20 Apr LED Lighting Now Printed in Steel, Plastic, and More
The year of 2015 has been a year dominated mostly by big contracts and steps forward as the LED revolution advances for the better. With LED lighting now superseding incandescent and fluorescent lighting by millions of units now in use, the smaller developments that are making it better have kind of been swallowed up by all the applications. Fortunately for us, the lighting industry is a dynamic one, always going through changes that ultimately improve our way of life.
Of course, LED technology is at the forefront of all this dynamic change, considering how young the format is. But as we mentioned, the new developments are being buried under all the headlines that have been made, such as the city of Madrid and the Sistine Chapel getting retrofitted with LEDs. However, developments are still made and we read about one in particular that is really quite exciting.
What is the New Development?
In an article released last month on BizLED Magazine, we saw that the field continues to evolve. The article speaks of a Finnish research institute that has successfully fused OLEDs with other materials like glass, plastic, and even steel. By utilizing 3D printer technology, those scurvy Scandinavians were able to produce materials that literally acted like OLED technology.
This fairly new advancement came just a few months after the British company McAlpine Research unveiled their new 3D printer that was capable of producing classic LED bulbs. We reported on this new development back in January and spoke of it as being the greatest thing to have happened in the industry since LED lighting was first invented. We said this because bulbs can now be produced much faster and far cheaper than they could before, driving down the cost of manufacturing, which is a big part of why they are more expensive than other bulbs.
But now we are seeing the true effects 3D printing is having on the industry as now materials of all kinds—in fact, the three most commonly used materials—can be infused with OLED bulbs. This has the potential to turn into a boon for marketers and architects around the world as they can now simply take this technology and make it to whatever it is they want.
Not Quite Perfect… Yet
Now, we are not saying that this will happen now. The technology is still imperfect. The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the lab that developed the new printer, says that the bulbs infused into these materials can only last a year of continuous use. This means that they are not nearly as efficient as basic LED bulbs and there is still much room for improvement.
The technology does come with a lot of special perks, however. One of the biggest ones is that the surface is adhesive to other materials. This will allow complicated metal rigging and framing to be phased out due to it no longer being necessary. This will cut the cost of installation down tenfold and make virtually anybody capable of applying it.
So this new development can be best summed up like so: This is a sign that LED technology is not running out of steam. It is still possible for an industry that seems to be at its peak to continue to surprise us with new developments and new ideas to get excited about. We are certainly pleased with how far the technology has come and we are certain that there are still some surprises to be had as the year continues forward relentlessly and optimistically.
The Illuminex Difference
Illuminex has been a part of the LED revolution since its inception. We work tirelessly to keep you informed of all the latest news in the LED lighting industry and give you reasons to talk to us about your lighting retrofit. But you should never think that we want just you alone. Everybody should take advantage of the opportunities present in this dynamic field.
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Until next time: stay clean, go green, and stick with LEDs.