I. Popularity of LED lamps
1. Competition between luminaire manufacturers
a. Lighting manufacturers in Belarus
b. Struggle for sales markets
c. Marketing for lighting manufacturers
2. Development of LED luminaires
II. Production of LED lamps
1. Luminaire components
a. LEDs, LED bars and modules
b. Drivers and power supplies
c. Luminaire bodies
2. Lighting technology
a. Assembly steps
b. Employees in production
c. Luminaire production certification
Popularity of LED lamps
The production of LED lamps is a popular business today. This is due to the fact that the products have a lot of advantages over their counterparts. Previously, everyone used incandescent lamps, then low-pressure gas-discharge lamps, or fluorescent ones, appeared. There was a time when they were considered the most efficient light source. Thanks to this, they spread throughout the world and today they are used in schools and hospitals. Fluorescent lamps have a big drawback.
Each flask contains gaseous mercury, so if the flask is damaged, there is a risk of vapor poisoning. For the disposal of lamps in buildings, collection points are organized and then they are transferred to the Ministry of Emergencies. Mercury is also found in small amounts in high pressure discharge lamps. This group includes DRL, DNaT, MGL, which have a similar efficiency, but much more power. It is due to the high power of high pressure lamps that they are often used in industrial premises.
Competition between luminaire manufacturers
Gas discharge light sources have ceased to be the most energy efficient over time, and LED lighting has taken the lead. The growth of the industry began in 2007, when the enterprises LEDEL, Ferex, Lighting Technologies began to operate. They initially planned their activities as manufacturers of LED lamps, so they developed only in this direction. Belarus has always lagged behind Russia in everything, including in the lighting industry.
That is why local enterprises at this time made lamps with incandescent and fluorescent lamps. It was a saturated but stable market where they made good money. It is safe to say that 2007 was a turning point in their development. From that moment, the degradation of those enterprises began that could not rebuild their lines for the production of LED lamps. Among all the main Belarusian enterprises, these can be distinguished:
- GVA lighting (now SVS lighting)
- Lidsky Zavod Elektroizdeliy
- ledz lighting (previously ledz)
- Kupavna Bel LED
- Mogilevskiy Svetotehnicheskiy Zavod
Lighting manufacturers in Belarus
The very first large luminaire manufacturer in Belarus can be considered the company Elektret. It very successfully started its business manufacturing ballasts and electronic ballasts for fluorescent lamps since 1994. Engineers developed inexpensive linear luminaires, they have become very popular due to their low price. Most schools and kindergartens in Belarus are illuminated by Electret lamps. Take a closer look, and if you see a flashlight on the body (aka light sensor), then this is their product.
Today, Belarusian lamps Belintegra can rightfully be considered the leader in terms of total sales. Initially, they produced switchboard equipment, cabinets, hatches and similar products from painted sheet metal. There are various legends about the market, and according to one of them, Belintegra began to produce lamps after a lighting exhibition in Germany. Inspired by the products of Zumtobel and the success of the Belarusian Electret, they have developed their own line of lighting.
Struggle for sales markets
Seeing the prospects for the growing market in Belarus, new enterprises with local and foreign capital began to open. GVA lighting was incorporated in 1997 and with Canadian capital and technology quickly gained market share. The Lida Electrical Plant is in fact the successor to the Soviet enterprise, in which lighting is only part of the product list. SvyazInvest produces expensive industrial and outdoor lighting fixtures with automation and control.
Kupavna Bel Led concentrated its efforts on the segments of lighting for poultry farms and industrial premises. The Mogilev Lighting Plant produces office luminaires from sheet metal, and Izmet, together with office ones, also produces industrial models. LedBel buys ready-to-assemble components or completely finished products from China. The remaining enterprises from the AlfaViva and Belelectrotechpribor list appeared on the market after 2018 and are still quite young to talk about them.
Marketing for lighting manufacturers
Various companies use basic marketing principles to promote themselves in the market. The oldest enterprises traditionally participate in exhibitions and seminars, showing all the same products for several years in a row. Younger and more active manufacturers are trying to find new products that are interesting to the market. Additionally, they form a definite opinion about their brand in the mind of the client and create a long-term positioning strategy. This allows them to easily differentiate themselves from competitors.
For example, since 2021, we at ledz lighting have relied on full cloud management of color temperature and luminaire brightness. We have developed new LED lines, tested them and adapted them for each model. This technology is called TunableWhite (translated as “tunable white”) and can optionally be installed in any luminaire at the request of the client. TunableWhite allows you to change the color temperature of the luminaire from warm to cold according to a specified algorithm or manually.
Development of LED luminaires
The production of LED lamps cannot be launched without their development and preparation of technology. This requires very narrow qualifications and skills of engineers or large investments in R&D (research and development). It is better to have both, then there will be more chances for a successful result. However, the presence of both factors does not guarantee 100% success. When developing new models, each company relies on three main components:
- qualifications and experience of engineers
- availability of equipment and technology
- money or experienced top management
People with experience in the development of individual luminaire components are an essential element of the system. Let’s take as an example the Kazan enterprise LEDEL, which has a whole R&D department in its staff. They launch at least one new luminaire every year and this allows them to be one of the leaders in the lighting industry. LEDEL engineers can design a new aluminum die-cast and drawn body, LED bars and even a driver, which is very rare.
Production of LED lamps
After product development, the next most important element is the availability of the necessary equipment and technology. Here we will pay attention to the Belarusian production of Belintegra, which specialized in the manufacture of switchboard equipment. Their workshops are filled with expensive Italian and German machines for sheet metal cutting, bending and painting. Once these machines are purchased, their value will be transferred to the finished product within a certain depreciation period.
If they were now offered to buy a new technology, in which it would be possible to the production of LED lamps without these machines, they would hardly agree. Any enterprise is likely to be tied to existing equipment. This is the so-called “stability” when you see modern technology, but it’s a pity to throw out the old one. The third factor that can fix the first two is the availability of money or experienced top managers who make the right decisions.
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Top managers who are able to look far ahead can forecast the market for several years into the future. This often allows the company to abandon the purchase of expensive machines and channel money and efforts in a different direction. We believe that currently promising areas in lighting will be automation, brightness and color temperature control, cloud solutions. From this point of view, we select components of our own luminaires.
We use aluminum housings in our products, since this metal does not corrode. It cools the LEDs very well, unlike powder coated sheet metal. In addition, our engineers can shape it into any shape and create a stylish product. All modern designers try to use only aluminum cases, since sheet metal cannot match it in any criterion, except for the final price, which is already almost equal to aluminum.
LEDs, LED bars and modules
The light source is the focal point on which the efficiency of the final product depends more than the driver or housing. We made a comparison using the example of industrial lamps and came to an interesting conclusion. It turned out that it is better to install more efficient LEDs in the luminaire and to reduce the housing by reducing power consumption than to save on LEDs and get a luminaire of higher power in a larger housing.
A larger package with a more powerful driver will cost more than more efficient LEDs. In linear luminaires, where low-power LEDs are used, the situation is reversed. It is more profitable to install medium-efficiency LEDs, increasing their number and reducing the current. Then the efficiency will remain at the level of the higher generation, but the price of the diodes themselves will turn out to be several times lower, even taking into account the increase in their number on the LED lines.
Drivers and power supplies
For all the time we worked in the lighting segment, we managed to try most of the brands and brands of drivers. For ourselves, we have chosen several brands with which we work to this day. One of them is the Italian TCI, whose drivers are guaranteed for up to 10 years and the best combination of features and prices. We installed them on top objects for lighting offices of IT companies like Wargaming and Flo. We also recommend the Luxdator and Tridonic drivers, which work well in many of our models.
There was a period in our work when we used Argos IPS series drivers in many products. After a year and a half, the lamps, in which the Argos units with IP67 protection were located, began to fail en masse. Among the drivers IPS 60-700 IP67 and IPS 120-700 IP67, about 75% of the drivers failed in the first two years of operation. Moreover, after replacing the drivers with the IPS 60-700 IP20 model, the percentage of failures decreased to 12%. Note that 98.5% of the IPS 50-350 TD IP20 drivers are still working since April 2018.
We have already noted above that luminaire housings are available in sheet metal, extruded aluminum or die-cast aluminum. In recent years, heat-dissipating plastic enclosures (HDP) have also been gaining popularity. This material has come to be used when the heat generation of LEDs has decreased and energy efficiency has increased. It is still more expensive than aluminum, and its thermal conductivity is lower. However, the tooling for making it is cheaper than for casting aluminum.
Over time, we expect HDP cases to compete with die-cast and extruded aluminum cases. Our engineers consider sheet metal to be an outdated technology. It is used only by those enterprises that already have equipment for processing sheet metal or have access to cheap raw materials. We at ledz lighting relied on aluminum profiles, since iron does not dissipate heat well, rusts and it is difficult to make a stylish lamp out of it.
When starting the serial production of lamps, it is important to pay attention to the technology, otherwise you will not complete the order on time, even for 1000 pieces. Your employees will grab onto various operations, but the products will stand still. The top managers of the company must take care of the potential increase in production volumes with existing employees and with the involvement of temporary personnel. Otherwise, for example, customers from Moscow who are looking for “lamps Belarus” will be unhappy with the delay in delivery.
It is best to develop a technology by already completing small orders. Purchase a small number of components, make a list of individual assembly operations, and train staff on them. Start the stopwatch and record the time of each operation, repeating them at least 10 times. This will average the time and reduce the error. Next, draw up technological maps for each model and show them to employees. If they understand them, then invite them to collect a batch of products using the new technical plans.
You select the assembly steps based on the components, your equipment, and production space. For example, Belelectrotechpribor uses pre-cut and drilled Svetoch profiles, Argos drivers and Neon modules. Their product is assembled in ten minutes, like a designer, so is enough for a production room of about 30 m2. If you need a more flexible approach to orders, then you will need a place for storing solid profiles, cutting and drilling them.
Employees in production
Employees must have experience with the appropriate equipment. To ensure safety and labor protection at the enterprise, the head of the company must independently pass a knowledge test in the commission in your nearest executive committee. Then the manager must appoint a person responsible for the implementation of labor protection rules, who will certify employees and issue them certificates. In addition, you can send employees to the same commission to test their knowledge.
Luminaire production certification
After personnel training, you can receive the necessary documents. Luminaire Certificates are required if you intend to sell products to individuals. If your clients are only legal entities, then you just need to get a declaration of conformity with the regulations of the Customs Union. They cost several times cheaper than a certificate and do not require an invitation to an inspection for your production. It is imperative to have only three documents:
- declaration or certificate of conformity ТР/ТС 004, 020
- declaration or certificate of conformity TR/CU 037 (so-called RoHS)
The production of LED lamps ledz lighting has been additionally certified according to the quality management system ISO 9001:2015. This certificate assumes the availability of all documentation and compliance of the production technology with the requirements of ISO 9001:2015. All products also have a fire safety certificate from the Ministry of Emergency Situations, which allows them to be used in premises of categories P1 and P2. To participate in public procurement, we have a certificate of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI).
Many Belarusian lamps of top manufacturers from the top five our rating surpass their foreign counterparts in many ways. For example, Belarusian lamps ledz e-Industry have a laboratory-tested light output of at least 164.0 lm/W. This is significantly more than similar models from local and European competitors. However, you should be very careful when buying, as some market players may accidentally or deliberately give you incorrect information.
For example, in the product passport there will be an overestimated luminous flux, which in reality will be lower and the illumination in your room will be below normal. Or, for example, similar problems will arise if a manufacturer with easy access to a lighting laboratory makes you an overestimated protocol. If you want to save your budget, eliminate the likelihood of a mistake, then call us and we will always help. Our consultations are completely free for everyone!