LEX News sat down with Victor Morales, General Manager of Kurtzon Lighting, to discuss the latest LED lighting needs he sees in some of the very specialized markets he serves.
1. Kurtzon Lighting produces lighting fixtures for a wide variety of markets: medical, behavioral health, cleanroom, food processing, wet location and others. Which market has experienced unusual growth recently?
VM: We have seen significant growth in the behavioral health segment over the last few years. Demand for behavioral health and substance abuse services in the U.S. is growing, which has resulted in an increase in the number of facilities being designed to meet the unique needs of these patients. The lighting fixtures specified into behavioral health facilities need to meet certain safety criteria to help safeguard the people in these spaces.
2. What are some of the unique features that must be found on lighting fixtures designed for the behavioral health market?
VM: Many of the products found in behavioral healthcare settings, including the lighting fixtures, must be ligature-resistant or anti-ligature, which means that the products prevent the attachment of anything that can be used to bind or tie. Our anti-ligature troffers feature a zero-clearance door frame that has been engineered so that nothing, not even the thinnest strip of fabric, can be slipped between the lens and the frame that surrounds it. Our anti-ligature fixtures have been independently reviewed and approved for use in behavioral health spaces by the New York State Health Department.
3. Are there other important features on a lighting fixture that you find this market demanding?
VM: Vandal-resistant fixtures are also in high demand in the spaces dedicated to behavioral health and places that cater to the general public as well, like malls and transit stations. We offer many fixtures classified as vandal resistant. They feature thicker lenses, up to a half-inch thick, made from more durable materials, like polycarbonate, and tamper-proof screws. These heavy-duty lenses are up to 25 times stronger than the traditional acrylic lens. While the acrylic lens could be easily broken, the polycarbonate alternative is almost breakage-proof. The tamper-proof screws are designed to operate only with a special tool and cannot be turned with the common slot head or Phillips head screwdriver.
4. Which advancements in LED technology do you see being widely adopted in the different markets you serve?
VM: The output and efficacy of LED fixtures continues to improve and today they are achieving over 180 and even 190 lumens per watt. While this improvement in energy efficiency can benefit every type of space—offices, cleanrooms, schools, it can deliver significant savings in the areas that demand incredibly high levels of light, such as food processing plants, surgical suites and operating rooms. As an added benefit, the LED fixtures produce much less heat than the high-output fixtures traditionally used in these spaces, which reduces the load on the HVAC system and improves the comfort of the people working there.
LED controls are becoming more sophisticated too. While all LED drivers are dimmable, the range of available dimming can be different from one solution to the next. Finding drivers that can dim an LED fixture down to 1% of its total light output is more common today. Until recently, the typical low end of an LED fixture was closer to 10%. This new low end creates a lot of flexibility in a space. There are even programmable drivers available that allow the fixture output to be adjusted to meet certain lumen or wattage requirements. For example, the driver in a fixture capable of producing 30,000 lumens could be programmed to only produce 20,000 lumens. These adjustments are made at the factory, so that the fixture arrives onsite ready to perform as needed.
Ultimately, LED fixtures available today can offer so much more than a more efficient light source. From enhancements in the design and physical construction of the fixture form to the improved performance and controllability of the light source, LED fixtures can truly provide the right solution for many nuanced markets with special needs.
For more information regarding Kurtzon Lighting, visit their website here.