Sign & Digital Graphics

October '14

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90 • October 2014 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ELECTRIC SIGNAGE to deal with a raceway, they go together so quickly that sign companies are find- ing the labor saved alone makes it worth it. With the more powerful LEDs, being able to go to 10" between rows of LEDs, the higher color rendering index, the time saved by not having to build race- ways for the fluorescent secondary wires, the cost of the LEDs and the power sup- plies is more than made up in time and labor saved." Crook adds that there are a couple of other things to keep in mind: LED is not forgiving with bracing within the cabi- net because shadows are easy to make and difficult to make go away. Flex face signs vary tremendously in density and some can show dim stripes between rows and scalloping at the ends of rows when solid faces would not; retrofits require UL retrofit certification. An often-neglected element of the LED discussion is the power supply fac- tor. Crook says that power supply pricing has gone down significantly as of late. Coupled with decreasing LED module costs – along with the cost of ownership savings in decreased labor and mainte- nance and increased energy efficiency —it's no wonder LEDs are seeing a sig- nificant spike in other areas of sign and commercial lighting outside the channel letter market. "Even a couple of years ago when sign companies were looking at the cost of LED systems, a lot were getting a bit uptight about how many modules they could run on a given power supply. They were weighting lower-powered LEDs because they could run more feet of them and giving away the face brightness they should have had because power supplies were such a significant part of the total package cost," says Crook. "However, in the past six months or so, pricing has really dropped on power supplies. Part of it is just scales of manufacturing. People used to buy 20 and 40-watt power sup- plies instead of 60 watt, which is big as you can run under Class II. The cost of 60 watt power supplies is less expensive than 20 or 40 watt power supplies because they make a lot more of them now." LEDs are increasingly being used in backlit applications for retail, trade shows and more. (Image courtesy of Principal LED) Comparing lux intensities of a 5" depth channel letter with a 3.75" depth. (Image courtesy of Principal LED) There is a healthy demand for crisp, bright and semi-bright LED lighting in trade show displays. (Image courtesy of Orbus Exhibit & Display Group)

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