Shedding a light on LEDs

Build trust in your products with new IECQ Scheme for LED Lighting

By Claire Marchand

Solid-state lighting (SSL) is rapidly becoming the preferred light source for many lighting applications and the demand will continue to grow. SSL solutions are widely used in industrial and commercial environments. They are also making inroads in urban and airport lighting, automotive headlamps, traffic signals and advertising. They can be used in almost any kind of applications.

Streetlights Legacy streetlights are being replaced with new and more efficient LED, or solid-state lighting technology

What is SSL?

Some of you may wonder what solid-state lighting or SSL is all about. Wikipedia helps shed some light – no pun intended – on SSL technology: it “refers to a type of lighting that uses semiconductor light-emitting diodes (LEDs), organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) or polymer light-emitting diodes (PLED) as sources of illumination rather than electrical filaments, plasma or gas.”

LED streetlights become smart

LEDs in particular, on the market since the early 1960s, have been very successful in recent years. Mostly used as indicator lamps for electronic devices in the early days, recent developments have seen them used increasingly in domestic, public, commercial and industrial applications.

Take street lighting for example: according to a Research and Markets report, from 2015 to 2025, countries are expected to invest USD 53,7 billion in LED street lighting. The report states that “there are currently 304 million total streetlights in the world. This number will grow to 352 million total streetlights by 2025. The public outdoor lighting market is currently undergoing a period of change where legacy streetlights are being replaced with new and more efficient LED, or solid-state lighting technology. Taking this new technology a step further, these LED streetlights are also being networked together with communications to become ‘smart’ streetlights.”

Ongoing innovation

The already phenomenal success of LED lighting solutions is far from over. Prices continue to drop and manufacturers continue to come up with new and innovative ways to make LED lighting attractive and relevant.

LEDs have many advantages over incandescent or compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light sources, including:

  • low energy consumption
  • long lifetime
  • robustness, i.e. reduced cost of maintenance and replacement
  • easy control
  • fast switching

In addition, they are intrinsically safe – they are low voltage and generally cool to the touch – and their small size makes them ideal to light the tinniest of spaces.

Maintain quality and reliability

As an outcome of the success of LED lighting solutions for domestic and industrial use, the risk of having the market flooded by a large number of manufacturers making unverifiable claims about their products' quality and reliability has increased exponentially.

Mass production of LED lighting systems cannot be made at the expense of quality and reliability. All electronic components, parts, modules and assemblies must work satisfactorily together. One faulty component can result in poor performance or even worse, the overall failure of the LED lighting system.

Trust in all components

IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components, has the solution that gives manufacturers, suppliers and buyers the confidence that the products they sell or purchase have been independently verified and meet all requirements and specifications.

The new IECQ Scheme for LED Lighting, established under the umbrella of the generic IECQ Approved Component (AC) Scheme, offers a valuable qualification and supply chain management tool that provides for the identification and verification of compliance with component and process specifications.

Benefits for industry

In line with the approved scope of the IECQ System, the IECQ Scheme for LED Lighting can be applied to certify manufacturers and suppliers of electronic components, modules and assemblies used in the production of LED packages, engines, lamps, luminaires and associated LED ballasts/drivers. It provides a “standardized way” of evaluating suppliers and is used as a powerful supply-chain management tool when assessing and monitoring the various tier-level suppliers.

This removes the cost burden of monitoring and controlling the supply chain, from the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to their suppliers, while also protecting the OEM brand name in the market. This also helps prevent poor-quality LED systems from entering the market.

One goal: Lighting and energy for all

The United Nations proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies, recognizing “the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health”.

IECQ has celebrated the International Year of Light in its own way, with the creation of the IECQ Scheme for LED Lighting.

More information:

Streetlights Legacy streetlights are being replaced with new and more efficient LED, or solid-state lighting technology
urban lighting LEDs play a major role in urban lighting and in advertising
Mobile devices LEDs are a staple of smart devices
Exit sign LED are used for safety signs