Sign & Digital Graphics

March '19

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26 • March 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ELECTRIC SIGNAGE M ichael Kerber of Grimco suggests asking yourself a series of questions while tackling a retrofit job. This will allow you to become fully equipped with a plan, find the right materials, and produce an accurate and effective final product. What is the type of sign face the sign origi- nally had? And if you are replacing the sign face during your retrofit, what substrate will you be using? Is it acrylic? Is it polycarbon- ate? Or Flex Face? And if Flex Face, what brand? D i f f e r e n t s u b - strates diffuse LED lighting differently t h a n f l u o r e s c e n t lamps. And not all Flex Face brands diffuse the same, putting you at risk of hot spotting. Also, if your sign originally had a "pan face" and you are switching to a flat face, that can matter too. For example, if your sign frame is a nine-inch frame, but had two- inch deep pan faces on each side, that is like having a 13-inch deep cabinet. So, the lamps were probably placed at 12-inch centers. But if you switch that sign to a "flat face," then you truly only have a 9-inch deep cabinet. And if you try to put most " LED Retrofit Bars" at the same 12-inch cen- ters that the lamps were at, then you may get hot spots. HanleyLED's Double Sided Wingspan cabi- net modules that have their extra-wide Wingspan Lens solve this type of problem by helping you avoid having to drive your retrofit cost up with too many LEDs. What are the dimensions of your sign? We all know that the height and width mat- ter for channel letters, but cabinet depth ranges anywhere from three inches to 48 inches or more. Knowing how far your LEDs will be from the face will help you maximize you spacing without sacri- ficing brightness. At Grimco, we call it the "sweet spot." It's that distance from the sign face where you maximize the spacing between your retrofit bars, without impacting the brightness of your sign. Also, if your sign is extremely deep (24 inches to 48 inches for example) then you have to be con- cerned about all of the "dark space" in the middle. The deeper the sign, the more "dark space" there is for light to get lost. Picture kicking a soccer ball against the walls of the hallway in your home. Each time the ball hits the wall, it loses energy. Also, the more distance it travels between walls, the more energy it loses too. Well, lighting does the same thing. When light hits the face, some of it escapes, and some reflects back inside the cabinet. The fur- ther your light has to travel, the greater light loss you will experience before it hits the face. If you do a lot of work on cabinets of varying depths, consider how many "lumens per cubic inch" or "cubic foot" you prefer to be your company's standard. Then make sure that you use the right amount of the right LEDs that will help you affordably achieve your standard. That way, you can ensure that regard- less of cabinet height, width or depth, that you are producing the same expectations in every cabinet you retrofit. Is there structure in your sign that might cause shadows? Since most LEDs are "directional" (meaning, they aim directly at the face); beams, bars, cabling, and center poles inside a cabinet can get in the way, causing a shadow. Another way shadows can form is if the structure in a sign is dark or rusted. When the light reflects off a dark pole inside a sign, it can give the impression of a shadow, or uneven light at the face. Consider painting that structure white to reduce the light loss when the light reflects off that structure. Want to learn more about retrofitting older illuminated signs? B Y M I C H A E L K E R B E R , D I R E C T O R O F L E D D E V E L O P M E N T , G R I M C O Principal LED provides an online calcula- tor to esti- mate ROI in LED products to replace bulbs. Image courtesy of Joe Ontjes, Luminous Neon Art & Sign Systems. http://sdgmag.ly/me7d2 VISIT SDG

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