Lighting: How Innovations in LED Technology are Changing the Way Coolers are Manufactured
December 14, 2017 by IDW
Commercial refrigeration manufacturers are leveraging the power of LED technology to create innovative designs that are more efficient and enhance product visibility. In this article, we’ll break down how LED technology differs from previous generations of lighting, and how the unique properties of LED lighting make it ideal for the commercial refrigeration industry.
LEDs are a solid-state lighting device that have a number of characteristics that are appealing in a commercial refrigeration application. First, they operate highly efficiently. Compared to traditional incandescent lighting sources, LED lighting operates up to 80% more efficiently. This has allowed manufacturers to incorporate LED lighting into commercial coolers in order to help them meet the increasingly strict regulatory requirements. Additionally, the increased efficiency provided by LED technology has enabled commercial cooler manufacturers to secure the coveted Energy Star 4.0 rating for more of their product line. Meeting Energy Star 4.0 thresholds in efficiency requires manufacturers to incorporate best-in-class standards for efficiency throughout the entire cooling unit, making LED technology a necessity in units that are hoping to receive an Energy Star rating.
A second feature of LED lighting has versus traditional incandescent lighting is a significantly reduced heat profile. Traditional lighting sources used in the past in commercial coolers gave off nearly 90% of their energy as heat. This placed additional strain on the cooler, causing it to run more frequently in order to compensate for the increased heat in the cooler case. In contrast, LED lighting produces much less of its energy as heat. This reduces the amount of strain placed on the compressor and cooler apparatus, allowing them to run more efficiently and for shorter periods of time in order to keep the cooler at temperature. In addition to running more efficiently, the reduced heat profile of LED lighting has allowed manufacturers to use the lighting provided by LED sources in more innovative ways, without having to worry about producing significant amounts of heat in the cooler.
While LED technology has resulted in measurable boosts to operational efficiency, which comes at a noticeable cost savings for the end-user, LED technology has also resulted in cost savings in maintenance. This is because LED lighting is simply more reliable than traditional lighting sources. Traditional lighting sources have a much shorter lifespan than LED lighting sources. On average, a well-made LED lighting source will last 25 times longer than a traditional lighting sources. Because commercial cooling units are required to run for long periods of time, operational reliability of the unit is a requirement. The much longer lifespan of LED lighting results in less maintenance over time, allowing the end-user to save money on costly maintenance over the long-haul. Because some operations can rely on thousands of commercial coolers across their organization, the higher stability and lower failure rate of LED lighting can result in large cost savings by reducing the frequency of costly maintenance. Not only are maintenance costs reduced, but LED lighting also gives peace of mind to the end-user. Operational management teams will be secure in knowing that their coolers equipped with LED technology will average over 5 years of continuous activity before their lighting sources reach the end of their service life.
Lastly, LED technology has changed the way products are showcased. Unlike traditional lighting sources, which require a series of mirrors and facets within the bulb to direct light onto a specific area, LED lighting is directional in nature and requires no reflection. This means that the light provided by an LED lighting source is more crisp, clear, and focused. Commercial cooler manufacturers have capitalized on this by designing coolers that leverage the enhanced lighting properties of LED technology to draw greater attention to the products contained in the cooler. LED lighting is also flexible by design, allowing commercial cooler manufacturers to select the warmth and spectrum of light that enhances the appeal of the products that are being showcased. This has helped commercial cooler manufacturers to address one of the primary problems that exist with commercial coolers; enhancing visibility for products that are contained behind a door. Through the clever application of LED technology, products contained in coolers equipped with LEDs are now more visible and displayed in a more appealing fashion.