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Lighting Gets Smarter: LG CNS Smart Lighting Solution for Energy Conservation
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LG CNS smart lighting solution

Last July, LG solution announced that they were developing their own smart lighting solution which can dramatically reduce energy expenditure. This is a lighting system using IT, and it replaced the old 530,000 florescent bulbs with LED lamps at the LG Display establishment located in Paju and Gumi, South Korea. This was the biggest project in the world for LED replacement and has resulted in excellent numbers in energy conservation. Today, we’ll take a look at what this smart lighting solution is.

What is LED Lighting?

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LED (Light Emitting Diode) is a device that helps fine semiconductors that are protected in plastic emit light. It is basically a compound semiconductor that emits light when getting an electric signal. It can also emit various colors of light by adjusting the compound of the source of the light.

LED lamps last longer than incandescent light bulbs and florescent light bulbs despite their lower energy consumption. They’re also more eco-friendly as they don’t use any heavy metals like mercury. Since LED lamps don’t require any kind of filament, their energy efficiency is higher and produces less waste from the filament, which uses more energy for its byproduct, heat, than for its actual purpose of producing light. LED lamps in contrast, efficiently convert power to light. Compared to incandescent bulbs (5%) and florescent bulbs (40%), their efficiency (90%) is surprisingly high. They can also be considered financially reasonable because their maintenance costs are remarkably low. Though not many people use LED due to its expensive cost, it definitely costs less in the long run, which is one of the reasons why I expect it to become the most popular form of lighting equipment soon.

The Structure of Smart Lighting Systems Using LED Lamps

Now that we know what LED lighting is, let’s see what an LED smart lighting system looks like.

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Structure of a smart lighting system
(Source: Environmental Energy Technology Division (EETD)

Smart lighting systems largely consist of a user terminal, administrative terminal, arithmetic and control unit, server, LED, and sensors. The following is a brief introduction on what each of them does.

User terminal

It uses a wireless connection to the arithmetic and control unit in the internal network in order to be portable. It’s also connected to the server through an outer network over the internet, where the user can enter/control the illumination intensity.

Administrative terminal

The administrative terminal is directly connected to the server. It has additional monitoring functions such as securing power and regional luminance information besides the basic functions that the user terminal has.

Arithmetic and control unit

It controls the requested illumination intensity through a Windows/Android based application program and the light sensor’s illumination intensity from the server using a smart light control algorithm.

Server

This is connected to the user terminal or the administrative terminal in order to get both requested illumination intensity and current intensity information. It also saves the level of power consumption around the clock and transfers information on the current illumination intensity from the arithmetic and control units to the administrative terminal.

Smart Lighting System Effect

Existing incandescent and florescent bulbs consume more energy than LED lamps. They also have to be controlled manually one by one, and this becomes problematic when there are dozens to hundreds of bulbs to be managed. This is why people have decided to adopt new lighting operation systems using sensors and an arithmetic/control unit called a smart lighting system.

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Application of smart lighting system (Source: digital lumens website)

Unlike existing incandescent and florescent lights that have to be managed manually, LED lamps can be controlled digitally. The digital control provides ‘On/Off’ and ‘PWM (Pulse with Modulation)’ for luminescence adjustment. The sensors enable the system to recognize their surroundings and react to certain changes as well. Though you could control the light spot by spot, now you can check and control the lighting condition anywhere using a smart phone or other communication equipment. Now this is a new, more convenient lighting environment which works for the people.

Replacing the old lights to this new system in Paju and Gumi LG Display establishments not only resulted in reduced energy consumption, but also higher efficiency in energy management. It lowered the energy consumption by 40% and saved a total of 6.8 million dollars in electricity bills and maintenance expenses.  As the system provides other various functions, now they can control their lights in a more scrupulous manner. Although all they had with the old lighting were ‘on’ and ‘off’, they now have 7 different levels with illumination intensity, zone control and light reservation functions based on operating hours, a power consumption monitoring function, and the data analysis function.

Tell Us More about the Smart Lighting System!

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Jae-Seung Lee, Chief of LG CNS EA Team, Jae-Woo Jung, University Reporter for LG CNS

I had an interview with Mr. Lee from LG CNS which developed this smart lighting system and asked him for more details. I’d like to share some of my interview with you.

Q. I understand that you need different types of sensors besides LED in order to change the lighting according to the people in the room, weather, time period, and location. What are the sensors that you use and what kind of technology is required for those sensors? 

A. We have two types of sensors: Motion sensors and illumination sensors

Motion sensors read if there are people in the room in order to turn a light on or off, and the illumination sensors control indoor illumination according to how bright it is outside. Our establishments have two illumination sensors for each window so the luminescence intensity can be controlled according to the sunlight coming in from the outside. Offices usually keep their lights at around 300-500lux and the Korean standard is 400lux. If it becomes darker than 300lux, the illumination sensors detect it and adjust the indoor lights to the right level out of seven different levels. Since this automatic sensor system is not enough sometimes, we also have the administrator who controls the lights with a PC. That way, we can change the light based on the company’s scheduled hours of operation.

Q. Your smart lighting system resulted in drastic energy conservation. Is there anything you’d like to improve in the current system?

Business factors are as important as the technical aspects. Since Korea’s law categorized this business as only available for smaller businesses, we can only change the lighting system in LG’s own establishments except for just a few cases. We’re looking to penetrate the global market with our technology rather than in the domestic market for this reason.

Q. The smart lighting system is currently established in Paju and Gumi LG Display. Are there any other places planned?

LG Siltron factory in Guri is currently in process. We also have other projects abroad.

Q. Now that all lighting equipment is connected to the central system, what happens if the central system breaks down?  

It is designed to enable manual control when there’s an error in the central control system so it won’t paralyze the entire office.

Q. The smart lighting system using IT emerged as a part of LG’s smart green solution project. Will there be other energy conservation systems launched?

LG Siltron realized that SI establishments were not enough to break the stagnation in the market and decided to come up with a converged management system for energy, the environment, and security all together. Other than this lighting system, we have a solution for managing an entire building’s environment by controlling temperatures and humidity using sensors. This solution can be expanded for use in factories and logistics centers as well. Such an integrated system can go beyond mere buildings in the future and manage an entire district or even a city. We’re expecting this project to grow in the international market as well based on the experience we’ve gained in this country.

Q. Lastly, is there anything you’d like to tell students who are interested in IT and smart lighting systems?

It is important to learn how to apply basic principles to the real world and sense rapid changes besides just schooling because developing a new project in a company requires such abilities. You not only have to be an expert in what you do, but also good at engineering and sensing great new items for the business in order for you to meet the clients’ needs and start new projects. Try to gain deeper knowledge of your major while trying to look at the world from various points of view based on the knowledge you’ve gained. That way, you’ll become a great businessman or an engineer that every company will notice.

Today, I introduced the smart lighting system. Although this system is used only in a few establishments, I expect it to spread to more industrial locations, as well as offices and homes in the near future. Homes especially could use a new lighting system that considers a families’ quality time together. I look forward to seeing this smart lighting system grow and provide us with a more comfortable and convenient way of living.

Written by Jae-Woo Jung, University Reporter for LG CNS

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