Smart design & ultra low power consumption

The LEX slimline LED Exit sign is the debut product for Associated Controls; an Australian company specialising in highly energy-efficient technologies. The core of the product is a revolutionary optical waveguide technology resulting from a decade of Research and Development, now covered by international patents. This technology reduces the sign’s energy consumption substantially compared to existing LED and compact fluorescent alternatives, while removing the ‘streaking’ or ‘hot spots,’ typical of existing signs. However, the core technology is only part of this product’s story.

In order to maximise product acceptance within the market, all aspects of the product’s lifecycle were considered. This includes manufacturing, selection, installation, operation and reclamation. This process lead to the integration of a range of design features which ‘raise the bar’ in terms of aesthetics, function and usability.

‘Wave guide’ technology

Precisely positioned LEDs interact with a ‘waveform’ profile, dispersing and internally reflecting light within the sign panel. An engineered pattern causes light to escape, producing a consistent illumination level. The efficiency of transmission and precise illumination level provides minimal light wastage, dramatically reducing the energy required to meet international standards. LEX is the most energy efficient exit sign available with a source consumption of 0.5W, compared to between 2.4W -10W for standard LED and Fluorescent signs.

Sustainability

As constantly illuminated exits signs are required by law throughout commercial and public buildings, reducing energy consumption provides a substantial cumulative reduction in a building’s ‘carbon footprint’. 

Sustainability was also considered in the following ways:

  • Minimisation of materials – entire product only uses two types of plastic
  • Clip together assembly removes mechanical fasteners and reduces assembly time/effort
  • Design for disassembly to aid reclamation at end of product life
  • Reduced product size improves efficiency of transport and volumes of material required
  • Product is RoHS compliant and ‘heavy metals’ free.
  • The minimum 40,000hrs source life greatly reduces ongoing maintenance and source replacement

OBJECTIVES

  • Energy efficient operation
  • Simple to install
  • Design for assembly
  • Provide range of finish and mount options

DESIGN SOLUTIONS

  • Common reversible panel & surround mouldings reduce tooling required & part count
  • Completely clip together assembly
  • ‘Fit and Click’ mounting system
  • Slip-in interchangeable graphic films

COBALT TASKS

  • Design strategy
  • Industrial Design
  • Mechanical configuration 
  • Design for Manufacturing (DfM)
  • Product Engineering
  • Prototyping
  • Branding and product graphics
  • Packaging design
  • Tooling & Pilot production management
  • Simon Andresen
  • Matt Reeves
  • Krista Lindegger

Installation made easy

Installation had to be as quick and simple as possible. It is not unusual for several signs to be installed in a building, each sign requiring graphics to be changed to suit the specific location. Several ‘problem’ areas for installers with existing signs were identified and addressed by the following:

  • The sign is fully contained – No additional electronics required inside ceiling voids as with other ‘blade’ signs.
  • Innovative ‘Fit and Click’ method greatly simplifies installation. A mount plate is fixed to ceiling, a connector is fitted to supply wiring and snapped into the plate. The sign clips to ceiling plate, self-connecting to power supply to complete installation.
  • Appropriate graphic films are easily slid into place without requiring disassembly of light enclosure.
  • Adapter kits are available to facilitate concealed and wall mounting.

Manufacturing

Intelligent manufacturing was essential to allow a locally assembled product to compete in an established internationally competitive market. This required minimal part count and ‘design for assembly’ techniques such as:

  • Interlocking assembly details were integrated into components, removing need for mechanical fasteners, and allowing product to be completely clipped together.
  • A self-contained light panel subassembly allows in-line testing prior to final assembly.
  • Central panel and surround are common reversible mouldings, simplifying manufacturing and reducing number of distinct parts
  • Single enclosure is used for all model variants with ‘break out’ sections to allow for both network and non-network models.

Without a bulky, traditional light source the most striking feature of the LEX exit sign is the slim, ‘blade-like’ appearance in all configurations. This is a dramatic departure from to the typical ‘boxy’ look of most exit signs. Styling is intended to be understated, using tight lines and smooth arcing surfaces to allow the sign to fit seamlessly in both new and existing architectural interiors. The enclosure design also allows for a range of surface finish options to provide architectural specifiers with a greater range of aesthetic options than competitor products.

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