LED technology: Evolution improves illumination

11/09/2006


Information control/HMI

Optek's Lednium Series Array is said to be among the brightest single source LED assemblies in the lighting industry.

As LED technology advances, its function has progressed from backlighting, indicators, and general illumination to use in warning signs, machine vision systems, and other industrial applications. Not only have uses increased, the LEDs have evolved from single chips to multi-chip arrays.

Industrial environments require devices that are reliable and long lasting. Traditionally, incandescent light bulbs have been used in the industrial arena, although their high heat, voltage, and power requirements have limited bulb reliability lifespan. LEDs have a lifespan more than 100 times that of incandescent bulbs, consume up to 90% less energy, and emit brighter light—characteristics that can present significant advantages.

For example, burned out warning lights on a machine can be dangerous for an operator who relies on those lights as indication of the status of the machine. In applications where lighting is required inside an enclosure, incandescent bulbs generate heat that can lead to their overheating and burning out. In addition to using less power and generating less heat, LEDs can be sealed to produce a safer device. The operator is able to see the indicators from a greater distance and safety is increased by LED bulb reliability.

Machine warning lights are among the industrial applications for LEDs. Many uses require a lighting assembly, rather than a single LED chip. LED assemblies are capable of providing virtually any color light in the visible spectrum in a 120° viewing angle.

LED arrays can achieve high brightness in a compact, energy-efficient package. LED assemblies can also provide parallel-serial connections that enable the operation of several mounted LEDs, allowing design engineers to vary light output and power consumption. Although LEDs generate less heat than incandescent bulbs, some applications still generate significant amounts. In those cases, LED assemblies may be constructed on specialized heat dissipating substrates. These thermally conductive substrates allow LED assemblies to run at full power, and reduce size and cost by minimizing the size of external heat sinks and mounting hardware.

In the near term, two types of LED assemblies—infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV)—likely will have a direct impact on industrial applications. Infrared LED assemblies are being constructed for use in heating and drying applications. For example, printing presses may use IR LED assemblies to dry ink. Although incandescent IR lights often waste energy due to their 360-degree bulb design, IR LED assemblies can provide concentrated energy in a more confined space. Such use results in more control, less energy consumption, and higher reliability.

UV LED assemblies may be specified in applications such as adhesive and finish curing. Because UV light emits tighter wavelengths, a highly controlled UV LED light source can be used for complex, fine-line lithography.

LED features of generating less heat, using less energy at lower voltage, and needing less power, coupled with longer lifespan, will continue to drive the LED market and the use of LED assemblies in a growing range of industrial environments.

—Richard Saffa, vice president, visible LED business unit,
Optek Technology, www.optekinc.com





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.