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Few Things You Might Not Know about LED Signage

25 March 2013

What are LEDs and what are the benefits of using LED signage over other types of signs?

By Sean O’Leary

LED signage

What is a Light Emitting Diode?
It is a semiconductor device that converts electrical energy into a specific colour of light. The first practical LED was invented in 1962 by Nick Holonyak. At the time, Mr Holonyak was working as a consulting scientist for the General Electric Company. He also invented the red-light semiconductor laser (used in CD and DVD players) and helped to create the first light dimmer.

LED Benefits
Compared to other lighting sources such as Neon or fluorescents, LEDs:
– Are solid state units that are less likely to break.
– Consume less energy.
– Generate less heat.
– Have no hazardous chemicals.
– Can be used to create dynamic displays.

Life Span
Neon > Up to 25,000 hours (or 2.8 years)
LED > Up to 100,000 hours (or 11.4 years)

What Colours Do LEDs Come In?
– LEDs are available in the full range of primary colours. However, they are not all the same.
– LEDs are commonly available in red, green and blue colours.
– They can be combined to generate white light and a myriad of colours.
– Red is the oldest existing LED and is one of the brightest and cheapest. It is also the most popular colour used.
– There are also modified blue and UV LEDs that produce a high brightness white light commonly used to substitute fluoresecent tubes or incandescent lighting.

Examples of LED Signage:
– Channel-lettering/light boxes
– Building facades
– Large outdoor video screens
– Digital billboards
– Sport/stadium displays
– Small indoor retail displays
– Good displays (restaurants/supermarkets)
– Signs on taxis
– Destination signs on mass-transit vehicles
Plus, in most cases LEDs can be retro-fitted into existing signage to create a more sustainable lighting option for illumination.

Future Prediction
In 2010, the worldwide consumption of LED used in signage and professional displays reached $1.52billion (US) and forecasted to reach $2.78billion (US) in 2016.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Holonyak
http://ledsmagazine.com/press/31411

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