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Smart Systems and LED Prove True Leading Lights at Guangzhou Expo

LED once again underlined its pivotal role in the future of the lighting industry, with a truly ubiquitous appearance at this year's Guangzhou International Lighting Exhibition, with smart systems coming in with a highly credible second place.

Photo: Illuminating exhibit: Outdoor lighting equipment.
Illuminating exhibit: Outdoor lighting equipment.
Photo: Illuminating exhibit: Outdoor lighting equipment.
Illuminating exhibit: Outdoor lighting equipment.

LED lighting, now rightly renowned for its energy-saving and eco-friendly attributes, pretty much stole the show at this year's Guangzhou International Lighting Exhibition. In line with the expo's principal theme of smart lighting concepts, many exhibitors focussed on this area, with a clear emphasis on the green benefits of both their indoor and outdoor products.

In other developments, a number of the exhibitors highlighted their latest lighting product designs and LED sealing techniques in order to capitalise on exhibition's commitment to explore the future of lighting.

Fast Growth and Wider Choices

According to data supplied by the Shenzhen Gaogong Industry Institute's LED industry research unit, the industry recorded a gross output value of Rmb344.5 billion in 2014, representing 31% year-on-year growth. Data from China Customs also shows that Rmb238.7 billion worth of LED products were exported to 237 countries in 2014.

One company clearly benefitting from this upturn is Bridgelux, a US-based LED illumination technology solutions developer and manufacturer. According to the company, its China office accounted for 90% of its total sales value in Asia in 2014. In fact, many overseas exhibitors reported having similarly high hopes of the China market.

Photo: The PAK Corporation’s stand,
The PAK Corporation's stand,
Photo: The PAK Corporation’s stand,
The PAK Corporation's stand,
Photo: Shenzhen Huadian Lighting on show.
Shenzhen Huadian Lighting on show.
Photo: Shenzhen Huadian Lighting on show.
Shenzhen Huadian Lighting on show.

According to a number of exhibitors, however, the highly competitive nature of China's domestic lighting sector has seen many companies turn their focus to the international market. This has certainly been the case for Shenzhen Huadian Lighting.

According to Zheng Sizhe, the company's Sales Manager, its LED panel lights are used mainly for commercial illumination and are sold mostly to Europe, the US, Canada and Australia. These countries all have very strict standards relating to LED products, all of which Huadian is in compliance with. While the company primarily exported to Europe over the last two years, it's hoping that its exports to North America will overtake its European ones this year.

Another company benefitting from its trade with Europe is GlacialTech, a middle-ranking Taiwanese business. Lin Chien-song, the company's Marketing Manager, said half of its products are sold to Europe at the moment, although it sees the China market as equally important. A recent arrival in the mainland market, the company is currently looking at tailoring its products to meet local requirements.

Bright Outlook for Smart LED Lighting

Overall, it is accepted that smart lighting has now taken energy conservation and eco-friendliness to a new level. Unsurprisingly, then, the show ground was dominated by smart LED lighting products for the home, as well as for external urban use.

Among these, the Wisdom city lights, developed by the Jiangsu-based Xiandai Lighting Group were particularly impressive. This lighting system combines illumination, information services, enquiry handling, road monitoring and new-energy vehicle recharging all in one.

The upper section of the company's LED product contains a built-in solar energy electricity generation device. This not only saves energy, but also serves as a recharging point for electrical vehicles. Additionally, the unit also houses a video camera capable of on-road monitoring. Its mid-section features a screen that broadcasts commercials, while its base contains a City Pad touch screen, allowing users to check the latest news, search routes and shopping districts and even to book air tickets. To match the requirements of various scenic areas, cities and residential communities, Xiandai's road lights come in a range of styles and colours.

Photo: Just what the doctor ordered: Medical lighting.
Just what the doctor ordered: Medical lighting.
Photo: Just what the doctor ordered: Medical lighting.
Just what the doctor ordered: Medical lighting.
Photo: Highly-decorative outdoor lighting.
Highly-decorative outdoor lighting.
Photo: Highly-decorative outdoor lighting.
Highly-decorative outdoor lighting.

According to Xiandai, if all of the mainland's outdoor road lights were replaced by LED lights, the energy saved would be equivalent to three times the total electricity output of the Three Gorges Dam.

One of the pioneers in in the mainland's LED sector is Advanced Optronic Devices (Weifang). Established in 2004, the company claims to have already upgraded the LED lighting systems of 18 cities, both within and beyond China. As of the end of 2014, it has shipped half a million LED road lights and five million indoor LED lighting products to clients across more than 56 countries and regions.

Zhu Ruiju, the company's Sales Manager, said Advanced Optronic Devices launched when the market was still in its infancy, with its technology, control systems and terminal applications having been refined over time. Its business scope now extends to outdoor municipal facilities, companies and factories, shopping centres and supermarkets. According to Zhu, many mainland cities have yet to adopt LED for outdoor lighting, representing a huge future market for manufacturers.

Zhu also sees great potential for the indoor lighting market. The Smart City Lighting system, developed by the company, offers real-time monitoring of the on/off status of all lights, as well as their brightness setting. The system also provides remote-control applications, via the Cloud, for mobile apps.

Additionally, its automatic sensing and control system helps drivers looking to park overcome the drawback of the traditional single lamp system, which provides illumination only immediately below the bulb, limiting the drivers' forward vision. The intelligent lighting system, by contrast, ensures the space ahead, as well as to the side, are all properly lit in line with the vehicle's movement.

In terms of indoor settings, the system's facility for constant lighting control automatically alters room illumination in line with the ambient light available. This intelligent city lighting system is tipped to totally change the current practices by integrating the whole lighting system, offering people greater convenience and enhanced cost-effectiveness.

Electrodeless Discharge Lamp: A New Energy-saving Choice

Among the standout items at the exihbition were Guangdong ELX Lighting Technology's range of electrodeless discharge lamps. According to Li Yongxiong, the company's Deputy General Sales Manager, both the electrodeless discharge lamp and LED lamp are fourth-generation light sources, while both have energy-saving attributes, each one also has its own merits.

While LED has a miniwatt capacity as part of its energy conservation benefits, Li believes the electrodeless discharge lamp has the advantages of a long service life, low luminescence degradation and high price-performance ratio. Moreover, high power LED light has a problem with heat dissipation, something that can easily lead to luminescence degradation and high temperatures, shortening the electronic components' service life.

Photo: The HP Winner exhibition zone.
The HP Winner exhibition zone.
Photo: The HP Winner exhibition zone.
The HP Winner exhibition zone.
Photo: Dennessy electrodeless discharge lamps
Dennessy electrodeless discharge lamps
Photo: Dennessy electrodeless discharge lamps
Dennessy electrodeless discharge lamps

Li said the electrodeless discharge lamp has a useful life of about 60,000-100,000 hours. It is also said to be a notably healthy light source, offering an 80-plus colour-rendering index, while being free of any strobe flash or glare effect. In terms of industrial applications, the metal halogen lamp is currently the most popular category of lamp in the market. Its market share, however, is gradually declining, while electrodeless discharge lamps are gaining in popularity. According to the company, China's largest plastic pipes manufacturer, the China Lesso Group, has now replaced its 400W metal halogen lamps with the 200W Dennessy electrodeless discharge lamps. This has seen the group save 50% on its lighting costs.

Li said the sale of Dennessy electrodeless discharge lamps have enjoyed 200% annual growth for three years in a row. These Dennessy products have also secured the requisite accreditations in the major markets, including approval by the CCC (China), CE (EU), UL (US), and the TUV (Germany). In fact, it is also the only brand of electrodeless discharge lamp apprfoved for building and road lighting by the Guangdong Provincial Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

Li now sees considerable potential in overseas markets. This year, plans are already in place to promote the Dennessy range by setting up a factory and logistics centre in the US. ELX is also preparing to open offices in Canada and the Middle East in order to cope with the demand in these markets.

Wide Array of Energy-saving Products on Display

This year's exhibition featured a number of innovative lighting products, both in application and approach.

The "breathable LED lamp", produced by Zhongshan's Diqi Lighting, for instance, does not only emit light, it also comes equipped with a cold catalyst formaldehyde filter at its base. This acts to quickly detect and decompose the formaldehyde released during any home renovation projects, helping to protect residents' health. Its lamp base is also fitted out with porous minerals to consistently and effectively produce a health-giving negative ion effect.

Among the most eye-catching designs at the show was an LED candle lamp produced by Yinglang, a Shenzhen-based lighting company. This unique smoke candle-styled pilot lamp, complete with a vivid flame effect, utilises a COB light source. The 320-degree ultra-wide beam angle of the 5W LED candle lamp releases a radiance equivalent to that of a 40W white light.

Photo: Panasonic China’s impressive presence.
Panasonic China's impressive presence.
Photo: The dedicated Hong Kong pavilion.
The dedicated Hong Kong pavilion.
Photo: The dedicated Hong Kong pavilion.
The dedicated Hong Kong pavilion.

Another innovation came from Dongguan's Qinmingshi. The company was in Guangzhou to promote an LED lighting system featuring a downward illumination setting. The product allows 60% of the light to be cast onto the crystal element of the shade and the lamp hanger, allowing for any chandelier to cast a distinctly mellow glow.

Overall, many exhibitors placed considerable pride in their original design. Contrary to the usual industry practice of discouraging product photography, the Zhongshan Liangdi Illumination stand actually featured signs encouraging its competitors to take pictures. The company claims it sells only original designs and is keen to pursue quality rather than quantity.

Delegations from Hong Kong, Taiwan, the US, Korea and Japan also brought along their own brands and SMEs to the exhibition. It is hoped that this will foster mutual exchanges among the delegates, while promoting cross-regional cooperation and innovative development.

The Guangzhou International Lighting Exhibition was held in mid-June at the China Import and Export Fair Complex. The four-day exhibition attracted nearly 3,000 exhibitors from 27 countries and regions.

Xing Bin, Special Correspondent, Guangzhou

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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