A EUROPEAN Union project to design the light fitting of the future has called for more personalisation and sustainability in lighting products.
The idea behind the £4m (€4.3m, US$5.27m) Repro-light research project is to create an example of a sustainable luminaire whose parts can easily be manufactured, disassembled, upgraded and recycled.
It’s hoped that lighting manufacturers will follow the example of the ‘luminaire of the future’ in an attempt to change the image of a LED fixture ‘from a disposable object into a customisable and sustainable product’.
The consortium includes luminaire maker Trilux, components specialist BJB, design house Bartenbach, controls manufacturer Rohner Engineering and Mondragon University in Spain.
Repro-light says its research demonstrated a demand for improved and personalised lighting in society, and detailed scientific studies with a test population to confirm the positive impacts of such lighting on humans.
‘The life cycle studies showed that there is a big potential to decrease the environmental burden of lighting by a smart and sustainable development and production process, and by careful material management including the reusing of components and the recycling of waste’.
The consortium says its achievements include the development and validation of a specific technology model for luminaire manufacturing and design.
A European wide user survey of 1,100 workers was done to fully understand the market demands for better lighting.
Results derived from this large sample survey identified people in Europe expected better, personalisable and adaptable luminaire solutions in their workplace for the future.
The results produced analysis and definition of the individual and technical requirements for more sustainable and competitive lighting.
The results revealed the importance of connected lighting to realise a Repro-light system.
Both wired connectivity and wireless connectivity received the highest ratings as design attributes.
Dynamic lighting for changing light in all dimensions (intensity, colour, direction) also scored highly along with, exchangeable and upgradable components, and firmware.
The results concluded that the rating for these design attributes are driven by strategic requirements for circular economy of Repro-light systems.
Efficiency was found to be not the most important design attribute but still attracted a medium-high rating.
The consortium partners developed a modular architecture for a continuous line luminaire, which maximises product variants out of a minimal set of components.
To bring the full benefit of such a modular system to the customer, a configurator was designed.
This allows the configuration of luminaire characteristics freely, generating all necessary technical data and manufacturing data as needed, and has a direct interface to the production line.
Further developing the customisable luminaire concept by designing 3D-printed decorative and functional elements that can be manufactured according to the customer’s definitions.
Investigations were also carried out for components of pointed luminaires in order to support modularity and customisation for such luminaires.
Another driving force behind the modularisation was to increase the sustainability by elongating the usage time of the luminaire.
However, in collaboration with the environmental assessment specialists, it was found to be not always the optimal approach.
A second luminaire architecture, the Personal Table Light (PTL), was developed to specifically improve workplace lighting and exploit the effects of light on the well-being and health of humans.
The PTL achieves exceptional lighting for vision and health at the workplace, says Repro-light, and is fully personalised by the user via a desktop application.
It is a user-centered, intelligent lighting system allowing a very flexible control of the illumination of table surface and back-wall, adjusting illuminance level, colour temperature and light distribution.
Integrated sensors and control systems estimate the current user activities and automatically adjust the lighting in line with the user’s needs.
A fully automated production scheme was developed for continuous line luminaires with 400,000 variations.
In contrast to methods of the past, when large quantities were produced for one type of luminaire, LED technology ‘offers the advantage but also the challenge of a large number of variants’.