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M Modular LED System

Issue 76 December / January 2013 / 2014

Selux Lighting grew out of postwar Berlin, bringing battery powered light to a city in ruins. David Morgan considers the company’s M Modular LED system, a refined take on the modular fluorescent linear lighting the company developed in the 1970s.

Selux Lighting, originally known as Semperlux was started by Hermann Bansbach in Berlin in 1948 when the city still lay in ruins with hardly any electricity or light.

Hermann Bansbach brought light into this dark time by brightening the lives of Berliners with simple, affordable, battery-powered lamps. That is how Semperlux became Selux - and how a craftman’s shop in Berlin turned into a global company with 500 employees in Europe, North America, and Australia. Today the company generates over 80% of its revenues outside Germany.

It is understood that Selux was the originator of modular fluorescent linear architectural lighting systems in the 1970s and went on to develop a full range of pendant, surface mounted and recessed versions including a mitred version to make up square and rectangular patterns.

The fluorescent versions were produced in two sizes – 60mm wide and 100mm wide with a variety of optical controllers. Recessed versions were available in both trimless and with trim designs.

As LEDs move into all areas of architectural lighting, Selux has now developed LED versions of the original fluorescent system and also introduced a new narrower LED only version at 37mm wide.

The core of the new M Modular LED system is the removable LED gear tray. This is based on a 300 mm module incorporating a metal core pcb populated with medium power Samsung LEDs. The pcbs are mounted onto an extruded heat sink with the drivers fitted on the back. This linear LED module snaps into the various housings for either suspended pendant or direct ceiling mounting. The extruded housings act as part of the overall LED heat management but the core extruded heat sink is so effective that the system will still work at normal operating temperatures even when the housing is cast into solid concrete.

The effectiveness of the system’s thermal management is illustrated by the lumen maintenance figure of 90% after 50,000 hours of use. The system provides up to 2,000 lumens from 24 watts per metre in 3000K or 4000K colour temperature with the most efficient diffuser panel. With the micro louvre this falls to 1,800 lumens per metre and the opal at 1,700 lumens per metre.

There are four standard lengths based on a 300 mm module giving 890 mm, 1,186 mm, 1,482mm and 2,372mm plus an L module for corners.

A shorter 150mm LED module is also available to special order to enable the system to fit into non modular buildings. Selux provides an online configurator to help designers and specifiers fit the system into any space while using standard lengths. It guides the user through the various choices of available module lengths, housings, optics and LED colour temperatures.

The drivers are configured so that both 3000K and 4000K LED versions consume the same amount of power and give the same lumen output to make life easier for the specifier. The LED modules can be easily removed with a special tool from the housing, which makes the system easy to maintain and, to some extent, future-proof as new, more efficient, LED modules could be installed at some point in the future.

A wide variety of optical controllers have been developed and optimised for the LED system, including symmetric wide and asymmetric wall wash in solid extruded acrylic, a micro louvre and micro prismatic designs. The pendant version can accommodate two LED modules to give direct and indirect light outputs with different optics. The LED modules and optics fit into the housings with a very narrow shadow gap in-between the diffuser panels to allow for module replacement.

The system was designed in house at the Selux head office in Berlin over an eighteen month period with the design team led by Veronica Monheim, Head of Product Management.

A variety of projects have already been completed with the M Modular LED system including Oliver’s Yard north of the City of London.
A remarkably short fifteen working day delivery time for standard modules is offered with custom and non-standard version available within six to eight weeks.

The Selux M Modular LED system is hard to fault within its own visual logic as the design is very minimal and the detailing is clean and well executed. While this style of linear lighting may not be the most exciting it is a well tried solution for many applications.

I am sure this new LED version will successfully continue the tradition of linear modular lighting started by Selux over 30 years ago.

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


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