LED History—our expertise for 45 years
Sharp has decades of experience in LED technology, ranging from component development to complete luminaires
Sharp benefits from a wealth of experience at each stage along the whole LED value chain, ranging from individual components to entire luminaires. As a pioneer of LED technology, Sharp innovated a number of industry firsts since beginning large-scale production in 1972. 2007 saw the innovation of our multi-chip ZENIGATA LED - a development to date, which continues to lead the market.
Sharp first introduced LED luminaires to the Japanese market in 2008, and quickly expanded into the US and European markets in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Our state-of-the-art LED luminaires offer the highest specifications for lighting in industry and retail sectors. In doing so, Sharp maximizes all the advantages LED technology has to offer: A very long service life, high system efficiency, optimal lighting design and visual comfort as well as eco-friendliness.
Sharp Europe launches LED luminaires
Sharp Japan launches LED lamps
Market launch of the Aquos TV series with full LED technology
Sharp Japan launches LED luminaires
ZENIGATA technology (multichip LEDs for luminaires)
World's thinnest LED chip introduced (0.6 mm)
Full colour LED unit launched
Large-scale production of LEDs
Start of LED development
Turn the many benefits of LED lighting to your advantage! LED technology is said to be the most important invention in the history of lighting since Edison invented the incandescent lamp more than 100 years ago. High operating efficiency thanks to constant improvements in system efficiency and service life, flexible design and colour, high eco-friendliness and numerous possibilities for application all make LEDs the lighting tool of today and the future.
Compact LED construction
There are various LED construction types. But all types have one thing in common: The compact design. LED chips with less than 2 mm height enable completely new possibilities for the product design of luminaires and thereby as well for the lighting design. But how is light generated in such a small unit? The structure and functioning of a high-power white LED is explained by reference to Sharp chip-on-board (COB) ZENIGATA technology in the diagram above. A COB LED device consists of a matrix of LED chips connected in series and parallel to one another. To ensure efficient thermal management, the LED chips are installed on a ceramic plate. Each chip contains both a p-doped and an n-doped layer. When voltage is applied, the negatively charged electrons migrate from the n-doped layer towards the p-doped layer, while the positively charged holes migrate in the opposite direction. Recombination of electrons and holes in the active region results in the emission of “blue” photons. As blue photons pass through the phosphor region, some undergo colour conversion to green, yellow and red photons. White light results from the combination of photons across the entire visible spectrum. Depending on the application, light can be directed via the luminaire’s secondary optics (e.g. reflectors, diffusors or lenses).
Due to its high energy efficiency, LED technology conserves natural resources and thereby significantly contributes to the reduction of the carbon footprint. No mercury is used for LEDs and LEDs do not produce UV or infrared radiation. Moreover, LED luminaires attract fewer insects than other lighting technologies.
Optimal lighting design
LEDs have many advantages in lighting design compared to other light sources. White and coloured light can be generated and the correlated colour temperature of white LEDs is variable from warm white to daylight white. Warm white light can, for example, help create a relaxing evening mood, whereas daylight white can increase concentration while simultaneously reducing energy consumption.
In addition to their correlated colour temperature, our LEDs also achieve a high Colour Rendering Index. A high CRI is beneficial e.g. for the natural rendering of surfaces, skin or textiles. Sunlight compasses a colour rendering up to 100%. Currently, Sharp LED chips achieve up to 93 CRI, which is more than most other lighting technologies.
Further advantages of LEDs are their ability to direct light very efficiently and provide their maximum luminous flux immediately after being switched on. High quality LED luminaires can guarantee high visual comfort.
High operating efficiency
The high operating efficiency of Sharp LED Lighting products is a result of high system efficiency (lm/W), long service life and thereby low installation and maintenance costs. Lighting control systems and intelligent integration of lighting technology in spaces promise further possible savings.
Long service life
Sharp LED luminaires have a service life of over 50,000 hours – that adds up to six years of continuous operation or 25 years with 250 8-hour working days. LEDs work for up to 50 times longer than incandescent lamps. This extremely long service life minimizes maintenance costs. LEDs’ high vibration resistance also helps to extend their service life. Conventional lamps service life decreases when frequent switching occurs. Whereas LEDs are perfect for lighting controls: the service life will always be the same, no matter how often they are turned on and off.
High energy efficiency
Compared to other light sources, LED technology is already very efficient and has great potential for further improvement of lighting efficiency (lm/W). Compare the energy conversion of incandescent lamps with that of LEDs and the difference becomes even clearer. With incandescent lamps only 5% of energy is converted to light; with LEDs, this rises up to 40%.
Amortization over time
The comparatively high investment costs of LED luminaires usually amortize over their service life.
Potential for savings
One fifth of all energy generated worldwide is used for artificial light. Replacing conventional lighting products with LED technology using intelligent lighting management can reduce the amount of energy consumed by lighting products by 70%. (www.licht.de, licht.wissen 17)
Improving energy efficiency
A maximum energy saving for your property is achieved by combining three elements:
- Energy-saving LED luminaires
- Motion sensors for the targeted use of light
- Brightness sensors for use of free, natural daylight
If these components are perfectly matched savings of up to 80% can be achieved.
Energy-saving LED luminaires
LED technology is very efficient compared with other light sources, and still has a high potential to further improve its luminous efficiency (lm / W) in the future. The Sharp product range is continuously adapted to suit the latest technical possibilities to ensure maximum energy savings. The full potential of LED lighting is exploited with its product service life of up to 50,000 hours.
A motion sensor detects movement by persons or objects in its vicinity. The use of light can thus be adjusted to the actual lighting needs. As a result, light is only turned on when it is needed for visual tasks. In the industrial sector, this is particularly relevant for warehouses, communication areas, corridors and outdoor lighting. The detection range of the sensor is flexibly adapted to the local situation.
The task of artificial light is to replace natural light if it is restricted or not available. The lighting situation in a room is influenced by the season, time of day and weather. With the help of a brightness sensor, natural and artificial light can be combined for optimum illumination. When there is sufficient daylight, the lights are dimmed to a minimum light intensity or turned off. The sensors are mounted depending on the onsite situation indoors or outdoors.
The lighting conditions may be adapted by switching on or dimming luminaires. For dimmable luminaires Sharp usually uses DALI ballasts. DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) is a manufacturer-independent interface standard for dimmable electronic ballasts. Via a two-wire control cable, the DALI devices can be controlled individually or together in flexible groups. Using the DALI protocol each luminaire can be controlled within the individual lighting solution. The system is operated, for example, via an LCD touch panel.
Reducing the CO2 footprint
During operation, luminaires consume the main proportion of CO2. If energy consumption is reduced, the CO2 footprint is decreased and, with it, the environmental impact of your economic activities. Our lighting solutions help you to optimize the overall energy efficiency of your building and thus the qualification for green building labels. As a verified sustainable company, you also benefit from the positive effects on your image.
Good lighting can increase your company's productivity. The quality of illumination is dependent on several factors.
Optimal light intensity
Lighting intensity has a great impact on how safely and reliably, quickly and easily visual tasks can be performed. Studies have shown that a higher light intensity improves the performance of work tasks and reduces the number of accidents at work.
The minimum lighting levels for work tasks are defined by the European standard DIN EN 12464-1. Minimum lux values are defined for the workplace based on the complexity of the visual task. The requirements vary between 50 lux and 2000 lux depending on the job in the industry. 50 lux is needed for production facilities without manual intervention, 300 lux for general machine work and 750-1500 lux for demanding handicraft activities or inspection work. However, the light requirement for a specific task is not always the same. This depends for example on the age of the employee and the time of the day. To achieve the same impression of brightness, a 60-year-old needs twice as much illumination as a 20-year-old. These requirements may, for example, be met with individually switchable light. The time of day is particularly relevant for night shift workers. By increasing illumination levels, the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and thus fatigue can be prevented. Currently 1,000 lux is recommended for night shifts.
Direct and reflected glare reduces visual performance and decreases visual comfort. Direct glare can come from natural light (light coming in through windows) or artificial light. In contrast reflective glare is caused by reflections on shiny surfaces. Direct glare is assessed by the UGR method (Unified Glare Rating). Minimum values for anti-glare are defined in standards. The smaller the value, the lower the glare.
Examples of upper UGR limits:
≤ 16 Technical drawing
≤ 19 Reading, writing, classrooms, computer work, inspection work
≤ 22 Working in industry and trade, reception
≤ 25 Rough work, stairs
≤ 28 Corridors
Matching colour rendering
The colour rendering index specifies to what extent the lighting solution is able to reproduce the colour of objects for the human eye in comparison to natural light. Ra = 100 is the best value. For most jobs in industry, a value of Ra > 80 is specified. A higher value of Ra > 90 is necessary, for example, for employees who perform colour controls.
Harmonious brightness distribution
Visual performance and visual comfort also depend on the distribution of brightness in the room, and thus the luminous density. The reflectance of surfaces and the illumination on them determine the luminous density. Luminous density is measured in candelas per unit area (cd / m²). An optimal brightness distribution is therefore influenced not only by the choice and position of luminaires, but also by the materials and colours of the interior. Low luminous density levels and a lack of differences in luminous density affect visual comfort, because they create an unattractive and uninspiring light atmosphere. Excessively high light density differences can lead to fatigue, since the eye has constantly to adapt to changing conditions. Contrasts which are too high can be caused by excessively high luminous density in some areas.
Suitable colour temperature
The colour temperature of a luminaire describes the intrinsic colour of the emitted light. Values below 3,300 Kelvin refer to warm white light, values of 3,300-5,300 Kelvin to neutral white light and values of more than 5,300 Kelvin to daylight white light. For industrial applications, usually neutral white light of about 4,000 Kelvin is used. A direct link exists between the performance of a human and the luminous colour. Lower values have a relaxing effect and higher values an activating effect on the human body. A study by the Lighting Research Centre in the U.S. sponsored by Sharp proves this correlation. A pleasant visual environment can be created with the right colour temperature, optimum light distribution and the avoidance of excessive contrasts.
Optimal lighting can thus improve visual performance and visual comfort and create a pleasant visual atmosphere. In this way, employees can work in a more focused way, feel comfortable in the workplace, improve their performance and thereby increase the productivity of the company.
Luminous Playground—Our passion for lighting
Experience the qualities of light with us! Light is one of the most fascinating phenomena for human beings. It enables us to see, it regulates the daily rhythm and influences mood, wellbeing, performance and activity. However, the light sensation is not equal in all cultures; it is affected geographically and sociologically. But light is not only an important element for the human being. In nature light is, next to the availability of water, the most important eco-factor for photosynthesis. And therefore delivers the base for the creation of oxygen. For Sharp, lighting is an exciting field for experimentation. In our stories you will understand and experience further our passion for light:
Strawberry Farming in Dubai
Japanese strawberries are popular in the Middle East. But because strawberries are perishable and quick to spoil, distributing them overseas is always difficult. Why not produce directly in Dubai? In 2013 Sharp started the first lab tests.
In the Sharp laboratory, strawberries are cultivated in a sealed environment under artificial light. The growth environment is precisely controlled using Sharp electronic technologies: LED luminaires that enable controlled lighting, Sharp Plasmacluster technology for managing air quality and sensors for monitoring room temperature and humidity. This enables Sharp to collect data on strawberry cultivation techniques and use that data to achieve stable production of high-quality strawberries.
If it is possible to cultivate the species of strawberries that are difficult to grow, the technology could also be used for other fruits and vegetables.
Light and Performance in School
Sharp works in partnership with the Lighting Research Centre in the USA. The LRC is the world's leading centre for lighting research. The “Light and Health programme” of the institute strives to better understand how the retina converts light signals into neural signals to the brain and how lighting can be used to promote health and well-being of those suffering from disorders of their sleep-wake cycle.
One study funded by Sharp Laboratories of America involved finding the optimal lighting conditions for sleep-deprived adolescents in school.
It is known that a high cortisol awakening response (CAR) is associated with a better alertness for stressful and challenging activities. The study was the first to show that short-wavelength blue light enhances CAR in adolescents, suppresses production of nocturnal melanin and phase shifts the timing of the biological clock.
Luminaire Concepts from Italy
To inspire innovation and to get new ideas Sharp works together with different universities. In 2013 a design contest for indoor luminaires was set up together with the POLI.design, Consorzio del Politecnico di Milano.
Students 1st Prize: LightUP Linda Brownman
LightUP can be used as a versatile lighting system for different domestic environments and at any time of the day or night.
The light source can be adapted manually to reach the optimal intensity of light. Only the LEDs which are outside of the housing are activated and thereby energy saving can be achieved at the same time.
Due to this the luminaire can be adapted for various situations e.g. for dinner, reading, or as a night light for children.
Students 2nd Prize: Roberto Strano
This project merges myth and science. The moon has always deeply inspired human beings and is symbolically represented in the product design. The product consists of a basic unit containing the light source and a plate made mobile by means of a telescopic anchor system, which allows the rotation, horizontal and vertical. Each unit is equipped with a solar panel, rechargeable batteries and a magnetic area. By this the connection of two units in such a way to obtain a double sided lighting apparatus or the anchoring of each unit to any metal surface is possible.
The touch control allows for varying the light intensity, the colour effects and programmes of chromotherapy.
Professionals 1st Prize: Skylight Luminator - Francesco Murano, Luca Salas, Silvia Giuliano
The project develops the design of a large dome capable of creating a constellation of radial lights. The luminaire should not only create light, but also promote well-being.
The project incorporates different concepts belonging to the culture of lighting, both architecture and design. Through a management system that changes brightness, colour and temperature of the light source, the luminaire integrates perfectly within the specific environment.
Professionals 2nd Prize: Lucio - Federico Maria Elli, Marco Febbo, Stefano Filipuzzi, Andrea Fiorito
Lucio is a mobile LED lighting system, designed for emotional interaction with the user. A small robot was equipped with an LED unit from Sharp and mechanical and optoelectronic technologies.
Thanks to its built-in microphone Lucio can recognize his user’s call. Through an optical system the robot is able to locate and follow a person inside his domestic environment, accompanying his steps with a diffused, comfortable light to his destination.