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Led Lighting for Sign-makers

With LED lighting technology continually evolving, Jo Golding asks: “How does your range of products give sign-makers more choice and improved creative options?”

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Will Stapleton, LED consultant, Kings Plastics

Wealth of experience

Kings Plastics has been supplying LEDs since 2008, introducing our own range of KPLEDs in 2014 and now for 2016 our new updated Kings LED. Having manufactured and supplied signs for nearly 70 years, Kings Plastics understands the importance of using the right products to achieve the best results. Using our wide range of experience, we have handpicked all our Kings LED products so they are specifically tailored for the sign and display industry.

Our most recent addition is our LED Flexi-Ribbon, with 2835 LEDs offering higher light output than standard 5050 LEDs whilst using less power, making our Flexi-Ribbon more energy efficient. With its specially cut PCB it can be bent/folded into curves and shapes, making it perfect for almost any application, and is an ideal choice for small built up letters where LED modules will not fit.

Kings Plastics understands the importance of using the right products to achieve the best results

By offering our own range of LEDs instead of supplying another premium brand of LED we can offer a competitive alternative, this enables our customers to enjoy a quality product without paying a premium price. Kings Plastics are not just a supplier though, as sign-makers we use our Kings LEDs every day in our own in-house signage work, utilising our LED Ribbon in all our miniflex, reflex, and dualflex edgelit systems, as well as LED Modules and LED Flexi-Ribbon in our built-up acrylic letters, fret cut sign trays and lightboxes. You can be assured that we can give you the best advice from our own experience and are always looking for new ways to use our LEDs.

As the LED consultant for Kings Plastics I am more than happy to talk about our LEDs over the phone, by e-mail or in person and provide samples so you can see for yourself how well our products can work for you.

Cover all bases

Graeme Hoole, production manager, We Love LEDs  (The Sign Group)

We try and cover all the bases with our modules and try not to have any that cross over. We have workhorse modules that are run of the mill, good value for money, and are perfectly bright enough for signs. For customers who want a brighter option, we have a sliding scale of different options to the very peak of brightness available on the market. They all do similar things, but there is a clear definition between them. It should always come down to what is best for the job, rather than price.

Each of our LED modules and strips have got clear defining points to them so they have specific roles. If someone rang up and said they had a box that is so deep, and want it to have standard brightness but on a budget, we would know what module to choose straight away. If they say we like that but want it brighter, again we would know which module to pick. Even if the customer is not clear about what they want, they can get in touch and we will give them that information.

Each of our LED modules and strips have got clear defining points to them so they have specific roles

LED strips are a little trickier because they are used in so many weird and wonderful ways. We still cover all the bases—different colours, waterproof, bright, dim, and flexible.

If you look at the consumables, we have got the best selection of connectors and wires of any LED trade supplier in the country, we also have a clear LED wire that is very popular. It is not just about the customer going to the website and finding specifically what they want, it is a matter of us understanding the products so we know exactly what the customer needs.

We write our own product data sheets, so we know our products inside and out, and they have all been tested by me. Also, 99 percent of what is on We Love LEDs, we use as part of The Sign Group, so we have that first-hand experience with the products.

Endless possibilities

Ryan Mann, LED product manager, Perspex Distribution

I feel the key to making the most of the developments in LED technology is to stay close to our customers and listen to what they want from our products. It is all too easy for businesses supplying the signage market to continually chop and change their offering, and whilst it is important to stay on top of new developments, customers need to have stability and trust in the solutions they install.

As a major supplier to the signage market, Perspex Distribution has developed a strong and healthy relationship with LED industry leaders, SloanLED. Recent additions like the Prism LED module advance lens technology allow sign-makers creative flexibility to illuminate signage from 50mm deep to over 200mm deep whilst at the same time offering a brighter, more economical solution that is quicker to install than previous options.

The brand new Poster Box 3 system was developed to enable the illumination of light boxes via edge-lighting, and while this is not a new concept, we have one of the brightest solutions on the market that provides even illumination of widths of up to 3m. When customers came to us wanting to illuminate 30mm Perspex acrylic letters, we listened, and SloanLED developed the highly popular Bend Lux LED strip that offers the flexibility of an LED strip with the added benefit of needing no soldering to join pieces together.

Our aim is to provide new solutions and more choice, but always ensuring they meet the needs of our

As well as our SloanLED offering, Perspex Distribution has also formed alliances with other key suppliers to allow us to offer the solutions our customers are asking for. Our LED light sheet panels can allow a sign-maker to evenly illuminate signage at extremely shallow depths and with the ability to curve the panels and cut them to shape. The creative possibilities are endless.

Our aim is to provide new solutions and more choice, but always ensuring they meet the needs of our customers.

Rapid development

William Heath, commercial director, OMC

One of the most notable things about this market over the past few years is the speed at which it has developed, giving sign-makers greater choice. OMC is one of the original pioneers of LED lighting—we introduced our first LED replacements for neon indicators in the 1990s, and have devoted research and development resources to developing lighting components ever since.

Our LED Flexistrip, a flexible strip of closely-spaced, high-brightness LEDs, opens up a range of creative options. While many LED strips are designed for relatively short-term, decorative use, Flexistrip is designed to an industrial grade, incorporating several unique features that ensure long-lasting, bright, and even illumination. This allows Flexistrip to be used as a permanent light source in applications such as industrial machinery and vending machines, and we have found this to be highly beneficial in signage applications too.

One of the most notable things about this market over the past few years is the speed at which it has developed

Used by sign-makers around the UK to face or halo-illuminate letters, edge-illuminate acrylic or light up lightboxes, Flexistrip benefits from in-built electrostatic and reverse-polarity protection and an extra-thick copper substrate for enhanced longevity. The high number of LEDs per metre eliminates ‘spottiness’, providing bright, consistent illumination. For optimal reliability, the LEDs used in the Flexistrip range are tightly sorted by voltage before assembly, with voltage bins as narrow as +/- 0.05 Volts. This crucial step, skipped by many designs on the market, results in all the LEDs on the Flexistrip drawing the same current. Without it, some chains can draw more than others and be overdriven, causing groups of LEDs to fail. The voltage sorting also helps to ensure consistency of brightness along the strip. This is particularly advantageous for signs in inaccessible locations where maintenance is difficult and expensive, such as high on interior or exterior walls.

For wider creative choice, we manufacture two Flexistrip orientations: front-firing for wide-angle applications such as built-up letter faces and lightboxes, and side-firing, optimal for halos, edge-lighting, and other directional applications. Both are available in 12V and 24V versions. Ultimatley, sign-makers like Flexistrip for its simplicity of use, vivid colours, and ease of interfacing to control systems.

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