Starting on page 34 of the May 2013 issue of Sign Builder Illustrated, Joseph and Carol Berke demonstrated how LED lighting has made an impact in the sign illumination industry—particularly in border/accent lighting applications. This type of lighting is used to outline signage or the shape of a building or to call attention to a special architectural element.
The main benefits promoted by LED manufacturers are: Long life; energy efficiency; low power consumption; low heat; low maintenance; ease of installation; and environmentally friendliness (no lead, mercury, or glass).
But how do you know if the LEDs you’re using for border/accent/cove lighting are ideal for that project? One of the companies interviewed in the Berkes’ piece was GE Lighting Solutions and they provided this list of ten essential questions to ask your LED supplier:
1. Is your company registered as a Department of Energy (DOE) Quality Advocate? And if so, have you taken the Quality Pledge for Solid State Lighting (SSL) Products?
2. Whose LED do you use in your products? Have your products gone through an Intellectual Property (IP) clearance?
3. What is the LED manufacturer’s LED performance rating and what is the rating of your LED systems or final products?
4 What precautions do you take to ensure that the LED selected for your product will meet the performance requirements for which it’s rated? Can you share your data showing the LED selection/testing process.
5. Does your product use LED that have been LM80 tested to demonstrate L70 life after 6,000 hours of test? If yes, can your share your LM80 data and life model that was used to demonstrate the L70 life?
6. Does your LED product meet the LM79 requirements? If yes, can your provide the LM79 test report from an accredited NVLAP test lab?
7. Do you “design in reliability” or do you just “test for reliability” to demonstrate the long-term performance of your product. Can you share your product development reliability process?
8. What type of testing do your perform to validate your product life and safe operation? Can you share the test results?
9. What actions take place in the factory to ensure your product will work properly what installed by the customer?
10. How do you ensure the product will continue to meet the specifications?