Tyco Electronics, a conglomerate that makes everything from military hardware to medical equipment, has contracted LED fever.
The company today unfurled the Nevalo system, a set of plug-and-play components for assembling solid state lighting systems for retail establishments, hotels, public areas and other locations. Bridgelux, one of the leading startups in solid state lighting, will supply LEDs and LED modules adapted for street lighting and commercial establishments to Tyco for Nevalo.
Tyco makes components like connectors and circuit boards for lighting. Nevalo, however, pushes them closer to the customer and into territory traditionally controlled by companies like Philips.
Bridgelux historically has put its research and manufacturing resources behind the actual LED chip itself and the packaging that immediately surrounds the LEDs. But like other companies, it has begun to broaden its horizons. (Part of the reason is the unusually long life of LEDs. Bulbs can last more than ten years. Without a regular replacement market, LED makers have to capture as much revenue as they can with the initial sale.)
Bridgelux first expanded with the Helieon Light Module, a hockey-puck-looking light module for commercial buildings. The Helieon contained most, but not all, of the parts for installing LEDs in office buildings. Bridgelux has to balance a fine line between integrating other components to drop the price of LEDs and integrating too many components and alienating lamp makers and others in the light business.
Along with that expansion has come a greater emphasis on optical technology and design to optimize the light coming from the LEDs. Regulations specify the minimum number of lumens and the beam pattern of things like streetlights. Optics also have a huge impact on lighting quality.
"Store lighting influences how people buy, so you want to create a good punch and sparkle," said Jason Posselt, vice president of global marketing at Bridgelux.
Tyco in some ways is a boon customer. The company has a worldwide reach. On other other hand, it doesn't have the name recognition of someone like Siemens or Sylvania in lights.
Bridgelux has 150 customers and is involved in around 500 projects with them, said Posselt. Expect other announcements soon.
One of those names might be Ikea. Late last year, Bridgelux CEO Bill Watkins told us that Bridgelux had started to move into the market for consumer LEDs. A few minutes later, he talked about how Ikea was moving into LED bulbs.