Lighting Fair 2011 Report-From an Era of Brightness to an Era of Light Quality Part2

[ 2011.04.13 ]

(Writer:KEN OKAMOTO/Lighting Designer) 

Evolution of the LED bulb

LED bulbs have become a symbol of eco-friendliness and energy efficiency. On the other hand, there have been frequent reports on television and on the Internet of various problems. These include complaints about the light not spreading, that they are dark, and that they cut out when they are used. LED bulbs on display at the exhibition indicated that progress has been made in addressing these problems. Many LED bulbs were seen with light distribution wider than that of conventional LED bulbs and approaching that of incandescent light bulbs. With the LED bulbs in use up until now, it was difficult to increase the light-emitting area due to the balance with power supply circuits and heat sinks, which meant that downward illumination was strong, but the light did not diffuse much above the horizontal line. PANASONIC ELECTRIC WORKS has increased light diffusion with a new method using a double reflector. This has improved light distribution from the conventional 120 degrees to 300 degrees.

Figure 44
Figure 44  PANASONIC ELECTRIC WORKS' new LED bulb (left) has 300 degree light distribution. Comparing it with the conventional LED bulb (right), which has 120 degree light distribution, we can see that the new bulb's light is weaker in the upward direction (actually the downward direction), but the light is well diffused.

Figure 45
Figure 45, 46 Greater diffusion of light with the newly developed double reflector method (left side, Figure 46) (PANASONIC ELECTRIC WORKS)

I considered the biggest improvement to PANASONIC ELECTRIC WORKS' LED bulb to be the S-type down light for thermal insulated construction, which can be used in enclosed fittings. Actually most of the down lights used in housing construction are S-type for thermal insulated construction, but presently most LED bulbs cannot be used in these S-type down lights. However, even when there is no problem with installation and turning them on, it appears that problems can occur after they are used for a while due to the effect of heat. This includes the light failing to turn on. Solving this problem will have great significance for the propagation of LED bulbs in the future. 。

Figure 47
Figure 47, 48 A new LED bulb that can be used in thermal insulated fittings and enclosed fittings such as S-type down lights (PANASONIC ELECTRIC WORKS)

Figure 49
Figure 49, 50 Precautions in the use of LED bulbs: Precautions regarding the use of conventional LED bulbs are shown in Figure 49. Their use in enclosed fittings or S-type down lights for thermal insulated construction is not allowed. However these warnings are not written on the package for PANASONIC ELECTRIC WORKS' new LED bulb (Figure 50).

An LED filament bulb displayed at the USHIO LIGHTING booth resembled a clear incandescent bulb. The part corresponding to the filament is an LED. It emits light similar to an incandescent bulb. Even today, at a time when the LED is marketed widely, we frequently hear ordinary users say they want the retro look and the warm light of incandescent bulbs. This lamp could be used in situations where the characteristic filament light of incandescent bulbs is important, such as in chandeliers.

Figure 51
Figure 51, 52 USHIO LIGHTING's LED filament bulb This high-quality LED bulb faithfully reproduces the nostalgic atmosphere of incandescent bulbs. However, their life of about 20,000 hours is only about half that of a normal LED.

Seamless type LED line lighting

Indirect light fittings that emit light to the ends of the lamp using seamless line lamps or seamless slim lamps, as typified by NIPPO ELECTRIC and DAIA KEIKO (now merged as DN LIGHTING) are indispensible for architectural lighting. Not only among lighting specialists, but also among architectural designers and construction professionals, the term "seamless" has become synonymous with indirect light fittings.

When LEDs first started to be used for ordinary lighting, the most common application was line lighting for indirect lighting. The main attractions of LEDs, their life and compactness, have made indirect lighting possible in places where installation was difficult in the past. However, they have not provided sufficient brightness or the diffusiveness of soft light such as that afforded by fluorescent lights. Many seamless LED line lights seen at this Fair seem to have successfully addressed these weaknesses. With these improvements, they are more powerful, and they should be able to compete with the seamless line.

The original LED seamless line (LED's SEAMLESS) was developed by DN LIGHTING. The first type of LED seamless line introduced was the retrofit type, which can replace a conventional seamless line and be used as it is. The LED seamless line is expected to progress by module variation in the same way the seamless line has. Also, it is good to hear that seamless LED are available that can be used outdoors (spray resistant).

In addition, DAIKO ELECTRIC, KOIZUMI LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY, ODELIC, MINTAGE, and others displayed LED line lighting that showed an awareness of the seamless line. The issues for the future are said to be price and brightness.

Figure 53
Figure 53 Retrofit seamless LED from DN LIGHTING (LED's SEAMLESS). These can be attached as they are to conventional seamless line fittings

Figure 54
Figure 54 A seamless LED that can be used outdoors (DN LIGHTING)

Figure 55
Figure 55 Seamless type LED line lighting from KOIZUMI LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY: Two types of light distribution, wide angle and medium angle, which can be selected to fit the intended use.

Figure 56
Figure 56, 57 Seamless LED line lighting with high-color rendering (KOIZUMI LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY): Reference seamless-type LED line lighting products were displayed to show the direction of development. Ample variations in color rendering, including color temperature and length were presented.

Figure 58
Figure 58, 59 DAIKO ELECTRIC has abundant variation in LED line lighting. The illumination angle can be adjusted depending on the condition of installation of the fitting (Figure 59).

Figure 60
Figure 60 There is plenty of variety in length and color temperature in the seamless LED line lighting (Lighting Unit Premium TYPE-R) from MINTAGE.

Figure 61
Figure 61 Seamless LED line lighting from Odelic

Figure 62
Figure 62 Seamless LED line lighting from ROHM

Internal power sources (integrated power sources)

Basically, LED lighting cannot light up with 100V; therefore, a transformer called the power source is used to enable lighting with the normal 100V. Most LED lighting requires a part known as the power source in addition to the fitting. We hear that it is often the case that, no matter how small and compact the LED lighting is, a power source larger than the light fitting is needed. Many designers must be perplexed about where to place the power source.

There are LEDs that can light up without a power source. This is because the power source is built into the fitting. LED bulbs are typical examples of this. More than lower price or greater brightness, most designers are probably calling for LED lighting with built-in power sources. I, of course, am one of them. I actually do not know how much this has been requested, but I was delighted to see so many LED lights with internal power supplies on display. 。

It is feared that having the power source built into the fitting will detract from the biggest feature of LED lighting, its compactness. This is relevant to seamless LED lighting discussed previously, but most of these fittings are larger than LED line lighting such as conventional indirect lighting. I think one reason for this is that the power source is built into most seamless LEDs. Even if they are a bit large, provided they are the same size or smaller than the seamless line, which is known as slim indirect lighting, there should be no problem when used as indirect lighting as long as the conditions are not too difficult. I think the merits of an internal power source far outweigh some increase in the size of the fitting. In the future I believe we will see further development of LED lighting with built-in internal power sources.

Figure 63
Figure 63 Slim internal power source LED line lighting from ODELIC

Figure 64
Figure 64 LED line lighting developed by MORIYAMA to meet 100V outdoor specifications: LED line lighting with a built-in power supply is not so common for outdoor use. The cost performance is high at 34,000 to 35,000 yen for 0.9m.


"Wireless" was the most interesting keyword at this exhibition. It refers to turning lighting on or off or adjusting the light, etc., using a wireless remote control or controller. A very unique display was seen in the booth for familiar indirect lighting such as tape lights from TOKI CORPORATION (TOKISTAR).

Two types of LED down lights were on display: focusing down lights and focusing & zooming down lights, for spaces such as hotel guest rooms. The focusing down light is a groundbreaking product. The direction of illumination from the light fixture can be freely adjusted using a wireless remote control. I had previously seen this type of fitting in spot lights, but this must be the first Japanese manufacturer to apply it to a down light. This is a high-quality fitting, not only in terms of functionality, but also because it is small and has very little glare. This is ideal for reading lights in hotel guest rooms.

Figure 65
Figure 65 Focusing down light (Photograph: TOKI CORPORATION)

Figure 66
Figure 66, 67 Focusing down light operated by remote control (TOKI CORPORATION). By operating a remote control on the table, the direction of illumination of a down light illuminating the table can be directed toward the operator's hand.

Also, the direction of illumination from the focusing and zooming down light can be adjusted. The light distribution can be adjusted as well -- in a range of 10 to 30 degrees. It can also be controlled by a smart phone or a familiar Android terminal. The light can be adjusted with a single button, and if a desired scene is set in advance, a wall picture can be illuminated when no one is in the room, or a table can be illuminated when someone sits down at the table, etc. This is lighting aptly described as "appropriate light at the appropriate place.

Figure 68
Figure 68 Zooming and focusing down light (from TOKI CORPORATION's pamphlet)

Figure 69
Figure 69-72 The illumination direction and light distribution are changed when the movement of the zooming and focusing down light is manipulated with an Android terminal.

Another fresh surprise was found at the booth of YAMADA SHOMEI LIGHTING. The "ZigBee" system produced with the special cooperation of MURATA MANUFACTURING is absolutely unique. ZigBee is a system for wireless control of several appliances within an area at the same time. The name of the system takes its inspiration from a network of honey bees flying in a zigzag manner across field, exchanging information about the location of honey. If the LED light fittings have an LED power source with a compact dedicated ZigBee wireless module, several light fittings can be individually controlled by a controller. It is also possible to control lighting level sensors, proximity sensors, shock sensors (sensors that sense vibrations such as earthquakes, etc.), and couple them wirelessly to the light fittings. The major attraction is that there has never been such a lighting control system like this simple and compact system consisting of a combination of fittings containing wireless modules, a controller and small sensors. "

Figure 73
Figure 73 A shock sensor (left), illumination level sensor (middle), and infrared sensor (right) coupled to the ZigBee system were displayed at the YAMADA SHOMEI LIGHTING booth).* ZigBee® and ZigBee Alliance are registered trademarks.

Figure 74
Figure 74 Easy control with a small controller (YAMADA SHOMEI LIGHTING booth)

Figure 75
Figure 75, 76 A pendant and desk stand were simultaneously controlled by a ZigBee system (at YAMADA SHOMEI LIGHTING booth).

The booth had several desk stands (Z-LIGHT series) and pendants that incorporated wireless modules that were simultaneously controlled. In the future if excellent systems such as ZigBee become commonplace, detailed work in the design stage of separating lighting circuits and complicated switch plans, etc., will be eliminated. A large system is not necessary, and because it can be controlled by a single controller, it is expected to be widely used, not only in facilities and commercial establishments, but for home lighting systems.

The IWASAKI ELECTRIC booth displayed a wireless light adjustment system for use with outdoor LED floodlights.

Figure 77
Figure 77 IWASAKI ELECTRIC's "LED eye sensor system" turns on outdoor LED floodlights that include proximity sensors and a wireless light adjustment function.

Organic EL

Organic EL is gaining attention as the next-generation lighting system after LED. With a light emission principle very similar to LED, it uses organic matter as a light emitter which is why it is referred to as Organic LED or OLED. Unlike the previous exhibition, this time each manufacturer had many organic EL lights on display. Compared with LED, in the field of ordinary lighting, organic EL has the image of being two to three steps behind. But the exhibits I saw gave me the impression that it is not so far behind in commercialization and market penetration. NEC LIGHTING booth had a space where only organic EL lighting was exhibited, although this was just a reference display. Setting aside the cost aspects, spaces consisting of organic EL with a lighting efficiency of 60lm/W had sufficient brightness.

Figure 78
Figure 78 NEC LIGHTING's organic EL brand "LIFEEL"

Figure 79
Figure 79-82 A space rendered as though it was alive was created by using all organic EL ceiling lighting, floor stands, and wall lighting. (NEC LIGHTING)

Displayed at the KANEKA booth were organic EL panels that went on sale March 22, 2011. These provided red, orange, and white (warm colors) or blue and green lighting. The use life depends on the light color; white is 15,000 hours, blue is 10,000 hours. The others are 30,000 hours. As these are launched for normal lighting use in advance of other manufacturers, I am looking forward to the company's future development work.

Figure 83
Figure 83, 84 KANEKA's organic EL was launched on March 22, 2011. Shapes are in four patterns: square type A (40mm square), square type B (77mm square), rectangular type A (170×17mm), and rectangular type B (170×32mm).

Figure 85
Figure 85-88 Rendition of spaces such as a bedroom or a bar counter with all organic EL (KANEKA)

Figure 89
Figure 89 Orders were taken for prototype organic EL stands (limited quantities) at the KANEKA booth.

Organic EL was also exhibited at other booths, including those set up by PANASONIC ELECTRIC WORKS, ROHM, ODELIC, YAMADA SHOMEI LIGHTING, and PHILIPS. Organic EL has features unlike any other lighting or LED to date. This includes extreme thinness, which means it can be bent, and transparent materials that can emit light. These features attracted attention not only as light fittings, but also as light-emitting building materials. Each booth attracted many people associated with architectural design as well as others in the lighting field.

Figure 90
Figure 90, 91 Organic EL from PANASONIC ELECTRIC WORKS: Its feature is Ra90 high color rendering. The intention is to launch organic EL for general lighting uses in the 2011 business year.

Figure 92
Figure 92 PHILIPS' organic EL module "LumiBlade"

Figure 93
Figure 93, 94 YAMADA SHOMEI LIGHTING's organic EL desk stand using Philips' LumiBlade

Figure 95
Figure 95, 96 A LUMIOTEC organic EL module on display at the ROHM booth: LUMIOTEC is a joint venture formed in May 2008 by MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, ROHM, TOPPAN PRINTING and others. It is the world's first company specializing in "organic EL for lighting purposes."

Figure 97
Figure 97 A prototype ceiling light developed by ODELIC that uses a LUMIOTEC organic EL module

Currently almost all of these systems are in the prototype stage. It is expected that practical proposals for normal lighting, both in terms of price and performance, will be ready for the next Lighting Fair or thereafter.

The winning entries in last year's Organic EL Design Competition held by the Light Bridge Association JAPAN NPO and others were exhibited in the "ORGANIC EL LOUNGE" within the exhibition hall. I found the works created from free conceptions to be very stimulating.

Figure 98
Figure 98, 99 Views of the ORGANIC EL LOUNGE: The bustling crowds at the exhibits showed that people's interest in organic EL is very high.

Figure 100
Figure 100, 101, 102 Winners of the prize for "Most Excellent Product" in the 2010 Organic EL Design Competition, "Expand Light": Each year product-related works win many prizes. The top prize was won by a product proposed from an architectural point of view.

Figure 103
Figure 103, 104 Past prize-winning works were also displayed

The keen interest in LED lighting has not diminished, but it is no longer an era of completion based on brightness as was the case before, when great attention was paid to light flux (lm) and efficiency (lm/W). The brightness of LED lighting has already reached the level of conventional light sources, so brightness is taken for granted. At this Lighting Fair, most of the products appealed to viewers on the basis of such features as elimination of multi-shadow, improved color rendering, glareless LED lighting, and beautiful light color tones. LED lighting has really transitioned from an era of brightness to an era of quality. LED lighting has evolved to a completely different dimension, far beyond what we considered LED lighting to be several years ago. At this Fair, I felt that LED lighting with low power consumption and long life (about 40,000 hours) combined with high-quality brightness and light has addressed the disadvantages of the past. It is approaching a completed form as the next generation of lighting.


The next exhibition, LIGHTING FAIR 2013, is scheduled to be held at TOKYO BIG SIGHT from March 5 to 8, 2013. Prior to LIGHTING FAIR 2013, LED Next Stage 2012, a LED lighting exhibition will be held at TOKYO BIG SIGHT from March 6 to 9, 2012. For further information, please see the official web site of the exhibition.

If you are interested in participating in the next show, please contact the following for further information:
LIGHTING FAIR/LED Next Stage Overseas Contact Office
Tel. +81-3-3512-5670/Fax. +81-3-3512-5680

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