Sign & Digital Graphics

June '18

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • June 2018 • 21 make a product for this application, but I appreciated Principal's detailed specs on beam angle." One of the bigger issues, though, became dealing with the portion of the sign that was not illuminated. "It would be a waste of light and energy to illuminate this entire 24-square-foot enclosure when only eight square feet or so was back-lit," he recalls. "My solution was to build internal baffles to which the LED side-lit modules would mount." "The result exceeded my expecta- tions," Anderson concludes, "and a single 60 LED power supply now evenly illu- minates both sides of this large, narrow sign cabinet." This is an example of how LEDs can add to a retrofit project, even in the face of some unforeseen challenges. It's also a true benefit to the customer who will likely save money in the long run with efficient lighting and less maintenance. "Retrofitting provides a serious cost savings over building a new project," Anderson adds. "The lighting level can often be upgraded while lowering elec- trical usage. There are also significant savings over installation, disposal, per- mitting, etc." Make Informed Decisions Things aren't always as they appear. A sign structure may look sturdy and viable for a retrofit, but up close has flaws that need to be fixed. Or the color of an LED may look bright and resilient, only to be washed out by a dense, off-colored sign face. Sign makers come up against these challenges every day; especially during retrofit jobs. It's important to inspect the sign carefully and make informed deci- sions so that the customer is happy with the quality of the final product. SDG Avoiding Problems in a Retrofit Here are some tips on avoid- ing retrofitting problems from Michael Bluhm, director of Product Solutions - Sign Group, SloanLED. Most LED optics have elimi- nated the issue with light angles that typically happen at sharp corners within the sign. Temperature management is critical when designing the LED product. If designed improperly, the lifespan of the product can be seriously compromised. LED brightness is subjective. The same sign could be too bright for one person and not bright enough to another. Selecting the correct product for the sign appli- cation is important in effort to get the proper results. LED spacing is usually deter- mined by the LED manufacturer and is typically set based on a level light requirement at a cer- tain depth. We have products that excel at three inches deep and although they work at five inches it is not recommended due to the lower light level required to per- form at a three-inch depth. T-12 fluorescent lamps are now being retrofitted with LED solutions. Although fluorescent is not typically found in a channel letter, we see more LED solutions addressing the T12 fluorescent market. The face of the sign can impact the color and output of the light source. (Images courtesy of Sloan LED)

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