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Lighting Services Inc


Issue 36 Apr / May 2007

Product designer David Morgan tests the LED spotlight from Lighting Services Inc.

The LumeLEX from Lighting Services Inc is one of a number of LED spotlight luminaires designed around the Lexel light engine from the Canadian LED specialist, TIR Systems. The LumeLEX won the accent lighting award for LSI at Lightfair 2006 in Las Vegas last year.

Other lighting companies that have signed up to work with TIR and incorporate the Lexel light engine include Zumtobel, Spectral from Germany and Lightolier from the USA, so LSI is in good company.
Philips Lighting has recently purchased TIR and it will be interesting to see how this change in ownership may affect TIR’s business model that depends on other luminaire manufacturers utilising the Lexel light engine as an OEM component.

The Lexel light engine incorporates a number of patented design features that enables it to give an equivalent white light output to a 75 W MR 16, at somewhat lower energy consumption but with 50,000 hours of life. Incorporating 30 x 1 watt RGB LEDs and a complex optical mixing and focusing system the 1,000 lumen light output can be dimmed down to 10%, apparently without colour shift, and the colour temperature of the white light output can be controlled in 6 steps from 2700°C up to 6500°C. Since the white light is created by an RGB mixing system the measured CRI is quite low.

Both colour temperature and light output are continually monitored and the claim is that these will remain constant over the full 50,000 hours of life. It would appear that they are expecting quite a high level of lumen depreciation over this period as the predicted power rises from 35 watts up to 72 watts at the end of life.

The LumeLEX optical system gives a 16 degree beam and a variety of spread lenses, louvers and cut off hoods are available to further control the distribution.

One of LSI’s main markets is museum and gallery lighting so the lack of UV or IR in the LumeLEX light output is a real benefit in this specialised lighting area where the conservation of rare and precious artefacts can justify the high cost of the LumeLEX.

In the LSI LumeLEX design the power supply is separated from the spotlight body and both elements are designed to be mounted on a variety of power track systems, surface mount plates and scaffold clamps.

The Lexel heat pipe / heat sink system operates via thermal convection through the luminaire rather than depending on the body of the luminaire as the heat sink. For the LumeLEX the body is made from polyester resin and remains remarkably cool to the touch even after many hours of operation. It would appear that LSI are being cautious about the sales volumes for the LumeLEX as the body of the sample that I tested was made as a rapid prototype rather than from production tooling. It is understood that initial production is being produced by resin casting and that a move to a fully injection moulded housing will depend on sales volumes.

I tested the LumeLEX against a medium beam 75W MR16 and the light pattern at around 2.5 mtrs was similar. By my readings the MR16 gave a higher centre beam light level but the LumiLEX was quite close at around 1000 lux giving a 800 mm circle before the light fell to 500 Lux. The colour rendition however was rather odd and never really got close to the halogen source. Without the direct comparison of the halogen it was much more acceptable and adjusted from light pink through green to blue. Based on a blended RGB array of LEDs the white was always going to be a problem but it can be adjusted.

The appearance of the LumeLEX is well differentiated from the more brutally styled Zumtobel or Spectral products and the aerodynamic profile of the body and stem design are at first sight quite exciting. The soft profile of the LumeLEX works well with the distinctive appearance of the Lexel optics. However on closer examination the quality of the mouldings and castings and some rather poor detailing let the product down to some extent and did not really measure up to the high cost of the product.

LSI have produced figures to justify the high initial cost of the LumeLEX in terms of energy saved and lamp replacement costs eliminated but I would imagine that most early customers will be more convinced by the conservation and low maintenance parts of the story.

As one of the first LED spotlights with sufficient light output to use for accent lighting in museums, galleries and retail display the performance of the LumeLEX is quite impressive. Its future success in the market will depend on how well the Lexel light engine is developed in terms of light output and colour rendering to keep up with other LED light sources.


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