The industry asks - Zhaga delivers

Posted on Thursday June 5 2014, by Tim Whitaker

This article was published in LED Professional Review, Issue 43, May/June 2014, page 4.

Author: Musa Unmehopa is the Secretary General of the Zhaga Consortium.

Every industry in transition needs to successfully overcome a number of challenges as it pursues growth and profitability for all its stakeholders. Four years ago, the Zhaga Consortium was founded when a number of leading companies in the lighting industry identified a challenge as a result of a rapidly developing LED market, i.e. the proliferation of form factors for LED light sources.

Since its conception in 2010, Zhaga has addressed this industry challenge by developing 8 Books, which specify the mechanical, thermal, photometric, electrical and control interfaces between LED light engines (LLEs) and LED luminaires. These Books address both indoor as well as outdoor applications, and cover socketable and non-socketable LED modules, with an integrated or separate electronic control gear (or driver).

At the Light + Building show in Frankfurt in early April, Zhaga modules were ubiquitous across the trade show floor. Despite the accomplishment of the current Books and the successful introduction of over 160 certified products on the market, Zhaga cannot rest on its laurels. Zhaga must continue to respond to the evolving needs of the industry.

At its recent member meeting in Amsterdam, Zhaga started the development of three new Books. The new Books are designated numbers 9, 10 and 11. Zhaga Book 9 will define the interfaces of an LLE which consists of a non-socketable LED module with a ring-shaped light-emitting surface (LES) and a separate LED driver. Book 9 will cover small, mid-power LED modules which could enable LED luminaire products for use in consumer lighting applications, such as small spotlights, track lighting and other compact luminaires.

Book 10 and Book 11 will both describe LLEs that consist of a circular, non-socketable LED module with a separate LED driver. The modules have a circular LES and are suitable for spotlight-type applications. Both Book 10 and Book 11 are similar to Book 3, which is already published and is one of the most widely-adopted Zhaga Books in the industry with the most commercially-available certified products. Compared to Book 3, the new Book 10 will describe larger, higher-output LED modules with a larger diameter, while the modules in Book 11 will have a smaller diameter and smaller thickness.

Furthermore, Zhaga has decided that it will aim to enable LED modules and drivers that are independently interchangeable, by defining the electrical interface between the module and the driver. Today, for LED light engines having a separate driver, it may not be possible to interchange LED modules from different suppliers without also using a different driver, or vice versa. However, Zhaga identified clear signals from the industry that there is now a growing market need for LED modules and LED drivers that are independently interchangeable (i.e. you can interchange one without necessarily interchanging the other). This initiative will take the industry one step closer to full interchangeability at the component level.

As well as continuing to look at new proposals from members, Zhaga has also initiated a project to evaluate the use of LED light engines across a wide range of lighting applications. The goal is to identify opportunities and set priorities for the development of new specifications that will provide most benefit to the LED lighting industry. Zhaga welcomes requirements and feedback from a wide range of interested companies and organizations, both inside and outside Zhaga.

These are exciting times of change which pose a number of challenges that need to be addressed head on. I invite you to join Zhaga on its mission to accelerate the adoption of LED lighting solutions in the marketplace, through standardization of LED light engine interfaces. Sign up as a Zhaga member and help shape our industry!

About the author

Musa Unmehopa is the Secretary General of the Zhaga Consortium, a global lighting-industry organization that is enabling interchangeable LED light engines. Musa has been involved in international standardization across several industries for almost 20 years, serving in various chair positions and directorships. He is on the Board of Directors of the ZigBee Alliance (intelligent control for connected lighting) and the EMerge Alliance (standardizing low-voltage DC power distribution). Musa received an MSc degree from the University of Twente, as well as MBA degrees from TiasNimbas Business School in the Netherlands and Bradford University School of Management in the UK.