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    Better binning: A crucial first step to color consistency


    When it comes to high-end architectural lighting installations, achieving the best possible color consistency is crucial.


    Yet the truth is that the colors and effects that lighting specialists hope for aren’t always the ones they get. The arrival of LED lighting, meanwhile, has made the issue much more complicated, posing new challenges for color consistency, even as it’s introduced exciting new capabilities.

    Why consistency matters

    What exactly do we mean by color consistency?


    It’s the average variation in chromaticity – color, in short – among both color LEDs and white-light ones (lighting designers talk of the “pink, yellow, or green hue shift”). Without consistency, lighting professionals can’t rely on the quality or specific output of the luminaires they select. And that’s a problem, particularly in large-scale implementations that people are counting on to make a big impact.


    Complementary tech that makes life easier


    Traditional ways of ensuring color consistency are time-consuming, requiring specialized expertise and programming. So Color Kinetics has developed technologies that set new standards for consistency – making things easier for people who work with LED.


    In this series of posts we look at three technologies that work together to deliver the accuracy, precision, and consistency that LED applications demand.

    Taking binning to the next level


    Binning is the first of these technologies – and the first step towards consistency. A technological process that takes place after LED chips are manufactured, it measures LEDs – which can vary in color as well as by such criteria as flux and forward voltage – and groups them for market delivery in subclasses, known as “bins.” This helps guarantee large numbers of LEDs that are consistent across production runs, and makes it possible for professionals to choose LEDs that meet specifications. They can select the LEDs suited to illuminating a bridge at night, for instance, and be confident that what they’re getting is what they need.


    Color Kinetics’ Optibin™ technology takes binning to another level, algorithmically grouping LEDs by chromaticity and flux and ensuring the consistency of hue and color temperature for Color Kinetics lighting products. This advanced selection formula guarantees that products are characterized by an extraordinary level of uniformity.


    The Optibin process applies each time Color Kinetics selects bins of LED sources for purchase from its suppliers, and each time it manufactures a run of fixtures.  


    By purchasing and intelligently combining specified LED sources from a range of manufacturing bins, Optibin guarantees that the final luminaire has consistent color from fixture to fixture, from manufacturing run to manufacturing run, year after year.

    A crucial first step


    In addition to the obvious benefits – lighting installations just look better – there are other benefits to Optibin. Customers don’t need to track manufacturing or binning codes when they’re doing large lighting installations – a boon during work on phased installations, where fixtures are purchased and installed at different times. Doing procurement for multi-site installations also becomes a lot easier.


    In short, Optibin is a crucial first step towards color consistency. A second step is represented by Color Kinetics' Chromasync™– the subject of the next post in our series. In the meantime, click here to learn more about color science and color consistency.