Lighting Industry

Printing of luminaires ‘will be more disruptive than LEDs’

A middle-aged man in a suit in front of a wall of light fittings
Coen Liedenbaum believes 3D printing of luminaires will be ‘even more disruptive than LED lighting’.

THE ADVENT of 3D printed luminaires will be more disruptive to the industry than the development of LEDs, a senior Signify executive has predicted.

Coen Liedenbaum – who was one of the first to predict the switch to LEDs in the early 2000s –says the 3D printing project he is working on is ‘something that not many people believe is the next big thing, but I do’.

‘ I believe it’s even more disruptive than LED lighting. This is all about energy-efficiency, carbon reduction, waste reduction and “making where you sell’’.

‘Companies have to look again at their business models: how the innovate, how they produce and where they produce. Can’t we produce our goods in a way that has less impact on the environment?’

Liedenbaum believes it’s ‘indisputable’ that the next technology wave is all about sustainable solutions.  

‘We can all contribute to prevent the worst of climate change. In my case [with 3d printing] it’s about the knowledge and technology and putting it into practice’.

Signify sees 3D printing as a component in the so-called ‘circular economy’ in which waste is eliminated and materials are continually re-used.

A typical manufactured luminaire, excluding electronics and optics, has a 47 per cent lower carbon footprint than a conventionally manufactured metal luminaire.

The company  is already shipping bespoke luminaires to customers by 3D printing them to order. Its first major customer was the UK retailer Marks & Spencer. 

The 3D luminaires will be installed in M&S stores in London, Manchester, Belfast as well as Dublin and Cork in Ireland.

Light fittings being manufactured at Signify’s 3D-printing facility at Maarheeze in the Netherlands.

The company says it has perfected this 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.

Nearly every component can be reused or recycled, supporting the concept of the circular economy.

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.

The spotlights for the Marks & Spencer in Manchester, UK, were 3D printed using shredded recycled material at Signify’s factory at Maarheeze in the Netherlands. 

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. I

In January 2020, new Signify 3D printing facilities will be operational in Burlington, Massachusetts, US, serving both professional and consumer markets.