Cree LED Launches TEMPO – An LED Luminaire Testing Service

You all know me, I’m not really a “press release” kind of guy when it comes to JimOnLight.com content.  When I find a press release worthy of a nod, I try to get some of the commentary in there that made me want to talk about the release in the first place.  This press release from Cree, Inc made me want to know more about this service they’re starting up called TEMPO.  From the press release at Cree:

Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE), a market leader in LED lighting, announces the commercial availability of TEMPO™ Services, a comprehensive set of quantitative and qualitative tests and analyses for LED-based lighting fixtures and lamps. TEMPO (Thermal, Electrical, Mechanical, Photometric and Optical) Services represent the accumulated advantage of Cree’s extensive experience with customer LED systems combined with the use of calibrated test equipment to give LED lighting manufacturers and end users confidence in LED product designs.

Third-party labs currently provide testing services, such as IES LM-79, which is widely regarded as the most comprehensive LED luminaire test in the industry. However, through years of experience with component LEDs and Cree LED-based lighting systems, Cree has identified many other aspects of end-product quality that are not and cannot be examined by third parties. These aspects of quality include chemical compatibility between materials used in the luminaire and the LEDs, the effectiveness of mixing slightly different color LEDs for enhanced color consistency and TM-21 LED lifetime projections.

Ok, interesting.  What this service provides is an evaluation of a fixture (LED lamp source) by a bunch of standards used by the Department of Energy and Illuminating Engineering Society.  Cree also adds to the service that they have about eleventy billion man hours working with LEDs and creating designs that worked and did not work, and learning from their mistakes.  You know, like Edison said – and I’m paraphrasing here – “I didn’t fail at inventing the light bulb.  I came up with 2,000 ways NOT to make a light bulb.”  I can totally get behind that.  In my head, it’s kind of like taking advice about being an alcoholic from someone who’s never had a drink.  I’d want to know about it from someone who’s succeeded AND failed.

It’s important to look at the standards Cree mentions in their press release regarding the TEMPO service.  IES LM-79, which is the IES’ approved method for “Electrical and Photometric Measurements of Solid-State Lighting Products.”  LEDs, for all-intensive purposes, are solid-state lighting products, in case you hadn’t quite yet put that together:

IES LM-79 tells how to test and get reproducible measurements with solid state lighting – things like using integrating spheres and goniophotometers, measuring Luminous Flux, Efficacy, Intensity Distribution, and so on.  It’s a standard for having a standard way to test LEDs. It also talks about power supplies and regulating voltage, thermal conditions for the products being tested, product seasoning and stabilization, and orientation to name a little bit.  The other IES standard being mentioned by Cree is the IES TM-21 standard, which deals with Lumen Depreciation and long-term lamp life estimating.  TM-21 is a long-term version of IES LM-80-08 in a way, as LM-80-08 (the standard for testing Lumen Maintenance in LEDs and arrays) doesn’t deal with long-term predictions.

It’s so exciting whenever I get to break out my IES Compendium!  NO WONDER I’m single!

I pulled a sample report from the Cree TEMPO Service website to see what kinds of things that would be included in their heaviest service, the TEMPO 21 service.  I have to say that from learning what I learned in Sweden about luminaire inefficiency, this would be a pretty awesome service to have if you were a luminaire designer or LED engineer.  Cree’s TEMPO21 provides the following testing:

Thermal & Mechanical

  • Solder Point Analysis (Tj/Tsp)
  • Thermal Imaging With IR Camera*
  • Qualititive Mechanical Construction Analysis*
  • Chemical Compatibility Analysis*
  • X-ray Of Printed Circuit Board (Solder Joint Analysis)*
  • LED Lifetme Estimate (TM-21)*
  • Review Against ENERGY STAR Criteria*

Electrical

  • Driver Efficiency*
  • Transient Analysis (surge, inrush, hot-plug)*
  • Power Analysis (Power Factor, THD)
  • Vf/Current Balancing Of Series-Parallel Arrays*
  • Hi-Pot (Dielectric Breakdown) Test*
  • Dimmer Compatibility Check*

Photometric and Optical

  • Luminous Flux
  • Radiant Flux
  • Chromaticity (includes CRI, CCT, x-y, u’v’)
  • Spectral Distribution (350 nm to 850 nm)
  • Illuminance (ft-cd, lux)
  • Fixture Optical Efficiency (% loss)
  • Fixture Efficacy (lumens/watt)
  • Binning And Color Point Evaluation*

* denotes a test not offered by other third-party luminaire testing facilities

You need to check out a copy of their sample report, which gives the full range of what the TEMPO service provides for your luminaire.  I took a few screen grabs of the report, but it’s free, you should just go and download it:

Cool.  I’m excited to see how this plays out, this kind of analysis really appeals to me and my nerdiness.

GE is Entering the L-Prize with A Cree-Driven 60W LED Incandescent Replacement Lamp

If you follow the L-Prize competition, you would have noticed an interesting entry that GE is going to be making – and is currently in development.  GE (General Electric, NYSE:GE) is entering a 60W LED replacement lamp using Cree LED emitters as the light source.  This is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself – I’m a fan of Cree (NASDAQ:CREE), and it’s nice to see a company like GE reach across the aisle and ask help from a company that is making some pretty impressive strides in light-emitting diodes.  I was extremely impressed seeing their LMR-4 at LightFair, and in reading of the news of the TrueWhite technology kinda blows the mind when you look at LED research and development to date.

Check out an example of Cree’s TrueWhite Technology – it’s a short video, 1:55 – totally worth your time:

Cree and I disagree a little on the death of incandescents, but disagreement is what drives innovation.  I also disagree with my bestie Greg about throwing things off of balconies.  Innovation.

Ok – now think of what GE could possibly be coming up with using some rocking Cree LEDs?  Will it be another one of those “multi-fingered hand grasping at a blob of milk” lamps?  WHO KNOWS!  At least the light coming from it will look good.  Let’s see what GE does about heat dissipation this time.

Oh – as of right now (Tuesday, July 5, 2011), the L-Prize website is broken.  That’s a little concerning, huh – I mean, being that it’s supposed to be a really important honor and all.

You might be asking yourself – self, what exactly IS the L-Prize?  Well, it’s a competition that is basically driven to “spur lighting manufacturers to develop high-quality, high-efficiency solid-state lighting products to replace the common light bulb.”  Ok, fair enough.  The Department of Energy runs this contest, and the prize for the best 60W incandescent replacement lamp is about ten million buckaroos.  For a PAR38 replacement?  Only five million bones.  Only.

There are requirements for entries into the L-Prize – from the wikipedia article on the L-Prize, since the site ain’t workin':

More on the L-Prize soon, I’m waiting to hear back from them.

Here’s the initial GE press release about their entry into the L-Prize (also located here):

EAST CLEVELAND, OH (June 30, 2011) : GE Lighting engineers and scientists are developing a 60-watt replacement LED bulb that meets the specifications for the Department of Energy’s Bright Tomorrow Lighting (L Prize) competition. GE recently submitted a Letter of Intent to the Department of Energy to enter the competition.

“The objective of our product research and development is simple,” says Steve Briggs, vice president of marketing and product management, GE Lighting Solutions, LLC. “We exist to create advanced lighting solutions based on customer needs and expectations. Our L Prize journey is inspired by the challenge to deliver advanced technology in a form factor that delivers on consumer expectations. We won’t be the first to submit an L Prize candidate but we believe our solution will more closely match consumer preference for an incandescent look and feel.”

GE has collaborated with Cree to accept the stringent L Prize challenge yet deliver a lamp without remote phosphor, which appears yellow in an unlit state. Cree has designed a custom LED component that features Cree TrueWhite® Technology to deliver superior efficacy and light quality. GE lamp designers incorporated the component into an advanced thermal, optical and electrical system to achieve L Prize performance.

The L Prize is the first government-sponsored technology competition designed to spur lighting manufacturers to develop high-quality, high-efficiency solid-state lighting products to replace the most widely used light bulb in America, the 60-watt incandescent bulb. To learn more about the L Prize competition, visit www.lightingprize.org.

Cree’s LMR-4 Modular LED

I have been so busy and accumulated so much content lately that I find myself playing catch up with some pretty great footage and images!

One such bunch of stuff is from LightFair 2010 in Las Vegas.  Tom Roberts gave me a pretty great introduction to Cree’s LMR-4 modular LED product.  I finally got the video cut together – check it out!  What a cool product!

And an update – Ginny from Cree made the following video about the LMR-4, which I recommend watching!

LightFair Day One – What A Great Conference!

LightFair 2010 – have you SEEN so many LEDs in your life?!

I have to say I am having a TON of fun on the floor of LightFair 2010 – this is a conference I will be attending each year!  I walked around yesterday on the floor, meeting people, getting hugs from people, and generally having an excellent time.  One thing that I am super excited about is that I HAVE A REAL PHOTOGRAPHER shooting work for JimOnLight.com!  Everybody’s favorite Amanda Lynne Ballard is here, shooting pics and making me look GREAT!  You have to see some of the work she got for you all, and make sure to thank her.

Check out some photos of the showfloor – if you’ve not been to LightFair, you need to make plans!  This is a huge year for LightFair, most people ever!

“The Map”

WANT.  NOW.

Part of Cree LED’s booth – AWESOME!

Peter Kirkup showing how he nerds his iPad into controlling the Orb.  Awesome.

I love me some Peter Kirkup!  This kid is a GENIUS!

I also loves me some Ginny Skalski from Cree – she’s the Social Media voice of Cree LEDs!  What a rock star!

Green Man Walking

The biggest CFL I have ever seen.  Ever.

That’s right – OptiLEDs immersed in water.  How’s that for IP 68?

SeaChanger – in all if its greatness!

More OptiLED submersion

Finally – someone acknowledged Street Lighting!

Stay tuned – I’m here all week!  Lots more stuff to come.  I am very excited!

Dave Says Thermal Design Sucks, and I Agree

If you guys don’t know who Dave Jones is, you might not be as big of a nerd as me – which actually might be okay, as I am a huge nerd.  Dave Jones is an extremely smart dude who makes the Electronics Engineering Video Blog in Sydney, Australia.  Let me be the first to say that Dave, if I ever make it to Sydney or you ever make it to Dallas, I am SO gonna buy you a pint, mate.

Dave made a video blog post about lighting his brand new fancy outdoor patio with Cree XPG LEDs, and how he battled the thermal design of his custom Cree LED rig mounted in the ceiling of the patio.  Dave, you are awesome.  I watch your stuff every time you post it.

Buckle in, this video is 20 minutes long, but totally worth it.

Stock Market – Lighting Edition

Something hilarious happened to me last week – well, hilarious to me.  I was watching the news early in the morning, and as I flipped through the various new sources it was literally “the stock market” this, and “the blue chips” that, and “Main street took another hit today.”  Oh – and JP Morgan irked the United States a few weeks ago when it unveiled its plans for high pay and big bonuses.  Again.

I could not help but thinking that no one talks about lighting industries’ stocks.  We provide the world with the ability to light up the darkness – we bring innovation to innovation.  While people in our industry lose their jobs one after the other and stimulus money gets tossed into projects across the nation, don’t you wonder how the companies IN our industry are doing?

I captured some 90-day stock market charts last week for a handful of companies in the lighting markets.  Obviously this is not an exhaustive list – if there are stocks you follow that you think I should be following, will you either post a comment below or send me a comment through the contact form?  Pretty please?

Okay, let’s start out with Barco (Barco NV – BAR):

On January 26, 2010, Barco’s stock closed out at $28.94 per share, down 47 cents (or -1.6%).  Barco’s market cap is $369.35 million – “market cap” or market capitalization is a number that represents a corporation’s outstanding number of shares multiplied by their price.  What this means is that Barco has 12,760,000 shares of stock, each valued at around $28.94 each.  Multiply $28.94 X 12,760,000 and you get around $369,350,000, their current market cap.

Something that strikes me as a bit sad, whether it is related or not, is when you put news against the market reports.  For example, look at their stock price around the beginning of December, right when they laid off a bunch of High End Systems workers.


Look at Lighting Science Group – a company that engineers and makes LED products (Lighting Science Group Corporation – LSGC):

LSGC’s stock as of 1/26 was at 88 cents per share, with 30,460,000 shares outstanding – giving LSGC a market cap of $25,890,000 (remember, shares X cost = market cap).  That share cost was up 3 cents (or 3.53%).  For those of you following the news, LSGC announced at the beginning of the month that they were taking on Zachary Gibler, Carlos Gutierrez, Michael Kempner, Joe Montana and Michael Moseley to their board of directors.  You might recognize Carlos Guitierrez as a CNBC news contributor and Commerce Secretary under George W. Bush.  And yes, Joe Montana is THE Joe Montana, the football guy.

LSGC just this last week announced that they were commencing a rights offering for up to about 25 million Series D shares of non-convertible preferred stock (and warrants), which represents the right to purchase up to about 25 million shares of common stock.  All of these terms are extremely confusing to people (like myself) who don’t follow the market nose first.  LSGC’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings on this news are here.

You might be asking yourself, “What on earth are “Series D Non-Convertible Stocks?”  Preferred stocks are debt instruments (like all stocks) that have a higher payout priority than common stocks.  This means that dividends must be paid to preferred stock holders first before common stock dividend payouts.  In the case of these stocks, the holders don’t have the option to convert them to common stocks, and preferred stocks normally don’t have voting rights.  It’s all very complicated in my humble opinion.


Now look at General Electric (General Electric Company, GE):

GE has not had that great of a time lately as far as the stock market is concerned.  As of January 26, their stock was down 6 cents at $16.29, and they were having one of the worst periods in their almost 120 year history.  GE lost its AAA credit rating last year, and its GE Capital division ain’t doing so well – their commercial real estate division is getting hammered with vacancies and all that kind of real estate crap.  GE is a HUGE company though – their market share is 173.48 billion – that’s $173,480,000,000 – with 10,650,000,000 shares outstanding at about $16.29 a share.  That’s a lot of zeros.


Let’s move on to a company that people are hoping will do some amazing things with their Electron-Stimulated Luminescence technology, or ESL – the VU1 Corporation (VUOC):

VU1 is actually up 5 cents from the time I polled these numbers – but as of January 26 it was at $0.49 a share, with almost 86 million shares outstanding.  Their market cap was $42,050,000 approximately, and they were down about a dime a share last quarter.  The ESL technology is interesting, and on the VU1 blog there is talk of progress on an ESL replacement for the typical fluorescent tube.


Ok, now look at semiconductor manufacturer Cree, Inc (CREE):

Cree is having a great time right now – their stock price is up over 10 bucks since October 2009, and set a new record for the company’s stock prices on January 19, 2010.  They’re actually down 2 bucks since January 26 when I pulled this report, but they’re still kicking some tail.  With 106 million shares at around 60 bucks is giving Cree a market cap of 6.31 billion dollars – $6,310,000,000.  I love to actually type out the digits, it really gives you perspective.

I wish I had a few extra buckaroos to invest, because I’d probably toss some of it into Cree stock.  Analysts are flipping out over Cree’s prices and growth.  I hope their growth spawns new and excellent technologies that are positive advancements towards our growth as an industry and not just the same old stuff for more money.

Some news I did not expect to hear lately was the agreement that one of their competitors Arrow Electronics signed with Cree to provide Arrow’s customers with Cree power products (Silicon Carbide JBS).  Go, Cree!


The last company I want to actually talk about is Philips (Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV – PHG):

From when I pulled this report, Philips’ stock is down a buck or so per share.  Philips is another enormous company with so many divisions – they have almost a billion shares of stock outstanding – 927,460,000 shares.  Their market cap (927.46 million shares at around 30 bucks a share) is $29.17 billion dollars.  Huge.

Philips is a monster in the LED business, and if you’re in the lighting industry you’ve heard of their LumiLED products.  TIME Magazine gave Philips the honor of calling their LED replacement lamp as one of the best inventions of 2009, and people rave about their other product lines – LED wash fixtures, high output LEDs, and their various lines of consumer non-LED products, including incandescent and fluorescent products.  They’re an industry leader.


None of this stuff is easy to understand, and believe me – I’m a lighting designer, not a market analyst.  But it doesn’t take a Merrill Lynch quant to break down the major components into understandable pieces.  I kinda look at it like this – when more people understand what is going on with a subject, it becomes that much more difficult for insiders in that industry to screw the public over.  If I can help make that happen even a little bit, then we have collectively made an investment in our future and success.

I’m not gonna talk about the reports below, but they’re just graphs of some other companies’ stocks that I follow.  If you have suggestions of companies I should watch, drop me a line or comment below, will ya?

Tatsuta Electric Wire and Cable – HOLY CRAP – $14.15 billion dollar market cap (for only 65 million shares), and their stock is at $217 a SHARE!

Chung Wa Picture Tubes:

Molex Inc – everybody knows Molex, right?

Cree LED Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Commercialization of the Blue LED

Ginny from Cree just posted a video that she made with John Edmond, co-founder of Cree – they’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of the commercialization of the blue LED!  Ginny made a video about how things got started, and had an interview with John about the beginnings of Cree.  Very cool, check it out!  Also, check out the Cree blog – it’s an LED revolution!