Re-inventing Fiber Optic Lighting
Singapore – Mumbai, 24th November 2009
About a decade ago Fiber Optic Lighting (FOL) was one of the leading, energy saving, lighting technologies around. It was the trendy and innovative lighting solution of the nineties. LED lighting was still far beyond the horizon. Many players launched themselves into manufacturing FOL solutions for all types of applications with some obvious benefits such as in showcases, museum displays, etc. Each major manufacturer had to have FOL systems in their product range to compete in the lighting market. But the highly specialized nature of FOL in the end created a market with only a very few specialized manufacturers (*).
But now, 10 years on, what has happened to the FOL manufacturers? How is the fast growing LED technology affecting their business? I was pleased to see that one of the FOL manufacturers that visited me today in Singapore to update me on their latest product developments, has taken up the gauntlet and has dived seriously into the LED challenge. But what pleased me most was their understanding that key to success is assuring the quality of the lighting effects such as the colour qualities and the beam qualities of the lighting. Initiallly developing LED alternative lighting solutions to their FOL systems, they are now in full R&D developing LED driven FOL systems. It is obvious that the challenge will be how to control the LED light beam into the fiber optic harness. I can’t wait to see the results. Gone will be the days of colour wheels (like the colour filters have mostly gone from traditional stage lighting). There are already laser driven FOL systems so I can only assume LED/FOL is just around the corner. A great example of re-inventing a technology.
Note (*): I am deliberately not mentioning any manufacturers in order to keep the blog neutral. I believe my fellow lighting designers will know who they are anyhow. ..also I do not wish to be seen as favoring one over an another.