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Xicato XIM

Issue 80 August / September 2014

Making its debut at Light+Building and then demonstrated at May Design Series, Xicato’s XIM intelligent module has pretty much been in everyone’s top three most anticipated product launches of the year. David Morgan took a look at it before its release in October.

The company that was amongst the first to address and solve the colour point variation problem that we all experienced with early high power lighting LEDs has now introduced an ‘intelligent’ dimming module.

Xicato was founded in 2007 by Mark Pugh (President), Menko de Roos (CEO) and Gerard Harbers (CTO), all of whom had extensive experience in the development of the LED lighting industry while working at Lumileds.

They’ve solved the colour point variation problem so successfully by using a remote phosphor configuration incorporating Corrected Cold Phosphor Technology that all Xicato modules are supplied to within a 1 x 2 MacAdam ellipse tolerance. Colour stability is also guaranteed so that any variation within five years will be within 3 MacAdam ellipses around the colour point on the black body locus.

Using unique phosphor combinations and colour mixing, Xicato have been able to create a light quality that is very close to that from halogen lamps.

While lower than average efficiency was an issue with the early Xicato modules, the latest generation of XTM and XIM format modules operate with respectable efficacies of over 100 lm/W.

Xicato sells its modules to luminaire manufactures in most developed countries and works hard to promote the benefits to lighting designers, luminaire manufacturers and to end users and by early 2013 more than one million Xicato modules had been sold around the world.

Xicato’s headquarters and manufacturing is based in Silicon Valley and the company has offices in China, Japan, Europe and throughout the US.

At Light+Building earlier in April, Xicato introduced a variety of new products including the XIM module, which incorporates a LV dimming driver and a variety of sensors. Xicato describes this as an intelligent module with integrated electronics.

The XIM module looks very similar to the Xicato XSM and is virtually identical in size. The module runs on 48 volts DC so is still classified as an SELV component which makes integration in many different luminaire types simpler.

There are many advantages for the luminaire manufacturer and for the end user by integrating the driver with the light engine. Luminaire design becomes less complex while the luminaires have the potential to become smaller and more discrete. As all modules will run from the same type of 48V DC power supply, this minimises the difficulty of stocking drivers in different power ratings, drive currents and dimming types. Replacing modules at their end of life or when new more efficient versions become available will be almost as simple as changing a retrofit LED lamp but now with a much higher quality of light.

The initial XIM modules to be launched in October in Standard, Artist and Vibrant variants will provide 1,300 lumens and 2,000 lumens with a CRI of 83 or 98. The efficiency is over 100 lm/W for Standard colour temperatures and over 80 lm/W for the Artist series.

While many companies have added LV driver circuitry to their light engines and modules to ease integration with luminaires, the dimming performance of the XIM driver is much better than I have seen before.
The dimming system can be controlled by DALI or 1–10V and is based on a less common method of dimming control than is usually used for LED drivers. The dimming system allows smooth dimming down to 0.1% when controlled by a DALI system and ensures there is no noticeable flicker at low dimming levels. It is understood that colour point stability is also improved by using this approach rather than the typical PWM dimming used in many LED drivers.

The driver circuit in the XIM also incorporates a number of sensors. A thermal management system ensures that the module always operates within safe limits via a feedback loop whereby the drive current is reduced in very high ambient conditions. Voltage and current levels along with run time are digitally recorded and can be remotely monitored via a two way DALI system. Photocells and presence detectors will also be incorporated, in due course, so that the module can be integrated into a building control system or enabled to work independently to ensure maximum energy efficiency of the lighting scheme.

The Xicato XIM module seems set to be widely adopted by the lighting industry for use in high quality projects and I am excited about incorporating them into my luminaire designs.

David Morgan runs David Morgan Associates, a London-based international design consultancy specialising in luminaire design and development and is also MD of Radiant Architectural Lighting.

© David Morgan Associates 2014


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