“LED trifft Print”: Smart lighting solutions

LED lights are true champions in terms of saving energy. Compared to conventional light bulbs, LED lights that are used effectively allow energy savings of over 80 per cent. But this technology does not work for all lighting applications. There has not yet been a practical and sustainable solution for illuminated frame systems, for example, such as those used in display windows. Baumgarten Handelsvertretung (Commercial Services) devoted themselves to filling this gap in the market: under the title of “LED trifft Print” (LED meets print), the wholesaler for the printing and advertising industry has developed an elegant solution for LED frame systems, which saves on resources and thus reduces CO2 emissions.

Everyone knows the free-hanging posters in aluminium frames that are displayed in the windows of banks and other businesses. So far, the lack of sustainable solutions for the energy-intensive illuminated frame systems these they use has meant high energy costs and a poor carbon footprint. The “LED trifft Print” (LED meets print) project plans to change this state of affairs – and provides improved lighting for advertising spaces in the process. In this case, as in many other areas of application, LED technology makes it possible to save energy and at the same time improve quality. Instead of lighting posters diffusely, light produced by LEDs can be fed from the side into an acrylic glass panel placed behind the poster. This allows the poster to be illuminated extensively and take on the luminosity and the presentation quality of a monitor. This has clear benefits for the user: the solution means that the posters can be used in very dark or reflecting display windows and can still be read easily at night.

Engine for progress:

  • Reusing instead of recycling aluminium frames saves five kilograms of aluminium per frame
  • High application potential
  • Cost-effective solution encourages conversion to LED

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Photo: Baumgarten Handelsvertretung

The thinnest LED lighting surface that can currently be produced is four millimetres thick and has a lifespan of around 40,000 operating hours.

Reusing aluminium frames saves resources

The steel and aluminium frames that are used by various banks are design classics and relatively narrow in form. The previous solutions for LED side-emitting lighting need more space, however, meaning that the frames would have to be completely replaced by new ones in the course of conversion to LED. Producing new aluminium frames has an enormous impact on the environment and the climate, however, since each frame contains five kilograms of aluminium, even though they appear to be so light. One kilogram of primary aluminium accounts for more than 16 kilograms of carbon emissions.

This is where the solution from “LED trifft Print” comes in. Instead of replacing the frames, they are adjusted slightly and a thin acrylic glass panel with a finer resolution and integrated LED lighting is inserted. This makes it possible to continue using the existing frame and saves a lot of materials and money. After conversion, the individual posters and components can still be replaced easily, the LEDs are simple to change and the entire frame can be taken apart and recycled once it is no longer needed.

Saving resources, energy and money

The solution developed for this seemingly minor problem by the three-man company has a remarkable climate protection effect: some 40 banks and savings banks have already taken advantage of the option to convert to LED, involving 1,424 frame systems, meaning that a total of 4.5 tonnes of aluminium have been reused. Compared to recycling the aluminium, this equates to a saving of around 15 tonnes in CO2 emissions. In addition, the option of reusing the frames has been the primary factor to persuade some users to seriously consider converting to LED lighting. Reusing frames is also cheaper than installing new ones: a saving of 200 euros per frame is made – that equates to savings of 284,000 euros in the case of the banks and savings banks that have already converted to LED lighting.

Photo: Baumgarten Handelsvertretung

“The existing frame system in savings banks was given the German "Die Gute Industrieform" award (good industrial design award). Hardly any other system made it as easy and fast to change posters as this system did. The only drawback was that the posters were not illuminated. I liked the lightness of the frames so much that we spent a year working on a new design of the product to suit modern times. In the meantime, we had already given up on the project. It was the renewed request from Düsseldorf Savings Bank that gave a further boost to our efforts and this led to the current solution.”

Uwe Baumgarten, LED trifft Print