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LEDification requires a clear strategy to succeed


LEDification offers significant advantages. But as with many technologies, constant innovation is bringing new products to the market all the time and shortening lifecycles. This downgrades the benefits of a long lifespan that the technology is supposed to offer. To realize the full benefits of LEDification and create a sustainable ecosystem, lighting manufacturers need a clear strategy: particularly for the serviceability, modularity and recyclability of LED lighting.

There are compelling reasons to replace conventional lighting with LED technology. LEDs can, for example, produce high-quality light with unprecedented energy efficiency. They can reduce the energy consumption of a typical conventional lighting installation by 50%, or even up to 70% when coupled with smart controls. LEDs also offer lifetimes of 15+ years, so replacements are required far less frequently and maintenance is reduced. And LED lighting systems are becoming easier to configure. Together with the fact that electricity for lighting is also a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, it’s no wonder that LED technology is forecast to account for 80% of the lighting market by 2020.

 

However, LEDification raises challenges too. Rapid innovation is expanding product offerings and shortening product lifecycles. This not only increases consumption of the world’s natural resources but also impacts the availability of spare parts for example, since manufacturers tend to phase out earlier product ranges. For users, this creates an issue: LED lighting comes with the promise of long life and lower costs, and service and spare parts are presumed to be available throughout the lifetime of the product. If they are not, the total cost of ownership starts to go up – the opposite of what LED technology promises. 

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The way forward


Other trends shaping the lighting industry also have to be taken into account. The growing global population and increasing urbanization mean that the world needs more light – and it has to be instantly available and reliable. There’s no time for downtime. Second, we live in a world with significant natural resource challenges, so every product – including lighting components – must be used, recycled and reused efficiently. Third, increasing digitization means that people are becoming accustomed to on-the-spot, 24/7 access to information – and that’s highly relevant to service engineers and lighting installers who need to solve problems on location instantly.

 

A key way forward is to design lighting right from the start so that it’s easily serviceable, highly modular and readily recyclable.

 

Design products for serviceability

On-site maintenance has become a hot topic. Municipalities, authorities and building owners want to fix faulty lights during a single visit to save labor time and costs. This requires the service engineer knowing what the problem is before setting off, taking the correct spare part(s), and being able to fix the problem right away, on the spot. However, to succeed, the engineer needs immediate access to the right information and the right spares.

 

Philips Lighting, an industry leader in LED lighting, has introduced two key innovations to aid maintenance. The first is the Philips Service tag, which makes components uniquely identifiable with a QR (Quick Response) code, providing instant access to necessary lighting component information at the right time and place. The second is CityTouch lighting management software, which allows remote monitoring of light points to enable cities to save on operational costs and prevent issues before they happen.

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Ensure long-term spare part availability

LED lighting needs to be a long-term solution, so spare parts must be available until the end of the product lifecycle. To ensure this, Philips Lighting defines the service part kit for an entire lighting installation with 10-year availability in line with the products' serviceability classification. Philips Lighting also links spare parts with commercial order numbers, and ensures easy programmability for digital components such as drivers.

 

Provide modularity and consistency across portfolios

All this means following strict development design rules on backwards compatibility. It requires classifying product serviceability transparently so that it aligns with the nature and needs of the different applications. Next to consistency in build and components, design consistency also plays a key role.

 

For example, cities are particularly keen to create and enhance their identity by applying ‘signature elements’. They are increasingly looking for the right balance between a modern design that is acceptable for a wide public over a long time, and the character and distinctiveness that set their urban lighting apart from other cities.

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Close the material loop: the Circular Economy approach

An effective “Circular Lighting” approach fully adopts the principles of the Circular Economy: Make, Use and Return. This approach of rethinking the way we use resources involves adapting the way products are designed as well as the way they are offered to the market. The overall objective is to make maximum use of each component, and keep components in circulation for as long as possible. For example, components of fixtures like housings could be designed to survive two product lifecycles. With this in mind Philips Lighting is already redesigning its industry portfolio, using natural resources more effectively and in a regenerative manner. This approach will close the materials loop according to Circular economy principles.

 

Bringing it all together

LEDification is transforming the lighting industry, and Philips Lighting is playing its role by simplifying operations, reducing maintenance, ensuring modularity and emphasizing recyclability by enabling more efficient and longer use of components. This all helps make sure customers can enjoy the promised benefits of LED technology.