In recent times, interior design and planning - be it housing solutions, private or public offices - have been enriched by multiple lighting solutions. Of all of them, LEDs appear to be the best option in reconciling durability, energy saving and environmental protection; in simplifying the management of light intensities and various colors and, last but not least, in approaching the concept of modular light.
In particular, we are witnessing an ever-increasing production of furniture equipped with systems integrated LED lighting. Shelving, bookcases, wardrobes, tables, mirrors, bathroom fixtures - and much more - in which a module (or more) is generally incorporated, and therefore a highly flexible element, composed of a plurality of light sources, which can take on various forms.
A necessary premise to the discussion concerns the need - as well as the duty - that furniture, electrical components and user devices are designed and constructed so that, in ordinary operation, the temperatures foreseen for electrical materials by the respective standards are not exceeded . Likewise, the temperatures that can be tolerated by the materials that make up the walls of the furniture themselves must not be exceeded.
Going beyond the necessary premise and moving to a technical-design level, among the most successful components in the integrated lighting furniture sector - i.e. tubes, panels and LED spotlights - we find the LED strips (or LED strip), elements characterized by clear flexibility of use. Despite being a relatively recent solution, over the years these components have undergone a series of evolutions that make them worthy of an overview of the technical and functional aspects.
Characteristics of an LED strip
The LED strip contains various components, including the support - the printed circuit (printed circuit board, “PCB”) and LED chips themselves, welded on only one side of the support, together with the resistors to optimize the electrical power supply. If width and thickness are oriented around 10 mm and 2 mm respectively, in terms of extension, length is the dimension that can vary the most. We start from LED strips made up of a few light sources, arriving at large sizes, in relation to the design needs and - in the case of furniture - to the piece of furniture subject to the application.
The evolution of SMD LEDs
The LED strips use SMD LEDs, an acronym for Surface Mount Device which identifies those electronic components assembled on one side of the printed circuit. This happens, as is known, through welding and without any alteration of the printed circuit itself, which ensures reduced component dimensions, containment of costs, time and waste materials.
Precisely the natural evolutions of SMD LEDs are the causes of many technological improvements and qualitative in the LED Strips themselves. In the early phase of LED production, in fact, availability on the market was relegated to only SMD 3528 LEDs and SMD 5050 LEDs, which were therefore the key types with which the LED strips were made (not very usable in furnishings). Let's examine the most widespread types today.
- 2835, 3014: both equipped with the essential heat sink, characterized by excellent performance levels. In the case of the 2835 with a flux of 22lm-24lm a consumption of 0.2W is detected.
- 3020: an average recent solution which, with a flux of 10lm-12lm, detects a consumption of 0.12W.
- 5630, 5730: LED chips of a more modern concept, characterized by notable light intensity. The ratios are oriented, in the first case, at 54-56lm for 0.5W and in the second case at 47-56lm for 0.5W.
Color temperature, single color or RGB LED strips
To offer multiple solutions in the furnishing field, LED strips integrated into furniture and furnishing accessories are now also distinct in relation to their color temperature, which ranges between warm white light (< 3300K), neutral white light (between 3300 and 5300K), up to cold white light (> 5300K).
This guarantees full adaptability to the most disparate visibility conditions, which - in the home environment, but certainly also in workplaces - constitute one of the basis of light use.
If you need particular aesthetic effects, you can find your way there RGB stripes which, unlike single-color ones, can create a multitude of colors by mixing the primary colors in the various cables. At the same time, many LED strips for furniture offer the possibility of regulating the intensity of the light, via remote control or app. There dimmability it allows for an even more acute sensitivity to the needs of the user of light, who will be able to regulate it in relation to external and perceptive factors.
With the introduction of these technologies, specific certification of the furnishing elements that use them becomes necessary. This, in the furniture sector, adds to the testing of motorized furniture components, necessary in those cases in which the electrical part concerns the movement of a part of the furnishing element.
Advantages of using LED strips in furnishings
Together with tubes, spotlights and panels, LED strips present themselves as ideal solutions for the design of interior furnishings in homes and offices. here are the main benefits:
- Multiple application possibilities thanks to modularity;
- Savings energy and environmental protection (there are no toxic or environmentally harmful materials present in the sources, as well as no emission of UV and IR rays);
- Duration of extremely extended life - if the sources are powered with an adequate current and appropriately cooled - and low need for maintenance;
- Adjustment of the luminous flux, keeping the color temperature and light free from any visible alteration;
- Variegated creative solutions in the field of furniture design;
- Absence of pollution light.
For the certification of lighting components manufacturing or importing companies can turn to specialized and equipped laboratories to carry out all the tests required by law. In particular, aspects of safety, electromagnetic compatibility and energy performance are verified.
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