The right LED casing
LED tube lights come in many different sizes and shapes, there is also great variance in material as well. This can often be confusing for new players in the LED market as much of the knowledge of these material’s strengths and weaknesses are taken for granted. What is the right LED casing for tube lights? The main five materials that are being dealt in the market right now are: the Polycarbonate (PC) with aluminium back casing, the Full PC casing, the PC with aluminium heat-sink casing, the Nano-plastic casing and finally the glass casing. Lets look through these, present their strength and weaknesses and then make a decision which is overall the best casing.
PC casing with Aluminium back
To start with, the PC with aluminium back has the advantage that the aluminium directly contacts the PCB. This gives it great heat dissipation which is important for LED excess heat has a negative affect on their lifespan. Also the aluminium back provides good structural support meaning only a great amount of force can cause bending. Yet there also a few disadvantages present. Firstly the cost is probably highest of all LED tube-lights’ casings. This is not only due to the increased amount of aluminium used in the casing but also due to the fact that the casing can unintentionally cause electric shock if it is exposed to the electric circuit inside. A unavoidable possibility sometimes. This means the certification for these casing is often long and complicated, indirectly increasing their cost.
Full PC casing
The full PC casing on the other hand does not have this safety issue as it’s metal parts are completely isolated within the tube and therefore make it entirely safe to work with at all times. Also it’s ultra simple design means that it is a very cost effective option for consumers. However, this low cost comes at a price. The little aluminium it does use is directly embedded into the reserved slot cover, inside the PC housing; consequently it’s thermal conductivity and heat dissipation are very poor. Also, especially in the longer tubes, it can begin to bend from it’s own weight and begin to deform and discolor from the uneven heat dissipation. Overall both these factors contribute to shortening this tubes lifespan. Though the market demand is still high thanks to the relatively low price and generally high safety level provided by this casing.
PC with internal Aluminium heat-sink
The next tube is much more all-round and practically the combination of the former two. The PC with aluminium heat-sink casing looks almost identical to the Full PC casing, but it has a key difference. Inside the casing there is a internal aluminium strip; the aluminium substrates are embedded onto the aluminium strip. Therefore no part of the aluminium is revealed externally, meaning this tube is isolated and does not pose a threat of electric threat, unlike the aluminium back casing. The aluminium strip that acts as a heat-sink, increasing heat conductivity and accordingly increasing heat dissipation, unlike the full PC casing. This is why manufacturers produce this casing for their LED tube-lights as it seems to have no outstanding weaknesses however there is one. It is the second most costly casing to use which may turn off some clients.
The Nano-plastic casing maybe the solution to this problem. The right led casing for all. The Nano-plastic casing first appeared on the market at the end of 2015. Even now it has already attracted much interest across the market and much praise for key aspects it excels in. Nano-Plastic’s key aspects are excellent performance emitting a smooth, even light while maintaining a high transmittance level. The normal PC cases discussed before all struggle to do this. Frosted cover reduces the lumen transmittance and it’s clear cover emits a harsh glare that is hard on peoples’ eyes. Furthermore it has a higher ductility. Even with out the support of aluminium, it will not deform, bend further than PC and respond to pressure better.
Nano-plastic also has higher heat conductivity and dissipates heat more evenly avoiding discoloration and deformation. On top of these strengths it is one of the most cost competitive casings on the market (Likely to become cheaper in the future). To close Nano-plastic seems to have no obvious weaknesses, still because it has only been a short time on the market it does not have as many certifications as other casings. This is preventing it from becoming the most cost effective casing on the market. This will easily change with time, however, as Nano-plastic is forecast to become very popular in the near future.
Finally we will touch on glass casings as many manufacturers still provide glass LED tube-lights. On a glance, the glass casing seems very attractive. It is still often the most cost effective casing and it also has numerous strengths over PC as well. Glass has good heat conductivity and generally high heat dissipation. It can’t deform or colour and unlike aluminium can’t conduct electricity. Therefore avoiding unintentional electric shock. Additionally it is completely flame retardant providing a extra safety feature.
Yet that is where the advantages end. Glass is notoriously fragile and even when precautions are made to guarantee safe travel (gas filled layers in the packaging etc.), this still cannot be assured breakage won’t happen. More than that, glass can also be a hazard when installing/removing the light. If it is dropped or cracked during those processes it can easily harm the people working with it. Also as Nano-plastic gets more popular with manufacturers glass will no longer be the holder of most cost effective position and consequently lose it’s main selling point. Arguably it is a much wiser step to gradually phase out glass from all product lines in the future. It certainly is not the right LED casing.
In conclusion Nano-plastic seems to be the right led casing material to be adding to product lines the world round. Even for new players on the market it is a smart choice as it is relative cheap and has no outstanding weaknesses. Read about it more here. Adversely glass casing is definitely the wrong step to be making at this point. With low cost being it’s made selling point, it is soon to be out-classed by Nano-plastic casings.