Energy, cost-efficiency biggest
concerns for LEDs, sensors
ECN readers identify the main concerns and trends for
LEDs and sensors
In addressing issues like heat management, power supply and next-generation performance, LEDs continue to be a key topic for electronic design engineers. Most consider them the current and
future answer, but some still believe in the cost benefits of other lighting
In addressing these concerns, as well as gauging the ECN readership’s
opinions on other topics relative to LEDs, the following survey responses
were analyzed. While many of the traditional thoughts on LED specification continue to ring true, survey responses also identified a number of
new and vitally important critical issues that will impact wide-ranging
implementation of LEDs and their complimentary technologies.
LED trends and usage
When ECN readers were asked about the most significant factor impacting specifications for lighting components, readers were torn:
•Energy efficiency was the leading response, given by 31 percent of
•Heat management was cited by 22 percent of respondents.
•Durability was identified by 22 percent.
•Cost controls remain a prominent factor, with 20 percent citing this
as their primary concern.
These results showcase an overall trend for efficient, multi-environ-ment, cost-efficient and green components. This isn’t surprising since
LEDs promise efficiency-related benefits over other light sources. Some
of those benefits include efficient dissipation of total power, less wasted
light due to more concentrated beam angle, longer life, and less heat.
Less heat means favorable usage benefits, but limits the cooling components needed with an embedded design – saving on time, money and
After energy efficiency, the next three trends had nearly the same
percentage. Not only does this reinforce the importance of increased
lighting efficiency, but demonstrates how more efficient component
selection can bleed into a number of different areas impacting overall
product design. When asked about the percentage of systems they work
on which are LED-based, 41 percent of respondents said more than
75 percent of their work deals with LED-based systems. This not only
reflects the growing market for LEDs but, given the market diversity of
the ECN readership, shows how LED systems and related components
are expanding in a number of unique and different marketplaces. This
means complimentary components such as connectors, switches and
power supplies could also be seeing growth in new market segments.
Reader responses were very clear that luminous intensity ( 45 percent)
was the most important LED specification for projects, followed by
wavelength ( 21 percent), forward current and voltage ( 16 percent), and
optical power ( 12 percent). Brightness of the light was cited by more
than twice as many responses as the next closest specification highlighting how the performance dynamic of LEDs is changing the industry.
As the public is familiar with LED performance in simple applications
like holiday lights, they may be expecting similar illumination in other,
higher-end products. With this higher degree of expectation, one could
argue that the price objection is slowly fading and might become a lower
hurdle to more wide-spread LED usage.
Surface emitting LEDs (76 percent) were the most common type readers
specified, with super luminescent ( 16 percent) and edge emitting (eight percent) listed as second and third choices, respectively. Readers said that cost,
efficiency, performance, and customer needs were main reasons for these
specifications. The popularity of the surface emitting LEDs reflects their
widespread application options and comparatively lower cost.
Sensors are a quickly growing and essential area of electronic components. Readers cited cost, application suitability, accuracy, and testing
purposes as well as safety and avoiding litigation for their decisions.
But there is definitely room for improvement particularly in motion
sensors, followed closely by temperature, vision, position, and voltage
sensors. Over half of the respondents named connectors as the top
complimentary sensor product used in the past year with the rest split
between mounting devices (32 percent), cables (32 percent), enclosures
( 25 percent) and adapters ( 9 percent).
Whether it’s LEDS or sensors, designers and electronic component
engineers are very concerned with efficiency (both energy and cost) as
well as long-lasting. Both are a reflection of current economical and
customer needs and will continue to trend as big concerns.