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Addressing Color Consistency in LED Lighting - okeli lights

Addressing Color Consistency in LED Lighting

The rising popularity of LED lighting has cast a spotlight on a pressing concern: color consistency. How can one ensure that the color of their lighting remains uniform when switching from one product to another?

The dilemma lies in the composition of the ultimate LED lamp, as it comprises numerous factors that can introduce slight variations between products. Previously, we could reasonably expect a Sylvania 800 series T8 lamp with a 3500K rating to exhibit consistent color across lamps and stores. However, despite the efforts made by manufacturers to enhance the color consistency in LED lighting products, disparities can still be noticeable. Moreover, if you happen to source products from multiple manufacturers or newer entrants to the market, your lighting might end up resembling the image below.

LED-Color-Inconsistency.jpg

It is worth noting that the initial goal was for all lighting to harmonize seamlessly.

Color inconsistencies in LED lighting can manifest immediately or develop over time as products are replaced. If the manufacturer you are dealing with doesn't maintain stringent tolerances regarding color consistency with the chips they procure (commonly known as "binning" in the lighting industry), you might find yourself in a situation where there's a discernible divergence in the visible color between different fixtures. Over time, the color tone of the light can drift, transitioning from blue to green or even pink due to disparities in the actual LED chips. For retailers, the aim is for customers to notice their products, not variations in ceiling colors. Likewise, office buildings want to convey a well-maintained appearance, which is impeded by inconsistent lighting.

Technological Innovations for Addressing LED Color Consistency

The good news is that technology has advanced to help mitigate the risk of inconsistent lighting. Manufacturers have introduced high-quality modules that employ algorithms to create remote phosphors, thereby accommodating the various chips and bins they utilize. In practical terms, this innovative process improves consistency across different products by acknowledging the inherent differences in the chips and allowing the phosphors to rectify them.

Another potentially game-changing technological advancement is color tuning. Personally, I advocate for the inclusion of tunable white fixtures in every project. Color tuning typically involves independently dimming arrays of warm and cool LEDs, giving users the ability to fine-tune the color within a specified range from warm to cool. This feature serves a dual purpose, enhancing color consistency and allowing for the creation of different atmospheres, catering to various biological factors.

The ability to adjust each fixture to the desired color after installation and exercising some control over color matching, or at the very least providing the appropriate color for the task, brings peace of mind. Tunable fixtures also reduce the need for mock-ups, testing, and color matching, which are often integral to each project.

A Practical Solution to the LED Color Consistency Predicament

It's true that some of these technological advancements come at a premium and are better suited for settings like museums, galleries, or high-end retail spaces where color consistency is of utmost importance. However, as a long-term solution, I anticipate that tunable white lighting could become the standard as costs decrease and control mechanisms become more refined. This shift will not only guarantee color consistency between manufacturers but also across replacement products.

Waiting for these innovations to become mainstream doesn't necessarily entail spending more on your lighting.

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