LEDs and Their Rapidly Changing Form Factor

Display portlet menu

LEDs and Their Rapidly Changing Form Factor

From street lamps to industrial applications, LED use goes well beyond screwing an LED light into a desk lamp. Historically, retrofit LEDs have often emulated the form factor of the lamps they were replacing. Anything out of the ordinary was problematic, but this is rapidly changing.

There are hundreds of millions of fluorescent strips and industrial fixtures installed in varying locations and applications throughout North America. LED luminaires are replacing these fixtures rapidly, combining aesthetics, high performance and slim, modern form factors. Energy cost is easily lowered by up to 25 percent with these replacements, and ongoing bulb maintenance is becoming a thing of the past. 

LED Arrays

Adjusting form factors ultimately comes down to achieving the right amount of light output from a lighting fixture. While single LEDs might not meet the needs of applications that require high luminosity, multiple LEDs can be used effectively in arrays. And while the lighting fits the bill, the downside of arrays can include their size, their assembly price tag and their level of complexity when trying to match correlated color temperature (CCT).

The size of an array is dictated not only by the size of the LEDs used, but also involves the necessary space between devices for thermal considerations. This required space, in conjunction with the addition of optics and heat sinks, increases the overall size of the array. One way around this challenge is to increase the luminosity of the individual LEDs, using fewer bulbs to meet the required output. By integrating heat sink and power electronics with the LEDs, materials, time, cost and precious space are all reduced.

Weighing the Options

LEDs often do not age uniformly. While some may hit the threshold of losing 30 percent of output and become noticeably inferior, other LEDs in the array may hold their output levels over a longer period of time. Based on the faster aging of some LEDs over others, many users opt to completely replace the array.

Assembling LED arrays can be difficult and time consuming. Design engineers, therefore, are often faced with the choice between spending time dealing with assembly woes, or spending even more money on pre-assembled modules. One of the real benefits of arrays in pre-assembled modules is that there tends to be a high level of integration.

Trends in Changing Form Factors

As the technology advances and design engineers come across varying applications, LEDs are taking on various forms.

  • Highly integrated slim-profile LEDs reduce bill of materials (BOM) and spread light more efficiently and broadly, making them suitable for use in environments that were previously too harsh for LEDs.
  • Another trend in LED form factors is the shrinking of package sizes for the same output or lumen density that was originally inherent in a larger form factor. This is the case with OSRAM Opto Semiconductors' OSLON SSL, which comes in a small 3 x 3 mm package.
  • A Bridgelux water resistant Outdoor Lighting Module (OLM) integrates LEDs, optics and environmental protection in a package that, when screwed to a heat sink, replaces high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps. A single module can replace 50 or 70 W HPS lamps. And, a casting with two modules replaces 150 W HPS.

Although their packaging may be shrinking, LEDs today deliver big performance, thermal management and a substantial cost savings. This powerful combo is paving the way for even more new and exciting form factors in the not-too-distant future.

Related Articles
strip of LED lights
PoE + LEDs: An effective pairing, with some limitations
March 17, 2017
Using the evolving Power over Ethernet standard to supply DC power to LED-based lighting in place of using the AC line offers both new options and some serious concerns.
colorful tunnel
AC/DC Supplies: Design and Make, or Just Buy?
March 8, 2017
How to implement the ubiquitous AC/DC supply is a complicated decision with many factors and perspectives, ranging from technical to regulatory ones.
metal and glass building with electrical activity
All-Around ESD and Heat Protection
March 7, 2017
See why LED lighting systems require high-performance ESD and overtemperature protection to achieve the best lifespan, maintenance costs and reliability.
close-up of orange car headlights
Automotive LEDs Deliver Greater Design Flexibility for Safety, Style and Efficiency
March 7, 2017
LED lighting has been making major inroads into the automotive market for two key reasons: safety concerns and energy consumption.
building exterior heavily lit by LED lighting
Driving the LED Revolution for Light and for Art
March 6, 2017
The emergence of LEDs as a usable and hugely beneficial light source has created a massive impact in the global lighting market. Old incandescent technology – if an approach that sees light created as a consequence of a conductor glowing and where
blue digital screen
LEDs: The Eyes and Ears of the Internet of Things
March 6, 2017
It may seem to be a stretch to assert that LEDs play a truly important role in the future of the Internet of Things. After all, by themselves, they’re just lights. However, with sensors tucked neatly inside and a bit of intelligence...
blurry servers in a data center
Securing LED Networks in the Age of the Internet of Things
March 6, 2017
Recently, in Nuevo Arenal, a little sleepy village in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, a dozen criminals cut the lights to the town’s main street during the quiet 3 a.m. hour, and then injured...
conceptual image of energy bulb with energy icons
Internet of Things: Using Wireless-Controlled Lighting to Reduce Energy Costs
March 6, 2017
Traditional mechanical wired lighting systems offer users few cost effective options in managing usage and controlling lighting expense.
corner view  of orange micrchip
Avnet WTWH Basics of LEDs
March 3, 2017
Using the evolving Power over Ethernet standard to supply DC power to LED-based lighting in place of using the AC line offers both new options and some serious concerns.
stage led lighting in green and blue
The Challenge of Dimming LEDs
March 3, 2017
One of the major issues that continue to plague light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is the challenge of dimming.
hand holding an illuminated LED bulb
LEDs Shed Light on New Applications — From Fighting Insomnia to Healing Wounds
March 3, 2017
LED use has dramatically increased as performance improves and costs decrease. Recently, nontraditional applications of LEDs delivering surprising quality-of-life improvements have grown in number.
LED lightbulbs hanging in a row on green background
LED Lighting Drives Efficiency & Control
March 3, 2017
According to recent Energy Star publications, LED-based lighting can use 75% less energy than incandescent lighting. This can dramatically cut energy costs in large installations.
Related Events

No related events found