Makers are leveraging advancements in technology to expand selections.
Grid light suppliers in China are looking at LEDs as the industry standard in the next five to 10 years. Responding to international and domestic support for 'green' economies, companies are shifting more resources to the development of the line, which provides greater energy savings than older technologies.
Another major advantage of LED bulbs and tubes is the absence of mercury, use of which is already limited in the EU and other markets. The material is present in fluorescent versions, the popular alternative to solid-state light sources. Even units adopting tricolor powder contain a certain amount, although most suppliers keep the level below 0.3mg.
Adding to the appeal of diode-based illumination is the fact that LEDs emit no UV radiation. The components also last up to 10 times longer than CFLs or fluorescent tubes.
Advancements in the domestic solid-state lighting industry are facilitating the expansion of LED selections. Several diode suppliers now offer units close to the specifications of known brands such as Cree. Some enterprises in Guangdong province can manufacture chips that perform on a par or better than Taiwan-made variants, boasting 100 to 110 lm/W efficiency and having color temperatures above 3,000K.
Because grid light suppliers can procure the majority of their requirement locally, manufacturing outlay is greatly reduced, which in turn brings down prices. Bulbs and tubes account for 60 to 70 percent of the luminaire's total cost.
Domestic LED chips that generate 80 to 90 lm/W are purchased at about $0.50 per unit, while those capable of 100 to 120 lm/W go for $0.80. In contrast, imported variants can exceed $2.
Makers anticipate demand for LED grid lights to surge as the performance-to-price ratio improves. They hope to even take over the share of fluorescent types, orders for which increased as several countries began phasing out inefficient incandescent lamps for general lighting. Brazil, the US, Australia and Canada are among the areas where such regulation is already in place.
Products & prices
Most China-made grid lights use three fluorescent or LED tubes. T8 and T10 configurations up to 1,200mm long are the typical sources of illumination.
Housings are often constructed from aluminum, stainless steel and PC. Wood is sometimes adopted as well.
In the fluorescent category, quotes start at $9 and increase depending on the specifications of the light source and housing.
Designs using three 20W tubes, a popular series, go for at least $7.50. Sets with lamps from Opple and other known domestic brands are between $17 and $22. Systems using midrange or low-end versions typically do not exceed $13.50.
In the LED-based line, prices are nearly 10 times higher than those of fluorescent grid lights. Quotes vary depending primarily on the quality of the tubes.
Lamps for the category range from 75 to 130 lm/W in efficiency. Color temperatures are between 2,700 and 10,000K.
Models with 9W 900mm T8 tubes are one of the most popular variants in this category. Low-end versions with light sources that can generate 580 to 600 lumens go for $60 to $70. Their lamps adopt LEDs from domestic makers.
In the $70 to $90 range are sets that use Epistar LEDs. The products have tubes capable of emitting 700 to 750 lumens.
Designs higher up the price scale adopt Cree diodes. LEDs from Bridgelux of the US and Osram of Germany are also used.
Grid lights can be procured from about 2,600 companies in China. Most suppliers are located in the Pearl River and Yangtze River Delta regions.
For LED types, Shenzhen and Zhongshan are the main production centers. Makers in the former target the high end, while the majority of Zhongshan suppliers concentrate on the low end and midrange.
Model: 12W LED Panel Light
Shenzhen Wangxingyu Photoelectricity Co. Ltd
Model: LED Grid Lamp
Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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