Monday, December 18, 2017 | Today's Vending Industry News
AZ Light Brings State-Of-The-Art LED Solutions And Benefits To The Industry

Posted On: 3/7/2017

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TAGS: vending, amusements, LED lighting, incandescent bulbs vs. LEDs, Andrey Zykin, AZ Light, vending machine, venue lighting

BUFFALO, NY -- Making the change to LED lighting is an appealing proposition for several reasons. With the old technology of incandescent bulbs, 2.0W of power is little more than a dim flicker, while the same amount of juice applied to a well-designed LED bulb produces light equal to a 40W incandescent bulb. In the long run that can add up to a lot of saved dollars.

Those looking to switch over to LED lights, whether for equipment or venues, should be warned that not all LED products are the same. Ask Andrey Zykin of AZ Light of Buffalo, NY. Zykin is an engineer and scientist by training, with more than 35 years of experience in the lighting field; he holds multiple advanced degrees, too, and worldwide patents in lighting and thermal management technologies. His message to anyone who is considering a change to LEDs: It's far better to be informed than disappointed.

As one of the country's leading suppliers of LED lights, Zykin has become well aware of the benefits that LEDs can bring to an operation. They significantly lower energy consumption, have much longer life cycles and emit less heat than conventional bulbs. By comparison, a standard light bulb has a lifespan of 1,000 hours to 2,000 hours, and a limited number of on/off cycles. Even an expanded-lifespan light that could squeeze roughly 3,000 hours to 5,000 hours out of the bulb still has a limited number of on/off cycles. Conversely, Zykin's LED lights sold can go for 25,000 hours to 100,000 hours with virtually unlimited on/off cycles. To state that another way, 100,000 hours is more than 11 years of continuous use.

AZ also offers LED tube lights. These are designed to replace standard T8 fluorescent lamps. According to Zykin, the tube light offers the best output ratio, generating some 185 lumens per watt. The tube, Zykin explained, is designed to be "direct replaceable," so existing T8 fixtures require no replacement or retrofitting.

LEDs For Every Use

To date, AZ Light has provided lighting solutions ranging from a few LED bulbs for equipment to entire venues. These include family entertainment centers and amusement parks in Florida and California, and laser tag arenas in Europe, as well as office buildings and places of worship. Zykin's Buffalo, NY, showroom displays more than 400 lights, most of which fit into existing fixtures. The direct-replaceable feature not only saves on installation costs, but it also eliminates the risk of voiding a fixture's UL/ETL compliance with rewiring.

Where AZ Light really shines is in its ability to consult with customers on the best light for the job. Zykin said that most people seeking to make use of LED technology will be disappointed by both the anticipated savings and quality. "They go to a big box store and look at the lights, then pick the cheapest one," Zykin observed. "So then they have a light that has a wrong or undesired color, or dies quickly, and they don't save a lot. There aren't any professionals to support the sale, explain the technology to consumers and determine the best product for the job."

LED Lights, Andrey Zykin
MAY THE LIGHT SOURCE BE WITH YOU: Andrey Zykin, at left, shows off his new light tube. Designed to replace standard fluorescent tubes, the unit generates 185 lumens output per watt of power.
This is part of a larger problem. Right now there is a flood of inferior LED lights entering the U.S. market. These bargain lights are really no bargain at all. They might have a lifespan of as little as three to six months, the same as an incandescent bulb, negating one of the LED light's primary benefits over standard products. Even worse, because bargain LEDs often employ inexpensive materials, many feature an imperceptible flicker and harsh bluish light. "There are no standards or definitive regulations in the U.S. for flicker or blue light levels in LED bulbs as there are in some other countries," Zykin said. "So, you get leakage of blue light. And you get flicker, which can affect mood." In this regard, the difference in the visible light spectrum between an LED and incandescent light should not be noticeable.

These problems are inconvenient, but easily solved for limited users, like most homeowners. In a public space, however, the wrong lighting can impact the bottom line by creating an "unwelcoming" or drab environment.

Another problem resides with consumers who might be easily confused by product offerings. Incandescent lighting is well over a century old, and florescent technology is only slightly younger. Not only are they familiar technologies, industry standards have been well established, along with consumer perceptions. On the other hand, LED technology, though superior in many crucial aspects, requires a new way of thinking about lighting that has met with some resistance.

For instance, while everyone more or less knows the brightness emitted by a standard 40W incandescent bulb or florescent tube, the watt measurement does not easily transfer to LED light sources because they use so little power. LEDs are more accurately measured in lumens, a measurement of the total amount of visible light or brightness a bulb emits. While a typical 40W incandescent bulb gives off about 450 lumens, a similarly bright LED requires only a fraction of the power to generate the same level of visible light.

"To give an example, one of my LED lights takes only 1.9W, but is visually equal to 40W incandescent counterpart," Zykin said. "That's more than 20 times the energy efficiency." This can represent immediate savings in energy costs. However, even more savings can be squeezed out of the lights with such additional technology as occupancy-sensing systems.

Very simply, when it comes to LEDs it's all about measuring light output rather than consumption. This is an unfamiliar concept to most consumers. Think of it as buying a car, but not measuring its power in "horsepower." It seems weird. Interestingly, horsepower itself was only a convenient measurement that Scottish engineer James Watt came up with to market his steam engines to 19th century industries that were more familiar with horses than mechanical contraptions.

Into The Future Of Light

The idea of finding new applications for light sources is perhaps more exciting than the possibility of replacing traditional lighting with LED technology. AZ Light, for instance, is marketing an LED programmable light panel. The decorative panel offers some 16 million color choices programmed by a handheld device similar to a television remote. During a recent industry event, Zykin demonstrated the panel's toughness by repeatedly punching it -- hard -- without damaging the exterior or function. Even dancing on the panel won't harm it, he claims.

AZ Light is offering the scalable panel in sizes ranging from 4" x 4" to 100 ft. by 100 ft. The company recently completed a project for a panel that measured some 65 ft. x 17 ft. with a depth of less than 2", Zayin reported.

It is not difficult to see where this type of lighting fixture might fit into an FEC catering to a broad spectrum of consumers. For example, a wall unit could be programmed to create a cheery environment for afternoon birthday parties for youngsters, then reprogrammed at night for a more sophisticated atmosphere in the same room for adults.

While LEDs are a proven technology, many in the coin-op and vending industries have yet to reap their benefits. This is a situation Zykin hopes to remedy, one machine and one location at a time.