What are LEDs and what are the benefits of using LED signage over other types of signs?
By Sean O’Leary
What is a Light Emitting Diode?
It is a semiconductor device that converts electrical energy into a specific colour of light. The first practical LED was invented in 1962 by Nick Holonyak. At the time, Mr Holonyak was working as a consulting scientist for the General Electric Company. He also invented the red-light semiconductor laser (used in CD and DVD players) and helped to create the first light dimmer.
Compared to other lighting sources such as Neon or fluorescents, LEDs:
– Are solid state units that are less likely to break.
– Consume less energy.
– Generate less heat.
– Have no hazardous chemicals.
– Can be used to create dynamic displays.
Neon > Up to 25,000 hours (or 2.8 years)
LED > Up to 100,000 hours (or 11.4 years)
What Colours Do LEDs Come In?
– LEDs are available in the full range of primary colours. However, they are not all the same.
– LEDs are commonly available in red, green and blue colours.
– They can be combined to generate white light and a myriad of colours.
– Red is the oldest existing LED and is one of the brightest and cheapest. It is also the most popular colour used.
– There are also modified blue and UV LEDs that produce a high brightness white light commonly used to substitute fluoresecent tubes or incandescent lighting.
Examples of LED Signage:
– Channel-lettering/light boxes
– Building facades
– Large outdoor video screens
– Digital billboards
– Sport/stadium displays
– Small indoor retail displays
– Good displays (restaurants/supermarkets)
– Signs on taxis
– Destination signs on mass-transit vehicles
Plus, in most cases LEDs can be retro-fitted into existing signage to create a more sustainable lighting option for illumination.
In 2010, the worldwide consumption of LED used in signage and professional displays reached $1.52billion (US) and forecasted to reach $2.78billion (US) in 2016.