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Issue 75 October/November 2013

David Morgan takes a look at LUMsearch, a new stand-alone lighting design program from DIAL. LUMsearch is a progression from the German company’s DIALux program and has been created to assist designers in their search for suitable luminaires.

DIAL the German lighting software specialists are best known for their DIALux lighting design programme, which was first launched in 1994 and allows lighting designers and specifiers to accurately simulate the performance and lit effect of luminaires in their schemes. Currently DIALux is free to download and is in use by around 400,000 users in 180 countries.

Taking the luminaire specification and selection process to the next stage, DIAL has now launched LUMsearch as a stand-alone website database for luminaire search.

It is understood that the aim of the development was to answer these three questions that a lighting designer is likely to ask when working on a project:

- Where am I going to use the product?
- How will I mount it?
- What lighting effect do I wish to achieve?

The LUMsearch website allows the user to search for luminaires by key word, general type or application area and to then refine the details to include a variety of other details including light source, IP rating, distribution luminaire shape, paint finish etc. At the moment the application areas seem to be rather limited. For example there is no retail display lighting category.

The search results are presented as a list of products with company logo, a small thumbnail image of the product and a simple polar diagram. Clicking the images produces a product information sheet that can be saved, exported to DIALux for use in simulations or sent to the supplier for more information.

There is no price or lead time information included with the technical data, but the data sheet can be emailed directly to wholesalers for pricing.

The site is free to manufacturers at the moment to display luminaire information and images. However additional features such as links to the manufacturer’s website are charged separately. A counter on the home page shows the number of luminaires currently available for searching. Today this showed at over 215,000 products from 136 manufacturers.

The interface has been designed to work on tablets and phones to enable last minute specification of lighting products while on site or away from the office. At the moment four languages Italian, English, German and Chinese are supported.

It is understood that the site is receiving around 5,000 hits per month and at the moment DIAL are not saying which products are getting the most interest or click throughs, which could be useful data for manufacturers.

After using the site for a few hours I get the feeling that it is still a work in progress and not completely functional yet. The search engine seems to produce some random results. A search for LED bollards started showing wall lights and post tops after the first couple of pages. Maybe this was due to key words included in the manufacturer’s data sheet text but in some other searches the results were just random. A search for Flexible LED linear produced results for street lighting. Adding more search criteria did not always eliminate these random results and sometimes added new ones.

It is understood that a feedback function will be introduced next year so that users can let DIAL know about random search results and other search problems.

In use the site produces results quickly but the images are hard to read even on a large screen so that each product has to be clicked on to see the data sheet before deciding if the product is relevant. Multiple product listings for essentially the same product come up with most searches which also makes the process rather slow. Compared to using Google image search this seems quite an old fashioned approach.

A luminaire search system that integrates directly with DIALux and produces pdf data sheet information so quickly is definitely a good idea and once the search engine and data base have been refined and developed I am sure this will be a very useful and much used resource for designers.

David Morgan runs David Morgan Associates, a London-based international design consultancy specialising in luminaire design and development.


The luminaire search engine on the new LUMsearch site from DIAL.

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