I don’t think we could say that induction lighting is dead, but I think it is time the lamp should return back to the place where it should to be.
SHANGHAI January 13, 2018
This is the first official confirmation on the entire close of the Shanghai Hongyuan Lighting Company, but it was not only hearsay the company had stopped manufacturing since 2016.
Shanghai Hongyuan Lighting Company was the first company to pursue induction lighting technology and had the world’s largest induction lighting production base in Shanghai, China. In 2011, Shanghai Hongyuan Lighting Company won its 6-year lawsuit of induction lighting patents with the global giant Osram.
Induction lighting was first designed by Tesla and being called No Dead Lights because the lack of electrodes means it can have a lifespan of up to 100,000 hours. Induction lighting was prized for being China’s only core technology in the field of energy saving lighting, competing with LED Lighting, which is typically considered a Western owned technology.
However, with the fast development of LED lighting, Shanghai Hongyuan Lighting Company and its induction lighting which was incredibly popular a mere several years ago, gradually lost share in the market.
“I think the decay of induction lighting is relative, in fact it was always more of a transitional product. It was a great lighting product when LED was a baby,” Joe Sullivan, Certified Lighting Specialist at the American Lighting Association, holds the believe that the decay of induction lighting is down to LED Lighting, which has undergone geometrical improvements in line with Moore’s Law over the past 5 to 10 years.
“For example, 5 years ago, a 200W induction high bay light cost USD150 while the 150W LED High Bay stood at USD200 at least. But now, the 150W LED high bay has a lower price than the 200W Induction one.”
In the past 5 years, LED’s efficiency has risen from 60lm/w to 120lm/w, while in the same period, there have been no efficiency improvements in induction lighting, which has remained stable at about 80lm/w.
Shiping Liu, an expert from the China Lighting Association, looked back at the history of induction lighting.
“In the last ten years, 99% of the world’s induction lighting was imported from China. From 2005-2011 it was the infancy stage characterized by undeveloped technology, especially the ballast for the lamp, which was unsteady. Since 2012, the technology and production skills of induction lighting have been developing, however, it would seem that the chance to compete with LED has already come and gone. Therefore, we have seen many manufacturers close their induction lighting production or change over to LED production completely.”
“Now, there are no more than 10 genuine factories still producing induction bulbs and ballasts for induction lamps, although we don’t include many assembly suppliers in this figure.”
The expert Liu believed the reputation of induction lighting was destroyed in its glory days: “A lot of fake and low-quality products from unprofessional suppliers flooded the market, especially in 2005-2011. A lot of suppliers used ordinary tri-phosphor powder even halogen powder instead of induction lighting powder which caused very high deterioration in brightness. Some fake key components like electrolytic capacitor and IC chips also made the ballasts’ failure rate as high as 50%.”
There were serious quality problems with induction lamp before 2012 for both big and small suppliers. However, technological development resulted in qualified induction lighting factories being available to limit the failure rate to within 1% after 2012.
“I think the age of induction lamps has passed. It didn’t seize its opportunity, and now it is dead,” said Mr.Liu.
However, American lighting specialist Joe Sullivan from the American Lighting Association does not agree with Liu’s point.
“I don’t think we could say that induction lighting is dead, but I think it is time the lamp should return back to the place where it should to be. For instance, the induction lighting should say goodbye to household applications which require small sized and elegant fixtures, but in warehouse and factories induction lighting still preserves a significant share of the market, especially for high bay lights and explosion proof lights. The market for induction lighting will not be as big as LED, but no light fully dies, not even traditional fluorescent lights and mercury lamps.”
Today, the worldwide production of induction lighting is still 100% based in China. According to a reliable Chinese custom source, the 3 main suppliers occupied 90% of induction lighting’s exporting share in the Q1-Q3, 2017.
However, the 3 manufacturers all come from global capital backgrounds: Fujian Juan Kuang Yaming Electric Limited (Brand JKLIGHTING) has American capital which aiming at the American market and Chinese local market, Taizhou Lumen Lighting Co., Ltd (Brand TZLIGHT) has British capital which having a high market share in Europe and the Middle East, ELX Lighting Technology Co., Ltd (Brand ELXLIGHTING) has Japanese capital that having captured the biggest market share in Japan and East Asia. China Light is no longer Chinese.
According to the Chinese Customs report, the 2017 level of induction lighting exports is still low but showing signs of weak growth. The high-quality induction lamps and the dominating share that controlled by qualified suppliers may engender recovery in the market.
The good news is that more new applications for induction lighting have been found, such as growing plants lighting for which induction lighting is capable of providing the right color of light needed for plants to grow.
Induction lighting should not rely on its long history and famous inventor, instead it should pursue a path of upgrades and growth in the new applications and diversity of lighting fixtures for induction lighting. Otherwise, it will not only lose out to other lighting sources but also become a mere footnote in the annuls of history.
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