How to Find the Best Custom Lighting Supplier for Your Project
Lightguides: The Options
It’s crucial to know the difference between kinds of custom lighting. Weighing the options helps you to make the most efficient choice for your project. Here are some considerations for comparing various high-end technologies.
Electroluminescent film is the kind of lighting required to create a kind of glow in things like watches, alarm clocks, reflective clothing, and even billboards. This technology is most often manufactured in flat panels and does not require additional tooling to assemble. They have a low minimum order quantity, so they can be ordered in small amounts for specific projects. The flat film is made to be flexible and easy to apply. The brightness is low, and does not provide light sufficient for illuminating a room, but can create a substantial glowing effect. Some drawbacks to be aware of include a shorter life expectancy than traditional lighting, and high voltage that may cause excess noise in the adjacent electrical system. Compared to other high-end lighting, electroluminescent film is on the more expensive side of the spectrum.
Direct LED Backlighting
A computer keyboard is a reliable example for an item that is backlit by direct illumination from LED lights. Under the keypad buttons there is a PC board that responds and performs functions. Direct LED backlighting is the instance of placing small LED lights on that same PC board. It will produce a direct light stream as opposed to scattered light. It is a good option for any project that requires strong, uniform lighting. When applying direct backlighting, more space is necessary between the lights and the illuminated surface itself. This will allow light to spread evenly. Much like electroluminescent film, the tooling costs are minimal and the parts can be ordered in small quantities. It is also the most cost effective lighting technology.
Lightguide / Edge-Lit
A lightguide–also called an edge-lit display–is used in many of the same things as direct backlighting, such as calculators, musical instruments, computer keyboards, laboratory instruments, and arcade games. To borrow the example of a computer keyboard once more, an edge-lit display does not provide direct light. The LED lights are placed under a number of panels sandwiched on top of one another. These are all molded to the keyboard buttons and creates a barrier between the keypad and the lights themselves. A lightguide allows for the addition of various mechanical features to the setup. It is also the most efficient technology for power saving. It is generally inexpensive to purchase lightguide molds. The only drawback is in the assembly and tooling costs, which are high. This is due to the nuanced and intricate nature of the technology.
Fiber optic lighting is perhaps best known for decorative purposes like pool lights, ambient lamps, or Christmas lights. This technology is made of thin translucent fibers that transmit light to the ends of the fibers and then back to the core, and so on. In comparison to cables that transmit light, fiber optics is the more economical choice. Along with EL film and direct LED lighting, tooling costs and minimum order quantities are low. In contrast, the fiber optic technology costs more overall. In terms of efficiency, they do not measure up to other kinds of light. Yet, the glowing and sometimes rapidly changing effect they give is unique, and the flexible fibers are good for illuminating very small spaces.
Choosing the Right Light
Take all these factors–cost, efficiency, and purpose–into consideration when creating and designing. There are many manufacturers who offer these lightguides in various styles. Global Lighting Technologies is the best choice for every kind of lighting need.