Backed by the government’s favourable attitude, the drivers’ intelligence has been becoming inevitable for the Indian lighting system that too in such a way as if there’s no tomorrow.
Driver as the term speaks is meant to drive something, in this case, current. Being one of the major components in the LED lighting setup, it keeps the current constant so that the LEDs attached to it, remain illuminated. Any discrepancy or mishandling in components’ selection, their placement on PCB, and design development of a driver, certainly leads to a definite deterioration in the current passing through it, and hence, badly impacts the illumination of LEDs. In short, life of an LED lighting fixture depends mostly on driver.
State of Indian LED Lighting Industry
In a report titled “India LED Lighting Market Outlook to 2019 – Next Wave of Growth Driven by Government Initiatives” the researchers have come to the conclusion that the LED market has emerged as one of the fastest growing industries in India driven majorly by factors such as falling prices of LED lights, increasing initiatives taken by the government and rising concerns with respect to energy conservation.
LED market in India, which is hugely driven by government initiatives since 2014, displayed a CAGR of 56.1% over the past 5 years. The market has evolved over the years, with major growth contributions from South and North India. However, low awareness with respect to LED lights continues to deter consumers from using LED lights.
The major players in the Indian LED industry are Philips, Osram, Bajaj, Havells and Syska LED lights among others. Philips held the largest share in terms of revenue generated in the year 2014, followed by Havells and Syska LED lights respectively, when it comes to the largest contributors to the revenue generated from LED segment.
No wonder the government is also playing an important role in increasing LED penetration in the country with new initiatives such as Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP) and Street Lights National Programme (SLNP). Following which, there spurt a number of facilities for manufacturing and assembling LED lights in India over the past few years. The country has also witnessed increasing number of LED exhibitions ever since the advent of LED lights.
However, despite all these developments, the LED market is at a nascent stage in India, primarily due to low awareness regarding the benefits of LED lights in the country. India has immense potential in the LED industry which is evident from the fact that the market has displayed a CAGR of 56.1%. According to ELCOMA, the Indian LED lighting market is expected to grow to Rs. 27,000 crore by 2020, largely backed by huge consumption volumes on part of the government sector.
With these ground realities, we, at LED World, tried exploring about drivers one of the essential components of LED lamps or luminaries. Without the proper driver, the LED may become too hot and unstable, therefore causing poor performance or failure. To know, how these invisible lifelines of the ever brightening LED lighting are fairing in the market, we as usual contacted quite a few driver suppliers – both Indian and Overseas, but couldn’t receive responses from all of them. We finally ended up with quite detailed responses from four players namely, Mean Well, Helvar, OEM Systems and Taurus.
OEM Systems Group – BAG Electronics (India) Pvt. Ltd.
According to the Group’s philosophy, the future of products for excellent light started in 1909, which since 2016 is bundled more with two renowned brands, BAG and ZALUX – and one strong partner, OEM Systems Group for the global lighting industry. The Group continues bringing together the expertise of the two renowned brands, with an extensive product portfolio and pioneering technology.
As a system partner, the OEM Systems Group offers attractive value-added and customised lighting solutions for intelligent lighting solutions. The Group is unifying the depth of experience and knowledge from many decades to support the global lighting industry even more efficiently and comprehensively. To know more on the developments in India, we at LED World met with Manoj Joshi, General Manager – Marketing & Sales, OEM Systems Group – BAG Electronics (India) Pvt. Ltd. Here’s what he shared with us:
“The reliability and performance of LED Drivers depends on three things, design of the driver, manufacturing process and quality of components used. In case, even one factor is not in sync with the other, the driver performance affects adversely. It also depends on field conditions such as input surge and over voltage etc.,” says Joshi.
He further adds that in most of the cases, there is a floating neutral because of which, voltage fluctuation between phases to neutral goes beyond 350V to 380V. Therefore, while designing drivers, this aspect needs to be considered before developing and designing the product for such abnormalities.
“The company’s 3rd generation product is developed with over voltage sustaining capacity with the highest ever abnormality of 440V and 4KV surge protection to face this reality. These products are with low ripple (flicker free) and low THD, less than 10%.”
Flexibility in Designs
“Due to flexibility in designs, there is demand of non-standard output currents such as 250mA, 400mA, 600mA, 800mA, etc. Thanks to our common module topology where with change in single resistor we can change the output current to desired value. Also, we design and develop drivers with different form factors such as: square, linear and linear slim shape of housings in plastic and metal, with and without strain relief,” he says.
“With our dip switch products, 4 types of currents can be adjusted in single driver. This gives flexibility to change the current at the site and adjust the lumen output desired by the end user. For a typical installation if end user needs lux level of say 300 and with current setting of 700mA it is 250 lux then but increasing the current to 800mA by setting the switch position, the desired lux can be achieved.”
“The most important products that we have launched are analogue and DALI dimmable drivers. These are ‘Made In India’, which are designed, developed & manufactured in our Pune factory. We feel proud to say that all our DALI drivers are with DALI Logo that we can print on our drivers. To get the permission for printing of DALI logo there are 102 types of tests to be performed.”
Benefits of Local Presence
“Our local presence with manufacturing, developments, sourcing, etc., all under one roof, we are able to support the clients immediately and in various different ways.”
Prospects for Dimmable
“Requirement of dimmable drivers is increasing with time. In 2017, we sold more than 35,000 dimmable drivers in India. In 2018, we expect to sell around 75,000 to 80,000 units, meant mainly for indoor applications. For outdoor applications, we can provide drivers with moisture protection and external surge protection.”
“In the recently concluded Mumbai edition of LED Expo 2018, we demonstrated our capability of smart solutions for:
- HCL (Human Centric Lighting) using tuneable white modules, 2-channel intelligent driver and smart controller.
- Smart Street poles with IoT-based controller and analogue dimmable driver for streetlights. Various functionalities are possible, like On-Off, dimming during off peak period, data measurement etc.
- Centralised driver for PoE lighting. This driver is with 24 ports with capacity of 50W per port making a cumulative capacity of 1250W. It is also possible to connect 2 fixtures of 20W/25W in one port. Since this is centralised system, LED fixture will not have LED driver inside, but CAT-6 cable and Rj45 connectors. Various functionalities are possible such as On-Off, individual dimming, grouping, power measurement, compatibility to connect to BMS etc.
“Our main client base comprises luminaire manufacturers. But we are also specified as driver supplier in various projects in professional lighting segments such as office, shop/retails, industry, hospitality etc. with various renowned end-users.”
Helvar India – The Finnish Technology Power
The Finnish company boasts of its more than 97 years old standing with two business verticals – drivers and controls – headquartered in London and Finland respectively. “Globally, these verticals are separately operated, but in India both the verticals are taken care by its Indian subsidiary, Helvar India,” informs Swapnil Karne, Manager – Product & Sales Support, Helvar India.
India – An Inviting Turf
According to Karne, LED market is doing well. “India has already seen the change from conventional to fluorescent and then to LEDs. Until now, the market here is flooded with standard LEDs. But keeping in view the rapidly changing lighting indices, we would soon witness a shift from standard LEDs to smart LEDs where dimming and wireless technology will be common,” he says.
Helvar is a leading manufacturer of tuneable white LED Solutions featuring its intelligent iC Range, complying with the latest DALI colour control standard. The most recent innovation to compliment the iC Range is its Light Over Time lighting profile creation & implementation tool. “The aim is to balance the artificial lighting in our daily environment and provide a more natural lighting cycle to aid people’s well being,” he elaborates.
Changing Face of Technology
“As far as dimming is concerned, there are different options available. Before LEDs, people were using 1 to 10V as dimming options, but with continuous advancement in technology, DALI has become the centre of attention for all the major lighting players across the globe. In Europe, 1 to 10V dimming has already been phased out. Sooner than the latter, the same will be replicated in India where 1 to 10V dimming would be phased out, and DALI will take over,” he anticipates.
DALI -Digital Addressable Lighting Interface, as the name suggests, is completely digital. “Earlier, it was a part of electrical drivers, now it’s all electronics. This is because we are adding more intelligence in to it. Now we have smart solutions like Active Plus wherein we have integrated sensor with the driver itself in such a way that it will sense someone’s presence or absence as well as the availability of daylight. Based on the data, drivers will eventually take the decision as how much light output is required,” Karne explains.
He strongly feels that this kind of smart solution is picking up now. “In the future, the drivers will become so intelligent that there won’t be any separate control. Users can be able to operate directly with the help of smart phone by communicating with any luminaire, which will be allotted own ID address similar to what we have in our computer system,” he says.
PoE – Power on Ethernet
Speaking on the PoE (Power on Ethernet) technology, he opines that it will take some time to penetrate in the market. Also, PoE comes with certain limitations when it comes to driving power as only low wattage (up to a max. of 50W) luminaires can be operated.
Prospects in India
On the prospects for Helvar in India, Karne says, “We are growing and the market is really very good. Helver though is present in India from last 15 years, but there wasn’t any direct representative till three years back when we got associated with it, taking the brand across the country. This has brought us some level of benefits as people have started recognising the brand and have shown faith in us. With all this, we are very aggressive for Indian market now.”
For now, the company is dealing with renowned brands like Havells, Wipro, Philips, XAL Lighting Technologies, etc. “We keep ourselves at a premium level and are away from mass marketing. We don’t want everything, but selective markets which are meant for us. We offer high quality, reliability, and services which are affordable only to key customers and not to everyone on the board. We want to keep focusing on that market with our quality products and reliable services. The testimony of the fact is that in the last three years, we have received less than 1% complaint, which is negligible,” informs Karne.
In India, the company is present through distributors in all major cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kochi, etc. “We want to further expand the network. As far as, feeding the market is concerned, we maintain stock to meet the demand for up to 300 pcs at one point in time. For bigger order, we ask for sometime as the drivers are then imported from Finland which takes 2-3 weeks for delivery.”
On Setting up a Facility in India
“We don’t have any plan for setting up our manufacturing here yet. We really need to put our steps very carefully without adding any further overheads. We want to run our business in profitable manner. Those having their manufacturing, they have their focus to cater to all the segments, while we want to focus mainly on the premium segments, which constitute 20% of the market,” says Karne.
Serving Premium Segment
Karne insists on sticking to premium. “Despite being in a price-sensitive market place, we have customers who really want quality to be served with. Drivers are like brain of the lighting system and if the brain is faulty, the whole system would be faulty. This restricts our loyal customers to take any risk and opt for any other supplier at least in the given price brackets. In order to cover up wider base of the market, the lighting companies offer products for almost all the segments wherein for premium, they use Helvar drivers.”
“We have products for linear and downlights. Linear drivers do not go much in to the residential but in commercial projects where we have our focus on where the need is of long lasting products, while the drivers for downlights have strong presence in residential,” he adds.
Future is DALI
Karne strongly feels that DALI is very much in the tune. The Finnish technology giant works on the principle of maximized wellbeing and efficiency where optimal lighting should be delivered at the right place and at the right time. To precisely control and design the lighting environment the need is to be able to freely adjust colour temperatures and illuminations. Helvar’s networked lighting management solution with iC is a highly advanced and flexible solution that allows designing a lighting environment exactly as the user likes it.
Adding more on the iC networked solution, Karne shares that it is based on Helvar’s well-known lighting management solution with Routers and Designer Software. The future-proof and scalable solutions are now fully compatible with the DALI colour control standard. With the Designer iC, it is easy to pick the right colour for each luminaire within the lighting network. This makes the commissioning of the system much faster.
He avers that Helvar continuously works on adding new functionalities and control options. Lately the colour control support was added to uSee – an easy to use web-based visualisation tool used to monitor and control Helvar’s router-based systems. Helvar’s range of user interfaces, including buttons sliders and rotary controls now provide advanced colour control functionality.
Mean Well – Boasts on The Taiwanese Technology
Founded in 1982, Mean Well (MW) is one of few manufacturers dedicated to standard power supply in the world of lighting. As per the company, it is ranked the 5th in global power supply (DC output) makers according to a report by Micro Technology Consultant released in March 2017. Differing from the first four manufacturers’ ODM/OEM oriented business model, almost 99% sales turnovers to Mean Well comes from standard power supply products sold under the own brand name.
Presence in India
“In India, we are present since long. Over the years, we garnered a very loyal clientele here for our standard drivers/power supply products especially for LED lighting segment. Though we are at a higher side of the market, but quality and reliability comes at a price. We try maintaining our quality and keeping up with promises that we make with our customers. In power supply industry, reliability is a big issue, for which we are known the world over. The failure rate at MW is 40 pcs per million. This speaks of reliability quotient. We know that driver is the heart of any LED system and a lot depends on it,” says Rajesh Choraria of Sterling Sign Systems, a company that represents Mean Well in India.
Targeting Premium Segment
According to him, in spite of such a long standing in the market, the revenue contribution from India is still less than 1% with major (40%) being from China followed by Europe (25%).“Almost 50% of total products go in LED and lighting. We are global master in constant current with products which are very stable in dimming voltage,” says Choraria adding that with all this MW’s penetration is little less than expected. “In some sectors, we are very good while in some, we are lacking. One of the major sectors where we need to work hard is street lighting. We foresee a very bright future for us as the thrust is now on streetlights with dimming option, which was not there in the discussion in the last two years,” he adds.
Global Market Expanse
Speaking on the expansion in the market, Charoria shares that MW has been working with customers, suppliers, contractors, and employees with long lasting mutual trust based on the spirit of good intention and orientation of a reliable partner. He further avers that the company boasts of its robust trade network of 200 strong authorised distributors around the world, which helped the brand growing and getting stronger during the last three decades.
With 3200 employees located at its global headquarters in New Taipei Industrial Park, Taiwan, branches and sales offices at Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Suzhou in China, California USA, and Netherlands in the EU, four advanced production bases in New Taipei City (Taiwan) and Tianhe District and Huadu District in Guangzhou, Suzhou City in China, it generates a combined revenue of USD 927 million (TWD 27.8 billion) in 2017.
Frequency of New Products
“When it comes to introducing new products, upholding the enterprise spirit of rooted technology, MW has been adding 10% new devices into its product lines each year. It is now offering complete power supply solutions in range of 0.5W~24,000W at different grades to meet application requirements of individual industries including: AC/DC power supply, LED driver, AC/DC battery chargers, DC/DC converters and DC/AC inverter,” he informs, adding that there are quite a few products that the company has introduced in the last couple of months. “A few of the new launches from MW, are awaiting the mandatory BIS certifications after which the products would be rolled on in Indian market as well.”
MW has recently introduced a number of LED drivers. For the LED driver product line, wide AC voltage input range (180 ~ 528VAC) HVGC family, Mean Well has launched HVGC-650 series to offer more choices of high power products. HVGC-650 series can operate with single phase input or one phase distributed from three phase input, which is a great advantage to industrial environment lighting or horticultural lighting application. Furthermore, HVGC-650 series adopts constant power mode design and reaching high efficiency up to 95.5%. Others include high surge protection withstanding 8kV(L/N-FG)/ 4KV(L-N), wide working temperature range (-40℃~90℃), and auxiliary power 12v @200 mA(optional) for dimming with 3 in 1 or DALI control to achieve IoT control.
Another addition is the extension of its constant power output LED Driver~ LDC-35/55/80(35W/55W/80W) with 3-in-1 dimming function and design, MW has unveiled LDC-35DA/55DA/80DA (35W/55W/80W), the ones with DALI control technology to satisfy the application needs of LED Troffer/Trunking and Linear lighting market.LDC-35DA/55DA/80 DA series adopts the linear design, which makes them suitable for slim lighting fixtures. Furthermore, LDC series is equipped with complete dimming function: DALI control technology, 0~100% dimming design and push dimming function. Users can choose different function according to their demands. DALI type models still have the design of full load current setting by adding resistance and the NTC temperature compensation function to ensure correct usage and extend lifetime.
Going forward, to meet the demands of economical floodlighting market, Mean Well launched FDLC-80 series, which it extends with FDLC-100 series. This series adopts constant power mode design with input range: 180 ~ 295VAC and the output range: 1300~3000mA. All models are potted with IP67 level. FDLC-100 is complied with international LED safety regulations: EN55015; EN61347; EN61000 -3-2,3; GB17743.GB17625.1, and so on. FDLC-100 series is a solution for your indoor and outdoor lighting applications! Featuring no load power consumption <0.5W, built-in active PFC function，PF≧0.9; working temperature: -30~+90℃, Protections: short circuit/over temperature, the series is ENEC/CCC/CB/CE/EAC certificated with 3 years warranty.
Zhuhai Tauras – Ready to Market Its Drivers in India
Located in Zhuhai, a beautiful town on the south coast of China, Zhuhai Tauras Technology Co. Ltd. was incorporated in 1998, previously under the name of Zhuhai Nanyuxing Electronics Co. Ltd. The company specialises in waterproof LED driver development and manufacturing. After registering a rather fast growth for more than a decade, the company has become a high-tech enterprise with its own R&D, manufacturing, sales and services. “The global distribution network has been in operation which covers Europe, North and South America, Australia and East Asia. Slowly but steadily, Tauras is becoming a very popular brand name in the industry,” says Jimmy Zhu, the company’s Vice General Manger.
He informs that the company has been awarded with ISO9001-2008, and its products are and certified with CCC, CE, CB, TUV, EMC, GS, UL, CUL, FCC, ETL, SAA, BIS, IP66, IP67, ROHS, and ATEX. Zhu insists that right from the knowhow, research & development to structure design & validation to material selection to quality testing to trial and batch production -all our products undergo a series of standard and rigorous control & testing procedures in order to assure the quality for each and every piece.
According to him, upon the 20 years’ development, Zhuhai Tauras rises abruptly based on its accumulated strength, and grew steadily to become an enterprise. “With the passage of time and experiences earned over the years, our R&D capacity has become stronger, production capacity has grown up multi-fold, sales channel has also developed steadily, and technical service has gradually improved,” he avers.
“The core value of our company is to remain customer-focused and quality-oriented and our business motto is to win hearts. We are ready to provide you with our most advanced and state-of-the art products and best services,” says Zhu adding that the company strictly follows the concept of taking customer value and social responsibility as its foremost duty, grows healthily and strongly.
We are the manufacturer of Drivers since 1998. We have our customers in Europe and America since last 15 years, but in India, we are a fresh entry. We are looking for distributors here to support our marketing. For now, we do not have any long-term plan as initially we want to create a space for us then we can think of exploring the opportunities here to cater to the big projects.
We are exploring business opportunities in the Indian lighting industry for our LED drivers. The market is huge and so are the requirements. Typical weather condition has not let it free to supply standard drivers as they may fail. So, for India, we need to develop fresh batch and should be made keeping in view the extremely varied climatic conditions. The competition is also very strong. We are planning to develop a new series especially for India.
When it comes to trade terms, like all the Chinese manufacturers, Zhu wants 30% of the payment in advance at the time of placing order, while rest must be cleared before or at the time of dispatch/delivery to avoid any payment hiccups. While he is still vying for a representative or an agent to start with, he keeps his options open to supply directly to the customers without getting in to the groove of channel partner.
Explaining about the drivers, he adds, “Our drivers have been made for varied power wattage ranging from 10W to 300W, delivering output currents in the range of 300mAto 3000mA. Featuring >0.95 power factor, these drivers are made to withstand two level of surge protections 2KV and 4KV depending upon the power wattage.”
Zhuhai Tauras shall keep innovating and continue to research keeping a close watch on the next wave of developments. “It’s the beginning of smart lighting. We are developing dimmable drivers which we will bring to India by next year. We do have smart drivers but not in bulk as these are manufactured as per the demand of smart lighting,” says Zhu.
It’s pretty imperative that the smart lighting is the future of illumination in India where renowned technology players especially drivers manufacturers from across the globe are making inroad and are trying to grab as much out of the India’s large LED market demand potential as they can.
Moreover, growing specialisation in the local LED lighting industry, followed by strong government initiatives like DLNP, SLNP and smart cities, the urge for smarter lighting proposition has gravitated towards the high-end LED products.
As a matter of fact, the Indian LED technology capacity is still at the LED packaging stage, and relies heavily on import-based LED components, while the country’s LED lighting industry is strategising smart future.
What is LED Driver?
As we know an LED driver is an electrical device which regulates the power to an LED or a string (or strings) of LEDs. An LED driver responds to the changing needs of the LED, or LED circuit, by providing a constant quantity of power to the LED as its electrical properties change with temperature. An LED driver is a self-contained power supply which has outputs that are matched to the electrical characteristics of the LED or LEDs.
LED drivers may offer dimming by means of pulse width modulation circuits and may have more than one channel for separate control of different LEDs or LED arrays. LED chips require controlled direct current (DC) electrical power and an appropriate circuit as an LED driver is required to convert the alternating current from the power supply to the regulated voltage direct current used by the LEDs.
A good LED driver can guarantee a long life for an LED system and provide additional features such as dimming and control. The LED drivers can be put inside lamp or luminaire, which is called a built-in type, or be put outside, which is called an independent type. Depending on applications, different types of LED drivers need to be applied, for example an outdoor driver for street light, an indoor point driver for a down light, and an indoor linear driver for a panel light.
Types & Sizes of LED Drivers
There are several different kinds of LED drivers. The most common types are categorised by output current per channel, supply voltage, output voltage, maximum switching frequency and packaging type. The most common sizes for supply voltage are 2.3 to 5.5 V, 2.7 to 5.5 V and 3 to 5.5 V. There are LED drivers with supply voltage up to 630 V. The output current per channel can be between 250 µA and 50 A, with the most common chips having an output current per channel of 20 mA, 25 mA and 100 mA.