R&D efforts are geared toward cost-efficient alternatives to incandescent lamps.
China suppliers of LED bulbs and tubes are rolling out models that can directly replace incandescent lamps. Makers are riding surging demand for diode-based solutions as bans on certain filament bulbs are implemented in more countries.
Aiming for general lighting applications, most companies are designing products to fit lamp holders meant originally for filament counterparts. Suppliers are also modifying structures to enable light distribution similar to that of incandescent units.
New 2W LED bulbs are being marketed as substitutes for 7W incandescents. Recent 6W releases generate light equivalent to that of 35 to 40W filament models.
Xiamen Leedarson Import & Export Co. Ltd is among the enterprises that have come out with diode-based alternatives to incandescent lamps. The company's selection includes variants designed to take the place of G9 halogen bulbs.
To encourage further adoption of LED systems, makers are working to improve heat dissipation, which in turn extends service life and boosts lighting performance. Under this effort, new materials are being explored to replace aluminum in heat sinks.
Xiamen Leedarson is using an LNP Konduit compound from Sabic in its new 2W bulbs. The thermally conductive composite has a lower coefficient of thermal expansion than aluminum, helping reduce stress from differential expansion.
In addition, the material weighs less than the latter and allows greater design flexibility. Complex shapes can be formed via injection molding, which is simpler than the three-step process currently employed for metal versions.
At Firefly Lighting Co. Ltd, efforts to boost lighting performance have yielded a LED candle bulb with a reflector inside. This structure is meant to increase the beam angle of the unit to at least 300 degrees, almost double that of traditional models. Already patented, the product is also designed to offer more energy savings than CFLs and incandescents.
Releases in coming months will target areas where bans on filament bulbs are already in place. These include Brazil, Russia, Argentina, the US and several EU members. The Middle East is likewise considered an attractive market, especially for low-end and midrange lines.
To enhance long-term competitiveness, suppliers are investing more in R&D. In addition, some are partnering with research facilities or academic institutions for product development.
Fujisunwah Electronic Technology Co. Ltd, for instance, is working with the Ocean University of China.
Products & prices
Mainland China offers LED bulbs and tubes for various applications.
In the former, the selection includes A, globe, flare and reflector types with iron or aluminum alloy bases. Prices depend mainly on the specifications of the chips adopted.
Units between $5 and $10 often employ 1 to 5W LEDs from Taiwan, South Korea or the US. Designs that use locally made diodes are also on hand.
For the cover, models adopt PC with a transmittance rate exceeding 80 percent. The heat sink is 50 to 80 percent aluminum.
In more expensive bulbs, the PC cover has a transmittance rate of more than 90 percent. The heat sink may be made of ceramic, 80 percent aluminum or an LNP Konduit compound.
For LED tubes, T5, T8 and T10 types dominate selections. These come in lengths of 600, 900 and 1,200mm, respectively.
Designs have 75 to 130 lm/W efficiency ratings. Color temperatures reach 10,000K.
Quotes range from $0.90 to $3 per watt, depending mainly on the chips adopted. A unit fitted with domestic LEDs can be priced $2 to $30 lower than one using imported ICs.
Most LED tubes are offered between $23 and $30. In coming months, quotes of low-end and midrange designs are expected to be slashed by up to $3 as the growing number of suppliers push component costs down. High-end variants will be 20 to 30 percent less expensive.
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