SPAR flagship store in Budapest with Zumtobel lighting technology

© Zumtobel

LED spotlights: saving energy and setting signs

In supermarkets, factory halls and offices around the globe, the TECTON strip light system from Zumtobel provides pleasant and energy-efficient lighting with its combination of LEDs and PLEXIGLAS®.

Switching to energy-efficient LED lighting is worthwhile wherever large surface areas need to be permanently lit up. In supermarkets, for instance, light is required to present goods as attractively as possible throughout the opening hours and to create a pleasant environment across the entire store. That is why lighting is one of the biggest energy guzzlers in supermarkets. SPAR Austria is therefore equipping all of its new branches with LED lights from Zumtobel and is also refitting its existing branches.

Reducing power consumption

In supermarkets, lighting is the third largest power consumer after cooling and air conditioning. Compared to conventional fluorescent tubes, the TECTON continuous-row LED lighting system reduces overall energy consumption for artificial lighting in supermarkets by a minimum of 40 percent – while at the same time ensuring increased lighting quality.

LED lights cut power consumption

“In supermarkets, efficient LED lighting often pays off after as little as 18 months, compared with neon lighting,” says Dieter Safarik, global key account manager for supermarkets at Zumtobel. “Today it makes no sense not to use LEDs.” But things looked very different when SPAR decided to refit its stores for the first time in 2011. “The LEDs were far less efficient than they are now. But SPAR was keen to make this green investment,” says Safarik, who has been liaising with the supermarket chain for 30 years.

During this time, lighting technology has continuously developed, first coming up with increasingly efficient and small neon tubes, then with LEDs. Up until 2010, Zumtobel used only neon tubes for the TECTON strip light system. “But at some point, there was no way to make these tubes any more efficient,” Safarik explains. Together with SPAR, the Austrian lighting experts therefore developed an LED alternative for the proven strip light system.

High light transmission and good light guiding

The challenge consisted in finding a solution to adjust the light distribution of the LEDs to the special requirements of supermarkets. The main elements to be lit up there are the shelves, which make up most of the sales surface. “Normally, our LED lights only illuminate the floor, as evenly as possible,” Safarik explains. LEDs therefore need a light-guiding material that enables vertical illumination of the entire shelf front, as evenly and brightly as possible. Ideally, the floor area that often becomes soiled in poor weather is kept darker on purpose. Zumtobel chose PLEXIGLAS® to meet these requirements. This trademarked acrylic from Evonik offers high light transmission of 92 percent and is therefore especially suitable for lighting applications.

The technically sophisticated PLEXIGLAS® optical components really bring to light the benefits of these LEDs.

Dieter Safarik
Global Key Account Manager for supermarkets at Zumtobel

Accurate mold surface reproduction for lenses

For the TECTON series, Zumtobel uses various grades of PLEXIGLAS® molding compounds for the manufacture of optical covers and special lenses. Key features here are the material’s ability to accurately reproduce the lens surface, as well as its good light guiding properties. This very combination allows for manufacture of lenses with specific structures that provide variable directional characteristics. The “Shelf Beam” model, for Page 3 of 4 instance, puts a focus on the symmetrical distribution of light across the shelf surface, whereas the aisles are less strongly lit. “The full benefits of the LEDs can only be reaped using these sophisticated PLEXIGLAS® lenses,” says Safarik.

Fresh look thanks to LED lighting

Lighting produced by state-of-the-art LED lights is virtually free from harmful IR and UV radiation that makes fruit and vegetables spoil more quickly.

Energy-efficient lighting solution

In addition to their high energy efficiency and luminous efficacy, LEDs also offer a long service life and feature low maintenance costs. “We have been installing the TECTON LED strip light system since 2010, and so far there has been no need to replace any of the LEDs,” Safarik reports. That is astonishing, given that some of them have already reached the end of their theoretical service life of 50,000 hours. “That’s the big advantage of LEDs, they don’t simply burn through at some point like fluorescent tubes do. They just shine a little less brightly,” Safarik says. PLEXIGLAS® also offers the same high level of light transmission after a long service life as it did on day one. The material remains transparent for a long time and shows no yellowing. It may still make sense to refit old LED systems after a certain time, though, because of efficiency improvements of LEDs. Safarik says: “Developments in this field proceed rapidly.”