Commentary | May 06, 2013

The Mandatory Basis for Professional LED Lighting - Guido Nattkemper, Director of LED Product Management at BAG electronics

Platform management speeds up development, simplifies complexity, helps to manage the supply chain and improves quality.

Impressive energy savings, extremely long service life and high application flexibility are the well-known benefits of LED, and have helped the technology to achieve a rapid breakthrough and an unprecedented boom. But this euphoria will only continue if LED lighting systems are able to fulfill ambitious, industry- specified demands. This means that quality management, in itself an essential element of lighting electronics, becomes even more important, and this applies not only to the LEDs but to the LED modules used and to the same degree, the control gear.

What does ‘good’ LED light actually consist of? When aspects of quality are discussed then the parameters of LED service life, color temperature, color rendering index and color perception are at the fore. This, of course, is correct but is still insufficient; high light quality cannot be achieved without high quality electronics.

The diversity of requirements for qualitative LED lighting should not be underestimated: a wide spectrum of variants, highly differing application areas and the high speed of development are only some of the factors directly affecting quality assurance. In view of simultaneously high time and market-related pressure, the development of platform concepts and thus modular kit systems becomes the obvious solution.

Tried-and-true platforms help to cut down on the complexity of wide product diversity and so allow a constantly high level of quality and shortened development periods. They also enable the flexibility for manufacturers of luminaires that these require for highly differing demands and products. The Zhaga consortium, bringing together leading companies in the international lighting industry, shows , for example, possible options for defining platforms with the objective of interchangeability for LEDLight Engines. An overall, uniform understanding of definitions, components and topologies is part of that process and means that the level of transparency is improved for all participating parties.

Concurrently, does this mean that our own development activities are limited? Just the opposite. It is on the foundation of basis specifications as drawn up by Zhaga that own, individual platform concepts can be created with additional performance characteristics beyond the requirement of pure interchangeability. Intelligent functionalities and innovative solutions with regard to thermal, electrical, mechanical and photometrical platform properties open up differentiating opportunities to suit a wide array of application areas, ranging from retail outlets to industrial halls. Rapid availability coordinated precisely to specific demands is also the platform strategy of BAG in regards to LED modules and control gear. Based on many years of experience in terms of various application conditions in professional lighting and design of lighting electronics, platforms for electronic control gear units and LED modules are matched as systems.

Short cycles of innovation are elementary in the highly dynamic LED sector, while keeping the level of complexity as low as possible. Platform concepts are ideal for this as they enable rapid product development, while at the same time simplifying production planning and logistics for luminaire manufacturers by improved product availability, higher flexibility in use of components and thus reduced stock-keeping. Of course, an essential part of the platform strategy is also continuous quality management, covering product specification and product development to running quality control during manufacturing.

For LED lighting, rapid availability with high quality are conditions that future-oriented platforms are able to meet.


Guido Nattkemper
Guido Nattkemper is Director of LED Product Management at BAG electronics Group. The company has been a well-known supplier of luminaire manufacturers across the globe for many years, with lighting electronics for professional applications. Mr. Nattkemper has been working for BAG electronics since 2001. He completed his physics degree at the University of Dortmund in 1991. He has many years of detailed experience in the international lighting electronics sector, and accompanied the development of the first LED components and the expansion of LED expertise at BAG from the beginning.