Bridgelux is a leading developer and manufacturer of LED lighting technologies and solutions and is a pioneer in Solid State Lighting. The company is leading the evolution beyond LED chips to solid-state lighting platforms to redefine the general illumination market. In this interview, the India country head, Sunil Kaul, speaks to Dilin Anand about Bridgelux’ plans in India to transform the energy landscape using innovative LED technology.
EFY: Where is Bridgelux based from?
We are headquartered in Livermore, CA in the USA. That is where our design, development is done. We have a workforce of around 250 people globally.
EFY: Do you plan to have any R&D in India?
Not in the immediate future, but in the longer term we will explore that option. Bridgelux came to India in the summer of 2011, and we are very pleased to see the growing market opportunities here. Our primary focus will initially be on market development and providing strong application engineering support. There are several lighting companies in India that deal with traditional lighting. Now, as they move forward to solid state lighting, there are a number of subtleties in terms of how LED based products are built. Our aim therefore, is to bring value to our customers in India by helping them with application engineering and ensuring robust LED lighting products are built for local conditions here in India.
EFY: What are your future plans in India?
We are starting to explore setting up manufacturing in India and are already holding discussions. This will be in 2 phases; the first phase will focus on LED packaging wherein, we will bring in the LED chips and carry out the component assembly in India. Depending on the right economics, we might transition to the second phase, which would consist of the LED chip manufacturing itself.
EFY: Could you elaborate on the LED array?
If you look at our product, you will see that it is basically made up of individual LED dye.
Leveraging patented light source technology, we integrate these solid-state light sources to form an LED array. It is these products that enable high performance and energy-efficient products for the general lighting market. The LED chips are essentially the building blocks from which LED arrays are formed.
EFY: Could you elaborate on your product line please?
Our product line is designed keeping in mind a vast number of applications.
At the lower power end, we offer LED arrays, which can be used to build and replace a traditional 40-60 watt incandescent bulb. Similarly, if you consider CFL based products, one can replace an 18 watt CFL with a 5 watt LED. This translates to impressive power savings in homes. These products are aimed at the general consumer market.
In the mid power range (11W-50W), we have LED array solutions for the retail and hospitality industry where the requirement is for high quality lighting. We have had a number of successful installations in Europe, North America and various parts of Asia using Bridgelux arrays. These installations include hotels, retail food environments, department stores and very high-end retail.
For high lumen output applications, we have products for Industrial applications such as High Bays. This lighting is typically used in factories, warehouses etc and can be at heights as much as 13 meters. These applications therefore, require significantly more power from the light source. For such applications, we have developed LED arrays that can deliver as much as 8000 lumens using only 90 watts in one single array, replacing 250-400 watt HID lights. Needless to say, besides providing excellent quality of light, you also get the benefits of tremendous energy savings reducing consumption by nearly 50 per cent or more.
EFY: Why do you say that LED lighting is better than conventional lighting in retail stores?
LED-based lighting has multiple advantages for the retail space. First is energy efficiency. In the retail environment, store or mall lighting is on 12 to 24 hours per day. Stores see immediate savings in their operating costs due to the energy efficiency alone. Many studies have demonstrated that the quality and quantity of lighting drives store turnover. No matter how efficient the lighting, no retail outlet is going to sacrifice the quality of the store lighting. So this leads to the second advantage that LED lighting and Bridgelux arrays have in the retail space—Bridgelux arrays deliver high quality and quantity of light demanded by retail. Third, LED lighting has no heat or infrared (IR) in the beam as do metal halide or halogen technologies. This means that high quantities of light may be delivered to draw customer attention to merchandise without creating a hot, uncomfortable shopping environment. It also allows merchants to reduce the amount of HVAC cooling in the store, since less heat is being generated in the shop. Fourth, LED lighting does not produce ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This means that even under high quantities of light fruits, vegetables and meats will not spoil and fabric colours will not fade.