Tuesday, 10 December 2013

EU Eco Design DIM2 Directive Explained…

Over the past few years, the LED lighting market has faced a number of problems; manufacturers have made false claims, poor quality LEDs have given inconsistent performances, product information has been inaccurate and to top it all off there was little to no legislation controlling these issues.

Due to increasing concerns that LED lighting may not deliver the expected performance, the European Union have introduced the Eco Design DIM2 directive. This new piece of legislation hopes to enable customers to make informed choices when purchasing LED and directional halogen lamps.

In order to achieve this, minimum performance standards for both LED lamps and directional halogen lamps have been set. Regulations have also been put into place to make product information more accurate and transparent, meaning packaging is now a useful and more reliable indicator of performance. These changes to packaging mean the product information displayed on the box is similar across all suppliers ensuring customers can chose the most suitable option from a range of manufacturers.

The benefits of this new directive can be best demonstrated through outlining which common problems they will eradicate in the LED lighting market. A source of disappointment for many customers is a painfully obvious inconsistency in colour appearance. It has now been stipulated that colour variation should be hardly noticeable to the naked eye, and that colours should be represented in a vivid and natural way. To achieve this, manufacturers must undertake rigorous quality control methods. Due to the expense of enforcing such precise quality control, cheaper LEDs often fall short, showing a greater variation in colour. For instance, poor quality control is indicated when packaging indicates a colour temperate range-  for example 4000-4500k, a precise colour temperature-  for example 2700k implies a high level of quality control has been enacted.

Since the directive has come into effect manufacturers are required to clearly state on packaging, energy efficiency, luminous flux in lumens, colour temperature in kelvin, lifetime in hours, number of switching cycles, lamp dimensions in millimetres, beam angle in degrees and energy consumption in kWh. These changes will ensure that lamps for different manufacturers can be easily compared giving customers confidence in the product they are purchasing.

To ensure customers are able to trust that the stated lumen output is reliable and that the wattage equivalent given is accurate, the following performance requirements have been laid out; directional lamps including spots and reflectors must meet a specified lumen level to be able to claim they are a replacement for certain wattage. After 6,000 burning hours, 95% of lamps must survive and maintain at least 80% of their initial lumen output and 95% of lamps must survive for at least 1000 hours.

After these new regulations were announced earlier in the year, Philips has gone above and beyond to ensure the new guidelines are met. Their DIM2 compliant packaging is easily recognised by its purple colour; they have also introduced an improved spot and reflector range which meet the new wattage requirements. They offer a lamp for every socket, with product ranges for all types of applications. Despite these changes, Philips has managed to maintain the look and feel of their lamps meaning customers will hardly notice the difference.

Although not all of these new regulations received a glowing reception, it is widely acknowledged that the Eco Design DIM2 regulations will greatly improve the LED lighting market, giving both customers and wholesalers such as ourselves, the information needed to make accurate and appropriate selections. The enforcement of these measures aims to broaden the use of LED lighting, reducing consumer’s energy and maintenance costs as well as their environmental impact.