A Zondits Interview: Evluma Brings Innovation and Longer Life to Digitized Lighting

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Zondits Interview with Evluma

Valerie Eacret for Zondits, August 6, 2014

In previous articles written for Zondits we have talked about the “digitization” of light. We use this term because LED lighting is a “chip on board” technology and as such has a natural affinity to being integrated with other “chips.” Otherwise said, once you have a circuit board as your base template – it is easy to add and integrate control logic. Digitized lighting systems are popping up all over the place and Zondits recently learned of a technology that demonstrates this trend.

Simply adding an additional smart control circuit that is designed to “calibrate” the behavior of the light based on its location solves one of automatic outdoor lighting’s major problems: the short life of the photo-sensor. Evluma, a company based in Seattle, Washington, has increased the lifetime of today’s automatic outdoor light with one simple innovation: including a photocontrol failsafe, or PCFS, in the light to eliminate the need for a long-lasting photo-sensor or a full replacement upon its failure. Zondits spoke with Evluma’s David Tanonis about the technology.

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David Tanonis of Evluma

Z: As we understand, Evluma’s AreaMax uses intelligent controls to monitor the operation of the light so that the photocontrol, which is often the limiting factor in daylight-sensing exterior lights, is no longer the weakest link. Can you tell us more about the light’s features?

E: The PCFS technology was developed to offer utility customers a back-up, or fail-safe, system that is robust and allows engineers to develop more favorable payback models compared to conventional photocontrol-driven LED lighting. PCFS uses standard dusk and dawn tables extracted from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) databases. We program the AreaMax for a location datum close to where it will be deployed, and a time setting in GMT.

Z: How long does the AreaMax function in comparison to an exterior light with a typical photocontrol?

E: Typical relay-based photocontrols experience field failure every 3 to 7 years due to hail damage and relay malfunction, among other causes When the AreaMax’s photo control eventually fails, the PCFS assumes control of the dusk-to-dawn switching and operates the AreaMax for the rest of its service life, which we estimate to be in excess of 20 years.

Z: What is the incremental cost between a typical NEMA Type 5 high pressure sodium (HPS) light and an AreaMax light?

E: A new AreaMax costs approximately $100 more than a new 100 W HPS security light.

Z: What are the typical annual energy savings that your customers see?

E: The 40 W AreaMax actually uses 38.4 W, per our LM 79 report. A typical 100 W HPS lamp uses 115 W due to the combination of the lamp and the ballast load. Let’s use .08 kW at 4140 annual operating hours for an annual savings of 317 kWh per light. However, the more profound savings from installing an AreaMax comes from avoiding service calls to replace failed photo controls. A typical service call with a two-line crew can cost up to $300, depending on distance. We say that our customers can pay for an AreaMax by avoiding only one “truck roll.”

Z: In what applications is AreaMax most useful?

E: AreaMax has been widely accepted by the rural electric cooperative utility industry for area and street lighting. Anytime there is a 100 W HPS light or a 175 W mercury vapor NEMA type V security light replacement, AreaMax is a great value and gives the end customer a pleasing solution. In fact, when customers see their neighbor’s new AreaMax, they often call the utility the next day requesting one for their property.

Z: Does AreaMax vary the lighting schedule daily based on 1 year of operation if it has been able to collect a year’s worth of data, or does it average all the data it’s collected to create a schedule based on a typical day?

E: When the AreaMax is first energized, a standard photo control is installed. Within the first 3 weeks of operation, the photo-sensor input is used to adjust the NIST schedule to reflect the setting conditions, including effects of topography, structures, etc. That offset is then applied to every individual day of the year in the table, so the light will operate at different times each day after the photocontrol fails.

About Evluma

Evluma is a division of Express Imaging Systems, LLC (EIS), a company that has been designing high power LED applications for the photographic industry since 1995 and draws on over 200 years of combined experience in the photo processing equipment industry.  Developing products in a field where precise color metrics are required, EIS has won the prestigious DIMA Digital Printer Shoot Out three times with the Europa printer: 2005, 2007 & 2009. The LED based exposure engine used by the Europa incorporates 2370 LEDS in a delicately balanced combination of red, green and blue LEDs. Even then, during the early adoption of LED technology, EIS was delivering 50,000 hour LED constant use lifetimes and developing unique methods of thermal management, a key element to LED stability.

In May 2008 EIS formed Evluma to pursue LED based energy efficient lighting projects, intensifying a commitment to the environment that EIS had long held. EIS has a tradition of developing products that are energy efficient, have a smaller than average footprint, require minimal disposable parts, and reuse existing frameworks and platforms when performing upgrades. That Evluma’s first product would be an energy efficient 40W replacement lamp / luminaire for existing 50-175W Mercury Vapor (MV) or 50-150W High Pressure Sodium (HPS) NEMA dusk-till-dawn fixtures is no surprise.

The talented team at Evluma includes experts in the fields of color science, optics, electromechanical production, and electrical and mechanical design, many of whom have been working together for years. Valued employees and innovative ideas work hand in hand. Evluma, like EIS remains interested in the customer’s process and finding solutions to real challenges. Evluma is based in Seattle, and makes every attempt to keep the manufacturing process, and manufacturing jobs, local.

Source: www.evluma.com

For more information on Evluma, please visit them at http://evluma.com/.