This is what climate protection looks like

Full luminosity, less power

Efficient Signage under South Africa's Sun






Very different requirements have to be met when creating illuminated signs, from design and luminosity to energy efficiency and low maintenance. Whereas fluo-rescent tubes used to be the first choice for lighting, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are now gaining a growing share of the illuminants market. LEDs have a much longer service life than fluorescent tubes, can be used more flexibly and are highly resistant to vibrations. Sheets of PLEXIGLAS truLEDŽ are used to design ex-tremely effective LED striplights, for example by Japanese luxury car manufacturer Lexus in South Africa.

Lexus made a conscious decision against fluorescent tubes and in favor of LEDs for the illuminated signs at its South African showrooms. For convincing economic rea-sons: the lower maintenance costs. LEDs offer up to 50,000 hours of illumination, as compared with fluorescent tubes, which have a service life of about 31,000 hours. Os-ram, which manufactures both types of illuminant, has already delivered 140,000 LEDs to Lexus for the first construction phase. Wallie Wilmans is Technical Market-ing Manager at Osram and explains the cost advantage:
"LEDs are more expensive to start with, but they are worth it in the long run because of their lower maintenance costs. The higher initial investment pays off after only two or three years." This is because LEDs are highly vibration-resistant and less tem-perature-sensitive. Added to this, if one LED fails, that has hardly any effect on the overall optical output of a unit. If a fluorescent tube fails, it is obvious straight away.

Mr. Wilmans names another advantage of LEDs: "The light boxes can be made much slimmer, only 56 mm deep with LEDs. Fluorescent tubes, on the other hand, require a depth of 150 mm. The flatter the boxes, the more material can be saved." These benefits mean LEDs are winning an increasing share of the market. "I think the mar-ket share will continue to grow. We started at a low level, but we have seen steady growth of ten to fifteen percent per year. LEDs definitely look like the light of the fu-ture," Mr. Wilmans says.

Lexus shares this opinion. LEDs perfectly match the image the Japanese car manufac-turer would like to cultivate, with vehicles that place emphasis on innovation. That can be seen from the series of models with the innovative hybrid engine, a combina-tion of gasoline engine and electric motor with low emissions and consumption. So it was important for Lexus to use innovative technology when it came to the signs for its branches. This task was handled by Terri-Lynn Matthyser, Creative Director at The Brand Union, a brand design agency. She explains her brief to us: "Lexus is an aspirational premium brand. The brand expression as such is a pursuit of perfection.
For us the pursuit of perfection goes hand in hand with pursuit of the most advanced intelligent and engaging technology. And that obviously has to be used in the vehicles as well as in the showroom."

 At the same time, quite specific requirements had to be met when designing the signs. Ms. Matthyser received clear specifications from her Japanese clients: "The signage needed to provide excellent lighting results and look equally good both day and night. In terms of the challenges, the South African sunlight was obviously very different from the Japanese sunlight." So the unit needed to offer particularly high luminosity. "

The PLEXIGLAS truLEDŽ sheets provided good results. The material makes for strong light features and achieves the desired effect both during the day and at night," Ms. Matthyser says.  PLEXIGLAS truLEDŽ was specially developed for modern LED technology and is precisely adjusted to the color point of the indi-vidual LEDs. This means the light is not converted to heat inside the sheet, but reaches the viewer. "That is unique in the market and distinguishes this grade from all standard products," Ms. Matthyser adds.

Martin Hoffmann, signage expert at Evonik Röhm GmbH, agrees: "PLEXIGLAS truLEDŽ offers very good transmission. That means it has better light transmission than conventional acrylic, combined with excellent light diffusion." It provides opti-mum lighting results at minimum power consumption. "In the case of the Lexus branches, it would have taken a lot more LEDs to provide the same lighting effect with conventional acrylic. That would have increased power consumption unneces-sarily, and with it the carbon emissions," Mr. Hoffmann says.

Product brochure as a PDF:
Energy-saving signage with PLEXIGLAS truLEDŽ. Download PDF 

Different colors, different sizes – simply calculate the savings that can be made for illuminated signs. more