Sign & Digital Graphics

April '20

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Using LEDs as replacement solutions or in high-intensity discharge lamps is also becoming more popular. Riley says the price for those replace- ments "is just under what you would pay for an older metal halide glass lamp with the core and coil ballast kit you need to run it, making the energy savings of LEDs a much better option." When completing any type of LED job, questions about power supplies will also arise. What should be used? Where should they be placed? How long will they work? Supplying Power, Giving Life "One note on power supplies," starts Vincent, "while power supply costs have shown only very marginal improve- ments in cost over the past five years, efficiency improvements from the LEDs themselves have reduced the number of power sources required in a sign, thus reducing the number of power supplies required, especially in larger signs." The reduction in product does have a direct impact on the overall LED solution price. And as stated previously, there is an element of better quality that contributes to this. "Power supplies used to be the weak- est link of any LED display, now this is no longer the case," Salitrero shares. "They are not only more reliable but also have various integrated features which allow protection against the unexpected, such as brownouts and power outages." Take it from some of the major lead- ers in production, there have certainly been technological improvements even in the power supply market. "At Keystone Technologies we have been making power supplies for as long as anyone," says Riley. "Power supply improvements include couplers for easy connection to handy boxes as well as man- ufacturing the handy box right onto the power supply. These advancements have helped on service trucks and in the field." According to Riley, depending on the size of the sign being installed, sign mak- ers have used anywhere from one to 50 power supplies as part of a project. 2 4 • A P R I L 2 0 2 0 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S Finding the Sweet Spot It's always interesting to take a look around a highly-trafficked area, especially at night, to see how many signs include LEDs. The question many sign makers have is: Just where can I put these things? The Traditional Spots Channel letters and sign cabinets have consistently been the most popular places to include LED lighting. This is likely to be the best source of income for sign makers using LEDs. "LEDs are now integrated into almost every kind of sign project, including channel letters, cabinet signs, and linear border products," says Vincent. "One of the key benefits of LEDs are their size and ease of installation." Against other lighting options, LEDs are typically the preferred solu- tion. "Channel letters have benefitted the most because LEDs are so much easier to install than neon," Picot shares, "saving sign makers countless hours over the years." Public Places "It also helps government agencies communicate with their com- munities by offering special features such as IPAWS-FEMA alerts," says Salitrero. However, Riley warns that in some instances, lighting can actually become too bright and a nuisance to the public. In these cases, adhere to the local laws. "We should be very careful, because as signs get brighter and brighter, so do lighting complaints from the general public," he states. "Thus, prompting cities and governments to implement greater rules, restrictions, and regulations to the sign industry." Without question, when executed properly, LED signage is a tremen- dous help to the general public. Anywhere and Everywhere Simply put: Just use it. When sign makers come across a project that require lighted aspects, it's safe to assume that LEDs should be a con- sideration. "All sign projects have benefited from LEDs," says Picot. "Their wide range of applications allows them to bring the benefits of LEDs (longer lifespan, reduced maintenance, lower energy costs) to nearly every application." Salitrero agrees, saying, "I believe all projects (are a fit for LEDs), especially those utilizing a good quality LED display, benefit from having one installed. It provides great ROI and has proven to help increase a business' walk-in traffic, plus becomes a big part of its branding." Riley lists four reasons why LEDs have become such a popular option today: 1. Lower energy consumption compared to older technologies 2. Less breakage in handling, shipping and installations 3. The price point 4. Ability to add adaptability to more solar technologies

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