Recently I visited the Lumileds (formerly Philips automotive lighting) facility at Aachen, Germany. You’ll remember my recently published conversation with Pascal Popis; this week’s in-depth article describes my visit and the interesting technology I saw.
What really struck me is the mix of old, current, and future technologies coexisting right now in the Lumileds vehicle lighting product range. Not only are most of the legacy halogen and tungsten bulbs still in production (including H1, the world’s first halogen car bulb from 1962), but there’s active work ongoing to deploy new varieties of halogen (H18, H19) and HID (D5S) technology. At the same time, they’re striving to improve the current LED products with smaller light emitting areas at competitive flux levels.
And then there’s the development under way on laser, matrix, and other near-future technologies. All in one company!
So I retain two main points:
1) We are going into an era of a huge range of light sources. 25 years ago there were maybe four European and four US halogen bulb types, and that was all. New ones were added every once in a while, but even when HID came along it didn’t add a lot of new light sources, only a few. Now there are dozens of light sources and more coming all the time.
2) The technologies are more and more complicated and my visit at LDCA, the phosphor competence centre of Lumileds, showed me an impressive level of research and development.
Indeed, the job of light source manufacturers is becoming more and more complex.
As the Tier-2 ecosystem develops new technologies to improve functions—like we have seen at ISAL—it is clear that the lighting world has great jobs in front of them.
On another note: DVN is headquartered in Paris, site of the horrific terrorist attacks last Friday. All of us and our families are OK, but of course we are all aghast at the barbaric events. We take a few moments to send our thoughts, wishes, and hopes to those directly affected, and to reflect on how our work means vanquishing darkness by bringing light to the world together.
DVN Editor in Chief