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LEDs moving in on CFLs in general lighting

LEDs moving in on CFLs in general lighting

 

It’s a small world on airplanes flying between technology coasts. This time on the San Francisco to Boston run, I cornered Udi Meirav, CEO of Luminus, which is doing great things with LED lighting. The small world part is that two years ago, I wrote about Luminus’ Phlatlight technology just as it was entering the projection TV market. Compared to TVs using mercury arc lamps, Phlatlight LEDs produce a superior picture, last much longer and are kinder to the environment given they don’t contain mercury. Luminus Phlatlight LEDs can be found in the Samsung 1080p DLP units, but now TVs are the its “legacy” business, says Meirav. Since I last caught up with the company, Luminus has moved into the “pocket projectors” market and has struck deals to produce light engines for Samsung and LG units. But now it’s eyeing the much bigger general lighting market defined as street lamps, industrial and home lighting. In February LLF, formerly LED Lighting Fixtures, was brought by Cree and already makes LED can lighting typically found in kitchens. It’s now the LED Lighting Solutions unit of Cree.

 

But much work remains to be done to get the costs down (An LED is a semiconductor, BTW). For instance, a 60-watt incandescent light bulb produces about 800 lumens, according to Meirav.  While a 15-20 watt LED can produce 800 lumens of warm friendly glow, it costs about $80 versus under $1 for an incandescent bulb, says Meirav.

 

But LEDs have a lot going for them. We already reap comparable electricity savings from CFLs, but the problem is the mercury they contain which has to be recycled or cleaned up if a CFL is broken. Drop one of those puppies on the floor and you’re looking at possibly thousands in hazardous waste clean up costs. And finding a place where you can recycle dead CFLs isn’t easy, either.

 

Only the most elite pocketbooks will open for LEDs at current prices, but the cost will come down. Cree maintains the electricity savings over incandescent bulbs already make LEDs quickly pay for themselves. Be that as it may, Cree makes it real difficult to find the actual cost of its big product, the 12-watt and 650 lumen LR6 can light. I suppose that’s to avoid sticker shock.

 

So I called a nearby Design Lighting and Electrical Supplies in N. Andover, Mass. which which carries the LR6. A nice salesman said that with the can and trim, they cost between $140-$145 apiece (a bit lower in volume) versus about $45 for an incandescent can. But he pitched the LR6 hard and said they pay for themselves within five years and last for 17. “We can’t keep them in the store,” he said. Our kitchen cans have CFLs in them, but I am intrigued by the LR6.

 

As for Luminus, it will announce its general lighting strategy in a couple of weeks, Meirav said. And next week, the company will get the the Display Component of the Year Gold Award for its Backlit Unit at the SID show in Los Angeles.

 

For a technology journalist, the run between San Francisco to Boston has always been productive. The trip home to Boston last night did not disappoint.

Resource Center E-Alert: Free Motion Control Information Made Easy

Resource Center E-Alert: Free Motion Control Information Made Easy

May 15, 2008
Design News' Resource Center e-Alert provides design engineers fast and convenient access to the latest information - data sheets, design guides, CAD files, application notes, instruction manuals, reference designs and white papers - on technologies and products available on manufacturer sites.
Featured Vendor
AutomationDirect AutomationDirect is a direct seller of automation and industrial control products such as PLCs, sensors, pushbuttons, AC drives/motors, enclosures, operator interfaces, and much more. AutomationDirect offers a free 1,900+ page catalog and full-featured web site for your viewing experience. View All Resources from AutomationDirect
EMI-Shielded O-rings Vendor:Apple Rubber Products | Type: Design Guide | Category:Motion Control/Automation Apple Rubber provides EMI-Shielded O-rings and seals as an alternative to metallic coating of parts and other methods utilized for EMI shielding, while delivering a reliable sealing solution.

Models Available For Download Vendor:BESWICK ENGINEERING CO INC. | Type: CAD File | Category: Motion Control/Automation In an effort to provide additional services to our customers we have implemented a download option for 3D CAD models. All models are currently in available in both STEP and IGES format.


DST: SOPHISTICATED DIRECT DRIVE TECHNOLOGY Vendor:Baumuller, Inc. | Type: Product Catalog | Category:Motion Control/Automation The high-performance high-torque motors (DSTs) from Baumuller are a powerful alternative to geared motors: they offer high torque at low speeds. The low maintenance, low energy consumption direct drive technology is characterised by compact motor units that offer high running quality, high dynamic response and positioning accuracy in the system.

How to Choose the Right Connector Vendor:COLDER PRODUCTS CO. | Type: Product Brief | Category: Motion Control/Automation With so many connection options, it can often be an overwhelming task to decide which connector is best suited for an application. By understanding your application requirements and selecting the correct connection type, you will have better performance and sealing results.


Brushless Motors Flyer Vendor:Dynetic Systems | Type: Product Brief | Category:Motion Control/Automation BL line of NEMA fractional HP Brushless Motors complete with a line of integrated gearing offered as a sealed unit to IP65. Based on Salient Pole technology this high current/low voltage line is perfect for today's mobile environments. Check out our website to download a copy of our Brushless Motors Flyer.
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Custom Sensors & Technologies (CST) CST represents a unique collection of companies under one umbrella as a distinct global business unit within Schneider Electric. Now a singular business, they represents a set of proven brands with a long-standing ability to deliver advanced application-specific solutions across a wide array of sensing technologies along with control and actuation products. View All Resources from Custom Sensors & Technologies
Customized Motor Quick Reference Chart Vendor:Groschopp | Type: Design Guide | Category: Motion Control/Automation This graph maps the speed-torque curves of all four motor types on one graph, using the same scale to clearly illustrate the differences between the motors.


High Load Capacity Actuator Vendor:NB Corporation of America | Type: Product Brief | Category:Motion Control/Automation NB Corporation's compact single axis BG Actuator has a unique "U" shaped integrated slide guide and ball screw. Its highly rigid structure may be one-end supported. The 4, ball circuits in its slide block deliver high load capacity, accuracy and rigidity. Brochure has dimensions, drawings and ratings. 3-D CAD available.


Nexen Servo Motor Brake Provides Power-off Stopping for Gantry Systems Vendor:NEXEN Group Inc. | Type: Case Study | Category: Motion Control/Automation In emergency stop situations, heavy loads need to be stopped safely and quickly in a controlled manner. These are the issues a major designer and builder of robotic gantry systems had when they came to Nexen. See what the solution was.


Tuning Your System Vendor:Paratherm Corp. | Type: Design Guide | Category:Motion Control/Automation Maintaining your thermal fluid system's design flow rate is critical for system performance. Quantitative output can be provided by flowmeters, but for a simpler and less costly method of tuning a system, users should consider the installation of pressure gauges.
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Motion Control: Tomorrow's Fuel-Efficient Automotive Transmissions

Motion Control: Tomorrow's Fuel-Efficient Automotive Transmissions

May 15, 2008
Spotlight Story:
Tomorrow's Fuel-Efficient Automotive Transmissions
Concerned about fuel economy? Well, forget about hybrid electric vehicles for a minute. Automotive engineers are revamping the transmissions of conventional vehicles to save fuel without sacrificing driving performance. Full Story
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Linear Motion Components 3D Data

THK, the pioneer of the linear motion system and the patent innovator of Caged Technology, contiues to be the preferred world leader in linear motion guide technology. 3D downloads are available on our website of the highest quality linear motion components including: linear motion guides, actuators, ball screws and ball splines. Click Here.
In the News:
Career Advice from the Mechatronics Expo
The 2008 Mechatronics Expo focused on the skills engineers need to create smart electro-mechanical systems. Full Story The System Aspects of Sensing
Author Rob Lineback discusses the increasing focus on the system aspects of sensors, including interfacing, communication (including wireless), packaging and ease of use. Full Story

Stanford's Autonomous Helicopter, Car Big Hit at ExpoGabe Hoffmann, Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University talked about autonomous cars and unmanned helicopters as part of his speech at the 2008 Mechatronics Expo.

Full Story
Phoenix Mars Lander Will Probe for Signs of Life
NASA is setting up a lab May 25 on Mars to analyze polar ice in an effort to determine if the Red Planet can support life. A shovel will chop terrain the consistency of granite. Video and podcasts included! Read More

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Laser Measurement Technical Application Guides
Four application guides from KEYENCE describe the methodology and techniques for measuring a variety of targets and materials using laser displacement sensors. The guides include: measuring metal targets; eliminating surface reflections; measuring LCD glass and PDPs; plastics and translucent materials; and measuring runout, eccentricity, and vibration. Download all four bulletins plus product brochure.

Gadget Freak Case #120: Super-Powered Salad Spinner - VIDEO Here's a muscle-free salad spinner that works via sink faucet and rotates your salad greens faster than the manual version no matter how much muscle you put into it. Watch Now

Solving Sensor Interfacing Issues in Portable Multi-Sensor Systems - WEBCAST As sensors numbers increase and specifications tighten, the design challenges of the sensor interfacing portion of the system increase. Guest expert Andreas Heldwein from ZMD AG will identify a solution to simplify interfacing multiple sensors. Watch Now
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Sponsored Technology Content
Webcast: Mechatronics in the Age of Digital Images In partnership with Bosch Rexroth, National Instruments and Siemens PLM
Avid photographers talk about image focus, shutter speed and depth of field, but rarely do they talk about image sensors, gyroscopes, actuators and ultrasonic motors. But the digital camera is truly a mechatronics marvel. Kevin Craig's three-part webcast takes you through the basics of photography through the birth of the digital age to explain how mechatronics is revolutionizing the digital camera. Read More

Partnering with Iowa State's Institute for Physical Research and Technology In partnership with Groschopp Inc.
Groschopp Inc. engineers and manufactures customized, high-reliability fractional horsepower electric motors and gear motors for some of the world's most demanding Original Equipment Manufacturers. Find out why the company has turned to IPRT Company Assistance to help it maintain its reputation for products of the highest quality. Read More

Sensorless Field Oriented (FOC) Control for AC Induction Motors In partnership with Microchip Technology Inc.
The requirement of low-cost, low-maintenance, robust electrical motors have resulted in the emergence of the AC Induction Motor (ACIM) as the industry leader. Learn how to apply sensorless field-oriented control of induction motors using a dsPIC(R) Digital Signal Controller (DSC) from Microchip Technology. Read More


All the Muscle, Half the Space. In partnership with ABB
ABB's new all-in-one low voltage drive can increase your productivity, while saving you space and energy.
Experience this drive now! Read More
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The Latest Motion Control Resources Available:
Featured Vendor
Custom Sensors & Technologies (CST) CST represents a unique collection of companies under one umbrella as a distinct global business unit within Schneider Electric. Now a singular business, they represents a set of proven brands with a long-standing ability to deliver advanced application-specific solutions across a wide array of sensing technologies along with control and actuation products. View All Resources from CST

Automation Notebook: Demystifying Network Communications Vendor:AutomationDirect | Type: Training Guide "Had I known how fast, cool, easy, flexible, or powerful this was, I would have used Ethernet a long time ago." This tutorial defines some common terms and shows you how they fit together. You'll find that networking is no more complicated than ordering a hamburger.


High Performance Sensor Interface Vendor:Enfield Technologies | Type: Design Guide The LS-C30 amplifies the output of bridge-type resistive sensors (pressure sensors, load cells) to plus or minus 10 Vdc. This allows low-level sensors to be used with the LS-C10, LS-C41 and C2 controllers.
View All Motion Control/Automation Resources

Tomorrow's Fuel-Efficient Automotive Transmissions Career Advice from the Mechatronics Expo
The System Aspects of Sensing
Stanford's Autonomous Helicopter, Car Big Hit at Expo
Phoenix Mars Lander Will Probe for Signs of Life
DN's Latest Podcasts, Webcasts & Videos
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Joseph Ogando,
Senior Editor

I was at the Mechatronics Expo in Santa Clara, were you? Let me know about your experience: Email me.


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IPC holds July symposium on electronics and the environment

IPC holds July symposium on electronics and the environment

The Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC) will hold a Symposium on Electronics and the Environment in Cambridge, Mass. on July 16 – 17. Speakers include a mix of experts from OEMs, EMS companies, PCB manufacturers, industry suppliers, academia and government officials.

A focus on halogen free

Speakers will discuss what major OEMs are doing to eliminate brominated flame retardants, PCVs and other halogen containing materials from their products. IPC notes that the halogen-free movement will have a monumental effect on the materials, processes and products provided by the supply chain. In this follow-up to the January Intel/IPC Halogen-Free Symposium, OEMs and members of the supply chain will outline their efforts, goals and technological challenges in developing halogen-free electronics.

Tesla Opens LA Shop

Tesla Opens LA Shop

Make way for the Tesla. The long-awaited Roadster, a sleek Ferrari-like electric vehicle, finally hit the market as Tesla opened its first retail store this month in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. The car, which has a sticker price of over $100,000, does 0 to 60 mph in just under four seconds, goes 225 miles on a charge and can be fully recharged in 3 ½ hours. The next store is set to open in a couple of months near Tesla headquarters in Silicon Valley, in the city of San Carlos. More stores are planned for Chicago, New York and other cities next year.

Tesla began taking orders last year for the Tesla and the first ones began rolling off the production line in March. Tesla officials say California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, actors George Clooney and Kelsey Grammar and musians Will.i.am and Flea have ordered Roadsters.

Bridges Expand for Bikes, Pedestrians

Modular aluminum bridges can be added to existing structures

Green Design Engineering Resources

Design News' Green Scene
Look for the Green Scene section with each online DN issue for the latest environmental news from engineers. Full Story

Lead-Free Zone Blog
Green regulations have produced waves of industry confusion, and Design News Contributing Editor Rob Spiegel doesn't expect things to clear up quickly. Visit his blog to discuss RoHS and other environmental issues. Visit the Lead-Free Zone

EcoGeek Environmental Blog
EcoGeek.org, dedicated to exploring the symbiosis between nature and technology, publishes up to ten stories daily about environmental innovations. Visit EcoGeek

New Yankee Workshop Resources

SawStop tableSawStop table Saw Senses Difference between Flesh and Wood
SawStop creator Stephen Gass solves the challenges of sensing flesh and quickly stopping a spinning, 4,000-rpm blade with this innovative table saw.  Watch the Video

The New Yankee Workshop
Hosted by master carpenter Norm Abram, who is legendary for his woodworking skills, The New Yankee Workshop has guided millions of viewers through the hands-on process of furniture making. Read More

The Master Woodbutcher's Salute to Norm Page
Visit this site for a complete NYW episode guide and a list of the tools Norm has used on the show. Read More

Elmer's Glue
Learn more about Elmer's glue products on the company's website. Read More

Titebond Wood Glues
Titebond glues first squirted out of the bottle in the mid-1950s. Is Titebond IV just around the corner? Read More

New Yankee Workshop Fan Site
The New Wookiee Workshop attempts to bring together fans of The New Yankee Workshop. Read More

This Old House
Visit TOH's website for more information on tools or techniques for house repair or maintenance. Read More

Solutia: Will it be the New Face of US Plastics?

Solutia: Will it be the New Face of US Plastics?

The new face of the North American plastics industry is emerging as companies that are focused on plastics.  One of the first large companies to divest its plastics portfolio was Monsanto back in 1997 when Solutia was created. Monsanto made a decision to focus on agricultural biotechnology.  Solutia filed for bankruptcy in 2003 in the midst of a major manufacturing slowdown and emerged from bankruptcy early this year. The company believes it is now stronger and more competitive than at any time in its history, hopefully setting a positive tone for other plastics orphans. Solutia posted a first quarter profit of $1.4 billion, compared to a loss of $8 million for the same quarter in 2007 because of reorganization gains. Revenues were up 40 percent. What’s important from a design engineering perspective is that Solutia, a major nylon producer, is developing new products and expanding capacity.  Vydyne GW350 was announced in April and is said to offer superior toughness and elongation. Solutia is also increasing nylon 66 capacity by 140,000 metric tons. Solutia’s plant in Pensacola, FL is the world’s largest integrated nylon manufacturing facility. Solutia operates five nylon-making plants in the U.S., while its sales to Asia are growing rapidly.

 

Several major companies have divested part or all of their plastics portfolios in recent years, ranging from GE Plastics and Dow to Bayer. When the spin-offs become standalone companies, such as Solutia, they may face trouble raising capital in tough credit markets, such as the one we face in 2008. In fact, Solutia had to file suit against three banks that had balked at providing the company with capital needed to exit bankruptcy. Solutia needed the funds for operations and won the lawsuit. 

 

It’s important for companies like Solutia to survive and thrive, particularly when they are producing products with a limited supply base.