Sign & Digital Graphics

The 2015 LED & EMC Report

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L E D & E M C • June 2015 • 9 The LEDs in SloanLED's V Series of modules for shallow-depth applications are on a 70-degree angle to the face, spreading the light out and not up. (Image courtesy of SloanLED) Shallower cabinet signs are also becoming popular, and manufacturers are responding with LED modules that produce even light- ing for them. (Image courtesy of AgiLight) material struggles to illuminate evenly. The result of this struggle is a tendency toward streaking and hot spots that create visual anarchy. To combat these problems people first tried decreasing the spac- ing between rows, which in some cases proved acceptable, but in others created too much light in the space and washed out the color or image of the letter. Vinyl manufactures like 3 M and Arlon stepped in to help with the problem by creating films that helped better diffuse the light, giving us more flexibility. But this did not fully cure all issues. Enter LEDs LEDs brought new hope to the prob- lem but at the same time created a new set of issues. The diode in a traditional LED module is aimed directly at the face; while a five-inch depth created very even light, once the LEDs began to approach the face it created pinpoints of light. Once again sign shops began to decrease the row spacing and applying light diffusing vinyl, but this only solved one problem and created another. The light was even but you still had problems with the signs being too bright. Also with the additional rows came the additional cost of labor and products. In response to these problems—and in the face of a growing demand for shal- low signage—many LED manufacturers have stepped up to the challenge with new products specifically designed for shallow applications. Indirect-Lit Shallow Channel Letters According to Bryan Vincent, a partner at Principal LED, backlighting channel letters becomes very difficult below one inch in thickness. He says that a com- mon method that sign companies often use to light channel letters that are less than one inch is to take a solid piece of acrylic and route out a pattern on the back of the acrylic. "Principal L E D has a range of 8mm flexible LED strip lighting that is U L -recognized in U L 's S A M Sign Components Manual," Vincent says. The tapes can be placed on edge inside the routed portion of the acrylic so they don't shine directly at the sign face, and the LED lamps are spaced evenly for more even illumination. "We also recommend painting the edge of the acrylic with a highly reflectiv- ity white paint to create internal reflec- tion," he says. "For slightly deeper letters (2-3 inches) we offer a more traditional module-based backlight solution. Our new Street Fighter Sidekick is 2.8 mod- ules per foot at 130 LM/ft., and it uses a 160-degree batwing optic that differen- tially pushes light laterally, allowing for even illumination across the sign face." Unique Mounting Solution In 2007, SloanLED released the V Series product, which addresses the three-inch-deep signage market. In 2011 the company released the V-180 product when they realized—primarily

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