OSRAM: talking about Reliability

This series of articles will look at the factors that influence the specification of lighting product, LED tapes and strips, in particular. We’ll be looking at reliability, cost and performance as being the three most important considerations for specifiers, installers and users. And we’ll also be investigating what each of those factors actually means  when we talk about ‘reliability’, ‘cost’ and ‘performance’.

This first article focuses on the Reliability of a product. What makes a product ‘reliable’?

A simple definition of reliability is this: ‘consistently good in quality or performance; able to be trusted.’

In an architectural lighting context it means that the product should last for a given (stated) time and, ideally, for even longer than that. It should perform as defined by the manufacturer and give no trouble to any concerned party, be they installer or end-user.

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Where does Reliability start?

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Product origins– testing the supply chain.

We’re still getting used to the idea that the supply chain is an important factor in product design and manufacture. For many years, we have been invited to believe that all products that look the same will perform the same. Common sense – and experience – tells us that cannot be true.

The only way that anyone can be certain about the reliability of a product is to seek out the paperwork behind the product. Responsible companies invest much effort to report where the materials inside their products come from and what impact the various industrial processes had on the people involved and on the environment. This is vital information for the specifier and the end-user.

OSRAM is a global company with an extensive network of suppliers. The company is committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Most materials for OSRAM products come from Germany, China, Malaysia and the USA. All suppliers that provide raw materials need to provide audited evidence of material origins.  We are all aware of parts of the world that use slave and child labour to extract vital minerals for the electronics industry. These ‘conflict minerals’ help to fund terrorist activity around the world. OSRAM requires that supplier qualifications include commitments to human rights.

Moving further up the manufacturing process, OSRAM also engages with ‘Innovation Management’ to ensure that the use of materials is optimised within products. The company collaborates with commercial partners and universities to provide a continual assessment of technical efficiencies.

At every step in the process, components are tested to guarantee that OSRAM standards are met.

(note to team: can you let me have something a bit more concrete on this – an example or two perhaps?)

In the OSRAM Sustainability Report of 2019, Dr Olaf Berlien, Chairman of he Managing Board of OSRAM Licht AG said: “Sustainability means responsibility, which for us includes not only the value that our products add but also the way that we treat our employees, suppliers, and customers. Throughout our value chain, we put the emphasis on careful use of resources, environmental protection, good working conditions, health and safety, and compliance with human rights.”

In 2020, OSRAM was the highest ranking German company (11th place with a rating of 79.87%) in the Corporate Knights’ Global 100 Index of sustainable companies. The other German companies in the top 100 were Siemens AG, Adidas AG, Commerzbank AG, and BASF SE.

SUMMARY

It doesn’t matter whether you call all this back-office activity ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ or ‘Sustainable Behaviour’ or ‘Supply Chain Management’, the practical outcome is a product that has been monitored all the way from raw material to finished product; fully documented and tested to ensure RELIABILITY at the point of use.

When an OSRAM product is used, the specifier, the installer, the end-user can all be confident about the provenance of the fixture and everything that went into creating it.

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The Langley is a grand country manor hotel sitting in a former royal hunting ground with landscaping originally designed by England’s greatest gardener, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The hotel comprises of two buildings; a historic mansion once the former estate of the Duke of Marlborough and a Grade II- listed 18th century building formally used as stables and brew house. Below the Main House a 2500sqm a state of the art subterranean Spa was created.

dpa was commissioned with designing the lighting for all public front of house and guest areas as well as the external lighting to both buildings and landscaping.

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Stephanie Harris: Senior Designer at dpa says:

“We used Osram products throughout both properties internally and externally. The flexibility and
adjustability of the OSRAM products were ideal for this project. As it is a heritage building with
listed status, exact measurements were not always known and so it was helpful that the LED could
be adapted on site and cut to length

A critical element for us is the commissioning stage, with a lot of time focusing and balancing the
lighting elements within a space. We rely on good quality products dimming down to low levels to
ensure a stable flicker free environment to be enjoyed by the guest whilst relaxing by the pool,
resting in their bedroom or dining .”

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The LINEARlight FLEX range is the most popular of OSRAM’s linear LED offers. It is a range that provides consistently good quality illumination, supported by a company policy of continual technical improvement.

The features of the ‘Uniformity’ product family demonstrate that quality of purpose:

Electrical:

  • 24v LED Strips that are cuttable at 50mm intervals for extra-flexible installation
  • Constant current drivers for stable light output over the length of the LED strip.
  • Built-in protection against accidental miswiring (to 25v)
  • Fully PWM dimmable from zero to 2.5kHz, with noise-free operation

Colour:

  • Colour quality options: CRI Ra: 95+, 90+, 80+.
  • Colour uniformity better than 2 SDCM along the entire strip and between strips
  • Colour stability over time is typically 1 SDCM
  • Accurate description of colour rendition according to standards

Light performance:

  • Light outputs varying from 800lm/m to 1200lm/m.
  • Flicker and stroboscopic effect-free
  • LED lifetime parameters according to standards
  • Single-reel manufacturing technology means no soldered joints along length of reel

For more details about the features and benefits of the LINEARlight FLEX range, refer to the Family Data Sheet.

For your information, a recent addition to the LINEARlight FLEX Uniformity range is LINEARlight FLEX Protect Uniformity. These LED strips are rated to IP67 and IP65 with connector or IP66 and IP65 with fling leads, extending the possible applications of the LINEARlight FLEX range to architectural exteriors.

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To discuss your UK project requirements, contact Karen Cawley at karen.cawley@osram.com.

In our next article, we’ll be looking at the PERFORMANCE quality of these OSRAM products.

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About John Bullock

John Bullock is the editor of The Light Review

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