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Lights, lights, action – LFI showcases LED, lighting industry innovation

Celebrating 25 years of lighting, design and technology innovation will be more than 500 industry leaders who will converge at the Las Vegas Convention Center June 1-5 for Lightfair International 2014.

More than 25,000 design, lighting, architectural, engineering, energy, facility and industry professionals from around the world will be able to peruse the latest and greatest from product-specific manufacturers.

Rob Cohen, vice president of Display Supply & Lighting Inc., shared his company will be among those walking the show and meeting with business partners and vendors who are exhibiting.

“We began selling LED products for the tradeshow industry about 14 years ago,” Cohen said. “We were among the first to be offering color changing LED products to deliver special effects.”

Tradeshow booth lighting began with incandescent lighting – primarily through arm lights. Then came halogen lighting, offering a high level of light output at a relatively low cost to its users.

Along with a greater heat output, however, came a greater danger when misused.

“This led to the development of other illumination sources and the further development of LED products, especially as white light LED lighting developed and came down in cost the past couple of years,” Cohen said.

The importance of proper lighting could be invaluable to a vendor at a tradeshow – and LED’s offer the capability to show true color and texture rendering. Using LED’s to illuminate booths and displays can highlight special effects that attract the attention of attendees, drawing them in to areas that are using a specific plan of lighting.

With a lower heat output, the booth is typically more comfortable for booth staff and visitors when standing directly under a light source. LEDs also appeal to a growing consciousness of consumption and waste as LED’s tend to be more durable, longer lasting and use less electricity.

As LED’s become more popular and available for tradeshow lighting, however, Cohen warns that a reduced cost does not always mean a better deal for the consumer.

“There is a huge range of quality differences among LED’s and LED products,” Cohen said. “With this range of quality come price differences. Getting people to understand this is a long learning process.

“There are a lot of products being introduced into the market that are not being tested and listed to UL standards with either UL, ETL or CSA. Many of these products just have a listed power supply.”

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a safety consulting and certification company that is approved to perform safety testing, validation, inspection, auditing, advising and training services.

Products with these logos have met rigorous standards for electrical safety and electromagnetic emissions. Without these certifications, consumers run the risk of future problems when using unsafe products.

“Too many people are willing to buy just on price and disregard the safety and liability issues that arise from the use of unlisted products,” Cohen added.

According to Cohen, the industry has seen great change over the last two decades and will probably continue to expand as LED technology develops and evolves. LEDs may even become a greater part of consumers’ lives than just lighting.

“If safety matters can be addressed, I see LED’s being integrated into fabrics, carpeting and other materials,” Cohen said. “This will come at a big cost, but will eventually be commercially available.”

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