If you’ve heard about residential led light bulbs
, you probably know that they’re energy-efficient, last a long time, and are pricier than other lightbulb technologies.
I’ve been using LED lights in my home for several months now, and overall the transition has been good. As you consider your lighting options, here a few things that you might not know about LEDs.
LEDs are cooler.
When you’re running fans or an air conditioner this summer, having burning-hot incandescent bulbs just makes it harder to manage the heat. LEDs run much cooler than incandescent bulbs and significantly cooler than CFLs.
Online retailer EnergyCircle actually measured the difference and found that a halogen bulb, a type of incandescent bulb, ran at 327 degrees! A Cree LED downlight was measured at 107 degrees and a Philips Par38 CFL worked at 167 degrees.
That’s not to say that heat isn’t at all an issue. LED bulbs led tube manufacturer
do get hot but the heat is dissipated by metal heat sinks that wick away the heat from the light source itself. Keeping them cool with heat sinks or even liquid cooling, as Switch Lighting is doing, is important to ensuring they last as long as advertised.
You get instant full light.
You get the full brightness of an LED bulb when you turn it on, which is an advantage over CFLs in a couple of ways. For starters, you don’t need to wait for full light if you’re running in and out of a room. But frequent cycling also degrades the life of CFLs, one of the reasons that CFLs in some cases don’t last as long as expected.
I’ve become more conscious of this and put LEDs in places where lights are cycled on and off quickly. CFLs, meanwhile, are in light fixtures and lamps which typically stay on for extended periods. Consumer Reports found turning CFLs on and off in less than 15 minutes degraded their life.
LEDs don’t attract bugs.
Pixi Lighting, which makes LEDs, lists “no bugs!” (that is, insects) as one of the reasons to use LEDs. But if you look at discussions online, it’s not so clear-cut.
The stated reason that bugs don’t fly toward LEDs is because bugs are attracted to ultraviolet light and at least some LEDs don’t give off this type of light. But that’s not universally true for all types of LEDs, according to people who have commented online. In one discussion, an employee from EnergyCircle said that most residential LED bulbs give off almost no UV light.
In an unscientific test last night at my house, I saw moths and mosquitoes fly right past my outdoor LED bulb; they were not attracted to the light. Consumer LED bulb maker Pharox advertises its bulbs as having no UV, so it’s something worth checking when you’re shopping around.
LEDs come in funny shapes.
Lighting manufacturers have tried to make LED bulbs as familiar-looking as possible, most importantly by having a screw-in connector. But there are limits to mimicking the Edison-style bulb.
“Snow cone” LEDs, where the top half is a bulb shape, best resemble incandescent bulbs but light is given off in only one direction. So you’ll get more light from the top of a desk lamp, for example, than the bottom. CFLs or incandescents give off light in all directions.
The most recent bulbs to come to market address this light dispersal problem very well. I’ve been testing a Lighting Sciences Group 60-watt equivalent for the last week or so and it does indeed give off far more even light than the company’s own snow cone-type bulbs.
The price for the more even light dispersal is odd-looking bulbs. The LSG bulb has a squat disk for a light source and the rest of the bulb is a heat sink made of metal fins that make up most of the actual bulb.
Philips’ LED bulbs have a crown-like light source and a similar aluminum heat sink. But their recently released 75-watt equivalent bulb has a noticeably longer heat sink than the 60-watt equivalent Philips LED, which is something to consider. When I tried it at home, the 75-watt equivalent, called the 17-watt A21 LED, was too long to fit into a small overhead fixture.
You will need to learn some lighting lingo.
We still talk about 60-watt and 75-watt equivalent bulbs because that’s what we’re accustomed to. But some manufacturers are using new labels that give people far more information than brightness, which is worth understanding as lighting gets more diverse.
Lumens, of course, measure the amount of light, with a 60-watt equivalent giving off at least 800 lumens. But LEDs are also sold by color temperature, either warmer yellow light or cooler white light. And then there’s color rendering index, with the highest being the best for light quality.
Warmer color lights will be more familiar since they’re closer to the yellow glow of a CFL or incandescent. But I found I like the cooler, white light of the Lighting Sciences Group bulbs, rated at a cooler 3000 Kelvin, which I find a little cleaner. As for color quality, I can’t put my finger on why, but I’ve been very happy with the light from a Pixi bulb which has a 96 color rendering index–higher than the others I have.
Bonus: 40-watt equivalents bulbs are underrated.
Some of the first general-purpose LED bulbs I tested were rated with the light output of a 40-watt equivalent. I found that they were not quite enough to light up a whole room, but they do the trick in more places than I thought. For example, I have a small LED for an outdoor light and one in the basement. These aren’t spots where I’ll spend time reading a book so these energy-sippers have fit in nicely.
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For those of us who live and breathe the rarified vapors of technology based automation, it&rsquos pretty hard to fathom how life existed without electronic automation. Yet, it has been a short 30 years since the venerable PLC became anything more than a novelty outside of the Big 3 in Detroit. Sometime in the late 1970s, microprocessors changed our lives forever. Since those early days, the power of these tiny chips forever changed the way we think about manufacturing.
From no-touch sensors to motor temperature monitors and back again to arch-flash safety devices, microprocessors have infiltrated every part of the automation manufacturer
world. In recent years, communication capability and stand-alone electronic intelligence has pushed its way into all reaches of &ldquothings automatic.&rdquo Microprocessor-enabled valves control liquid flow based on the input of electronic float switches. The possibilities seem limitless and the market reflects that fact.
Today, the size of the automation market has grown so vast, it is difficult to measure. The very definition of the market is openly argued. And, each individual segment of that automation market becomes exponentially harder to measure and define. To illustrate this point, let&rsquos talk about the two main disciplines of the automation market: discrete automation and process automation.
Discrete automation is characterized by production of individual parts. Automobile, light bulb and electronic manufacture can be thought of as discrete automation. Process automation is characterized by the production of a fluid or gas. Oil refineries use process automation. But what kind of manufacturing is tire making &ndash where process and discrete assembly steps are combined? The definitions get cloudy very fast.
Let&rsquos just say the world of automation&mdashboth discrete and process&mdashis huge. A two-year-old news release from the ARC Advisory Group projected the process automation side of the market alone to be $79 billion by 2010 (and that is just half of the equation). Cheap electronics, new manufacturing techniques and the competitive pressures of the world market keep the automation train rolling along &ndash even in poor economic conditions.
And at the same time...
At the same time these techno-electronic breakthroughs were manifesting themselves in the automation products
business, the world of business was in flux. The last quarter of the twentieth century brought a fundamental shift in the way business is conducted. During the early stages of the shift, automation breakthroughs allowed for a reduction in manufacturing labor. Later improvements in white collar productivity allowed for a similar reduction in office administrative employees. But, there was more ahead.
Changes in world economic conditions brought right-sizing, outsourcing and professional service contracts. To illustrate this point, we need only look at the typical plant engineering department of the 1970&rsquos. The department was a self-contained group with resident electrical, mechanical and civil engineers on staff. It was not uncommon for these departments to number in the hundreds. During the 1980&rsquos, this changed dramatically. Entire departments were re-engineered to a handful of generalists - more project managers than engineers.
Consolidation hit the world of manufacturing in 1980&rsquos. Government figures indicate 1989 was the top merger year. In the automotive industry alone, the number of companies dealing as suppliers to the Big 3 automakers dropped from 30,000+ in 1988 to less than 8,000 in 1999. These same consolidations affected the companies&rsquo distributors which did business across North America. These numbers from Thomas Financial Securities Data (Mulligan 1999) illustrate the changes, which surely would have affected wholesale distribution during these times.
Mergers in Billions of Dollars in Business
Distributors from all lines of trade were affected by this consolidation. Nowhere was this consolidation felt more than in those supplying products into the industrial manufacturing sphere.
During the early days of automation, plant engineering departments served the role of integrator. Engineering departments provided detailed specifications to suppliers of mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and other components. The distributor answered specification questions, helped anticipate spare part needs and provided timely delivery. The engineering group did the rest.
As the 1980&rsquos unfolded, the newly downsized engineering departments found they could no longer handle the same workload. Opportunistic distributors added technical expertise to support their &ldquomain line&rdquo products. But, new developments in business practices continued to affect the flow of products and expertise.
Economic pressures, driven by downturns in the economy, forced many major customers to look at the advantages of single sourcing products. No longer were there three suppliers from each of the main lines of trade. Instead, customers began to consolidate their purchases. With a single distributor serving each of the supply disciplines, vendor lists were dramatically trimmed. But, problems persisted.
The advancement of microprocessor controlled communications created issues when products which were supposed to work together didn&rsquot. Many end customers felt as though they were left holding the bag. The term &ldquofinger-pointing&rdquo was coined to describe the issue. When a programmable logic controller didn&rsquot communicate with an intelligent valve or an electric motor burned up when &ldquoproperly&rdquo applied with a variable frequency drive, the customer felt disenfranchised and lost.
Distributors began to morph&hellip
Distributors live and die based on their ability to add value to their end customers. Many distributors saw the &ldquofinger-pointing&rdquo phenomenon as an opportunity. And, a few began to refocus their product offerings. The addition of complimentary products provided value (single source supply & no finger-pointing). The newly refocused products drove competitive differentiation for the distributor in the market.
As distributors looked for ways to expand their business, selling additional products to a core group of loyal customers made great sense. Selling products which complimented their existing product mix provided value for the customer. Often, the new products slowly moved the distributor away from their historical past.
The changing world of motion control&hellip
Nowhere is this more evident than what many now call &ldquomotion control.&rdquo Long before the world of electronic automation, precise motion control has been around since the early days of the industrial age. For instance, the tolerances required in gun manufacture developed in the late 1800&rsquos were roughly equivalent to those being used today. The precise motion control used for automobiles, jet engines and even the space orbiters was possible long before modern motion control techniques were developed.
Motion control as we know it today combines the technologies of mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic and electronic components. Because there is no scholarly definition for motion control today, allow me to provide one.
&ldquoMotion control: The hardware, software and human interface devices required to precisely control speed, acceleration-deceleration, position or orientation. The system must be programmable and capable of changing aspects of the control to match operating parameters.&rdquo
Is it any wonder that so many of today&rsquos leading distributors provide value in the motion control arena? Power transmission distributors, electrical distributors, fluid power distributors and automation solution providers all compete for a role in this market. Many times, the distributor with the greatest expertise has a historical background in a completely different technology. Nowhere is this more evident than those members of the Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA).
While the name conjures up mental pictures of gears, belts and bearings, the members of PTDA exemplify this migration of technologies. Case in point, a recent informal survey conducted by River Heights Consulting of Davenport, Iowa discovered that members of PTDA are responsible for over $800 million of the new motion control business.
One such member of PTDA is Eastern Bearings, Inc. of Waltham, MA. Eastern Bearings employs value-add specialists in motion control and a number of other specialized technologies. During a project at a waste handing facility in Maine, Eastern Bearings&rsquo motion specialist proposed a new motion control system which combined technologies from multiple manufactures to provide a crane system control which simplified maintenance and reduced operating cost. The integrated system was engineered and manufactured &ldquoin house&rdquo. It included detailed configured HMI screens and automated troubleshooting aids. Did all this come from a &ldquobearing&rdquo supplier? No, it came from a 45-year old company with a proud history that happened to start off in the bearing business.
Everybody came from somewhere...
Today and in the future, there will be no electrical supplier, no hydraulic supplier, no mechanical suppler instead, there will be automation solution providers. Names continue, often carrying the proud mantra of the past. In the 1930&rsquos, bluesman Willie Dixon penned the song, &ldquoYou Can&rsquot Judge a Book by Its Cover.&rdquo A modern version might be, &ldquoYou Can&rsquot Judge a Distributor by the Product in Its Name.&rdquo
Remember our first point all of this automation market (we are so fond of) didn&rsquot exist just 40 years ago. Everybody came from someplace. Don&rsquot let supplier names fool you.
Advances in high-performance sensor supplier materials and optoelectronics, new optical sensor can be used in the field of life sciences, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, food and beverage processing. Compared with traditional electrochemical sensor technology, marine optics, optical sensors, the appearance of compact and customizable parameters, non-invasive measurements, and does not consume the sample.
Ocean Optics Optical oxygen sensor distributor and pH sensors can provide accurate, real-time field measurements in a variety of media. This patented sensor coating material consumption of the sample, can be applied to the probe, self-adhesive acrylic patches and trace test hole. Optional add cover coating for general laboratory, food processing lines and rich hydrocarbon environment. Depending on its practical application, the pH value through the appearance of the color change to distinguish, while the oxygen content by fluorescence meter for precise measurement.
The operating principle is: to add functionality to the tip of the fiber, adhesive films, such as patches, such as glass containers, and other flat substrate coating, the coating sol-gel-based in vivo loading aerobic sensitive fluorophores or pH indicator dye is characterized. Indicator material in the immediate environment can change the optical properties of the specific analyte determination of the response, and then by electronic devices. For oxygen, NeoFox, phase fluorescence meter can measure the partial pressure of dissolved oxygen or gaseous oxygen; pH, the response from the miniature fiber optic spectrometers measure the pH dye chroma (absorption).
Ocean Optics optical oxygen sensor dealer and pH patch can break through the limitations of electrochemical oxygen sensing and pH sensing technology. The patch can be easily integrated in small biological systems for use in the fermentation field Bioflask ", and provide continuous, non-invasive type of key system parameters monitoring. The technology does not destroy the sealed environment under the premise of real-time monitoring of dissolved oxygen and pH, thereby freeing staff to better understand the workflow of the bioreactor, to promote the development of new biological products and fermentation processes.