IN A DRAMATIC change to the lighting industry’s traditional manufacturing model, Signify is creating bespoke luminaires for customers by 3D printing them to order, with its first major customer the UK retailer Marks & Spencer.
Signify says the move is a major step towards the so-called ‘circular economy’ in which waste is eliminated and materials are continually re-used.
The company says it has perfected this highly flexible form of manufacturing, using a 100 per cent recyclable polycarbonate material, which allows luminaires to be bespoke designed or tailored to customer’s needs and recycled at the end of their life.
The light fittings for the Marks & Spencer store roll-out – believed to run into thousands – are being made at Signify’s first 3D printing factory in the Netherlands, but it plans to establish additional 3D printing facilities in the US, India and Indonesia.
A typical manufactured luminaire, excluding electronics and optics, has a 47 per cent lower carbon footprint than a conventionally manufactured metal luminaire.
Nearly every component can be reused or recycled, supporting the concept of the circular economy.
The 3D luminaires will be installed in M&S stores in London, Manchester, Belfast as well as Dublin and Cork in Ireland.
The project is part of a big renovation to improve store performance and generate significant energy savings.
In the stores, different types of luminaires are being replaced by 3D printed LED versions.
These bespoke products are sized to fit into the existing fittings ensuring the continued use of current ceiling tiles.
‘We’ve been working hard to create a greener, low carbon M&S for a number of years and were proud to become the first major retailer to be carbon neutral back in 2012,’ Oliver Knowles, M&S research and development manager within the property group told Lux.
‘3D printing has been around for a while, but these luminaires are the first real retail lighting application we’ve seen that improves the sustainability of our stores and are extremely complementary to our sustainability strategy.
‘The potential for these fittings is enormous, both from an energy and cost-efficiency perspective.
‘They are printed on demand to fit perfectly without need for adjustment or cutting into our ceilings.
‘We can also return them to have them recycled and new designs printed, enabling us to be current and topical.’
The 3D printing facility at Maarheeze in the Netherlands will eventually have up to 500 3D printers of different sizes with the ability to create luminaires up to 60 cm height and width.
In January 2020, new Signify 3D printing facilities will be operational in Burlington, Massachusetts, US, serving both professional and consumer markets.
Additional facilities in Noida, India and Jakarta, Indonesia will follow quickly after. LED lights will be integrated into the luminaires at all these sites.
- A major conference on Lighting’s role in the circular economy will take place in the Crystal building at Royal Victoria Docks in London on Tuesday 24 March 2020. Organised by the waste electrical and electronic equipment compliance body Recolight and chaired by Ray Molony, the event aims to shape the industry’s move to a low-waste model. For more information, and to register your interest, click HERE.