The LED industry has had a huge boom globally over the past four years and India is proving no exception to the rule with some sources predicting a 30% growth year on year up to 2021.
The upward trend has been boosted by several government initiatives to supply cheap light to the masses here in India. This support paired with the ‘Make In India’ initiative, has prompted a surge of LED and electronics company start-ups over the past twelve months.
Chemical solutions for LED applications is proving to be a key area of interest and focus for our new manufacturing plant here in Bangalore – a hub for the new age of Indian electronics. In the midst of all this activity I decided to write a blog describing a recent case study and a prime example of Electrolube’s ‘solution people’ approach to problem solving.
The Rockforest Technologies Story
I received an urgent call from Rockforest technologies India who were under pressure to find a potting compound to use in some decorative strip lighting for a shopping mall complex. The company needed to meet a very specific ‘neutral white’ (4000k) colour and there was little, or no room for manoeuvre on this. In addition, the material must function to protect the unit from both outdoor conditions as well as the footfall of pedestrians; (the material was planned for installation at ground level under a walkway). No easy feat!
Rockforest had been testing our optically clear polyurethane resin UR5634 after hearing about other successful projects and its’ key characteristics suited to outdoor LED applications. It was tested alongside some competitor products, however they were struggling to match the strict colour temperature requirements for the finished LED unit.
Being an existing customer for our thermal interface material HTS, we had worked closely together on previous projects and the Rockforest team were well aware of our expert Global Technical Support Team. Consequently Rockforest had no hesitation in approaching Electrolube for assistance and support to select the right correct product.
After initially speaking to Rockforest, we trialled potting the LED ourselves to the specified depth of 5.5mm, and even though the resin met all of the environmental and physical tests, it was just short of the required colour temperature. To add to this, Rockforest’s customer requested a sample which met the 4,000K colour specification, be made available for re-testing in just 24 hours……
It was time to involve our Global Technical Support Team and pull on their massive resources of knowledge!
Our Technical support team sprang into action immediately responding with some key suggestions.
- Why not try an LED which is actually below the required temperature, thus the colour shift through the resin brings it to the required temperature range.
- Why not try using less of the resin, and thus bring down the temperature shift this way, the resin is more than capable of the required protection even in smaller layers.
While I was discussing this with the team, we also realised that Rockforest LED had an additional diffuser on the unit. If we removed this and used our light diffusing polyurethane resin UR5635, we could still achieve the required aesthetic appearance of the LED but additionally control the colour shift. By trialling a number of different potting depths, we managed to reach the required colour temperature of the unit. The rapid gel-time of UR5635 did cause another minor complication, however we quickly overcame this by using a staged potting process.
We sent this sample back to the customer, and it passed with flying colours!…..well, singular colour actually – cool white.
All this in the space of 24 hours; – we’re not called the ‘Solutions People’ for nothing!