbon, fewer modules are required to achieve the same levels of brightness, therefore energy usage is reduced. The uniform light produced is perfect for signage and the shallowest of lightbox applications.

Unlike LED tape, which is potentially difficult to fit and requires complex calculations to achieve perfect spacing, the latest products feature in-built module spacers, which ensures equidistant light output every time. These products have been successfully used in the illumination of built-up letters, light boxes and fabricated signage. Despite an increase in illumination, white modules can draw as little as 1.12W each, with colour options consuming even less.

New products such as FlexLogic LED from Applelec create continuous lines of flexible light that can be used indoors or out to spectacular effect. The FlexLogic neon flex range offers two bending directions, with light running laterally along the length of the profile or the light surface itself, enabling it to be shaped around columns. An IP68 rated seal or clasp can be fitted to ends, ensuring both easy installation and full module protection.

Lighting up arena’s VIP area
Anyone lucky enough to have enjoyed a preconcert tipple in the VIP bar of the first direct arena in Leeds cannot fail to have noticed the stunning double lightbox installation featuring 240 album covers from artists who have played the venue since its inauguration in 2013. JLS, Robbie Williams, Jess Glynn and Fleetwood Mac all feature within the centrepiece. The two textile frame lightboxes are around three metres in height, with one measuring 10 metres in length and the second just under five metres.

In a concept created by design agency Jaywing, corporate design and branding specialists Nebula Creative designed and installed the two lightboxes. The system chosen to illuminate the boxes comprised a total of 56 SloanLED PosterBOX 3 modules supplied by Applelec, who also provided the flex face light box frame for the installation. Systems such as the PosterBox 3 are perfect for use in shallow spaces, down to a depth of just 50mm for a single-sided application.

Just two rows of facing modules, fitted to the top and bottom edges, were sufficient to illuminate the lightboxes, despite their impressive height and width. The fact that just two rows were required, coupled with the built-in spacing on the PosterBox 3 range, resulted in a significantly reduced installation time.

Equally impressive was the modest energy consumption of the scheme. The entire installation draws just over 750W – approximately 86% less than a similar fluorescent scheme and less than a regular LED ribbon equivalent, which would still draw around 2,344W. The luminance produced is so bright and even that the display can be clearly seen outside the venue, through the windows of the lounge.

Commenting on the scheme, the arena’s director of sales, marketing and PR Tony Watson said: “We’ve installed significant branding throughout the arena and without a doubt the most effective piece is our lightbox by Nebula Creative, utilising the SloanLED system from Applelec. The resulting installation is stunning and has transformed our most important space.”

Ian Drinkwater is managing drector of trade signage supplier Applelec, which which recently became an official supplier of SloanLED products in the UK