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  • LED Advance to Mean Freedom from Binning
Mar 2011
SAN JOSE, Calif., March 4, 2011 — A new advance from Philips Lumileds is promising to simplify the design process for LED solutions, which could mean an end to the binning process. The company said its Luxeon LEDs are tested and binned in real-world operating conditions so that their performance outcomes in terms of color, light output and efficacy are already known.

Luxeon S power LED (Image: Business Wire)

In 2008, a bin standard (ANSI C78 377A1) was established that has become a minimum requirement for Energy Star certification. The LED coating processes (epitaxial growth and phosphors) can create significant inherent variations that impact the lumens, color temperature and voltage. Because of this production variation, LED manufacturers adhere to the practice of binning to maximize effective utilization in production, performance, cost and lead time.

“By combining our unique TFFC [thin-film flip-chip] and Lumiramic phosphor technologies with new manufacturing capabilities that allow us to ‘hot’ test and color bin, Philips Lumileds’ ‘Freedom From Binning’ program is charting a new course for the LED manufacturing industry to follow and moving us ever closer to the lighting industry,” said Michael Holt, CEO of Philips Lumileds. “At random, I can lay a thousand of these new Luxeon in a straight line, and the consistency and color quality from LED to LED will be as good or better as what you would see with many of the bulbs in use today.”

While typical data sheets present specifications for LEDs operating at 25 °C, the actual operating temperature is closer to 85 °C (sometimes higher), so the performance numbers reported are essentially overstated. Luxeon products that offer freedom from binning are tested at 85 °C so that the actual color point and performance numbers are known.

“We sacrifice the marketing value of higher lumen and efficacy numbers for accuracy and confidence,” said Holt. “We can calculate performance at lower temperatures, but that would defeat the point and potentially mislead.”

Most data sheets from LED manufacturers include the information required to understand performance at elevated temperatures, and the industry can make real-world comparisons between products.

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Combining adjacent pixels into one larger pixel, resulting in increased sensitivity and lower resolution, or, in image analysis, excluding objects based on shape, position or area.
color temperature
A colorimetric concept related to the apparent visual color of a source (not its temperature). For a blackbody, the color temperature is equal to the temperature in kelvin.
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