LED technology for public and industrial lighting installations has many advantages, such as its durability and increasing levels of energy efficiency. However, among its drawbacks, its high sensitivity to overvoltages is due to the fact that it is based on electronic equipment. With the aim of achieving maximum performance and durability, the Prilux Group includes an additional surge protector inside the product in its road luminaires and most of those destined for industrial use.
"When we started this new stage in the business group in which we focus on our own manufacturing, we were clear that investing in R & D was the key to opening a niche in such a competitive and mature market. Although our main idea was to design quality products and innovative, we see it imperative to invest in all those elements that help to extend the durability and maximize the efficiency of each product. We detected the surges as a great LED weakness and we saw that we had to work hard to find solutions, "explains Carlos Alberto Pretel, CEO Prilux.
The surge protectors are based essentially on an electronic component, the varistor, composed of two disks slightly separated by metallic oxides. When a voltage higher than that defined by the component is produced between its terminals, the protector redirects it between both terminals of the varistor, avoiding that the excess reaches the luminaire. However, they are elements that should be considered as a consumable, as they degrade every time they act. So it should be replaced every several years to ensure that the luminaire is always protected.
Two fundamental types of overvoltages can be distinguished: permanent and transient. The former refer to a mains voltage maintained above its rated value over a long period of time. The latter, however, are of short duration and are due to three reasons: disturbances from the power grid itself, industrial motor starters, voltage surges generated by storms or lightning and surges caused by the accumulation of electrostatic charge in the luminaire. It is these transient overvoltages that can easily cause serious damage to LED luminaires.
In order to reduce defects in luminaires due to overvoltages, Article 16.3 of the Low Voltage Electrotechnical Regulation (REBT) states that "protection systems for indoor or low voltage installations shall prevent the effects of Overcurrents and surges that for different reasons can be foreseen in the same and protect their materials and equipment from the actions and effects of external agents. According to Technical Instruction ITC09, Chapter 10, which regulates the grounding of Class I luminaires, they must be properly grounded and the ground line installation must be adequate.
Until recently it was recommended to install the surge protectors as close as possible to the electronic equipment, however, it has been demonstrated that even when it is far from the luminaire, it is proved that installing it in the register of the staff is also effective protection. This can be an option for the installer to use an additional surge protection at the base of the crane added to the other protections. The great advantage of installing the guard in the column is that the maintenance is much more comfortable and simple.
The Prilux Group comes standard in the majority of products of public and industrial lighting, within the own luminaire, an additional surge protector of one of the pioneer manufacturers and with higher quality of this type of devices. Similarly, LED modules designed by the R & D department include specific protections to protect the LEDs themselves from surges. With this, Grupo Prilux ensures that one of the most well-prepared equipment on the market is available to overcome surges, with the driver´s own protection, double-specific protections in LED modules and additional protectors inside the luminaire.