Mechanical Solutions in the Luminaires

The durability of a luminaire depends on the mechanic implementation and the chosen materials. The mechanical solutions need to be spot-on for luminaires intended for outdoor lighting and the long haul. These solutions must be able to stand wind, snow, ice, rain, sunshine, and pollution.
On basis of past experience from traditional street light luminaires we know that plastic should not be used in load bearing structures. Aluminium is preferable in basic structure materials in order to meet the 30-year lifespan expectancy. The metals must also be compatible, in order for them not to corrode each other.

In addition to burned out bulbs and regular 2-4 year mass replacements, traditional luminaires are bound to become faulty, for the following reasons:
  • The screw fastenings of the electrical wires are loose.
  • The plastic cover of the luminaire darkens from the heat of the light source.
  • The plastic cover of the luminaire gets broken.
  • Dirt gets into the luminaire, dirtying the reflector and the cover from the inside..
  • The connecting device breaks down.

The Impact of LEDs into the Mechanical Structure of the Luminaires

Thermal control, and dust and moisture proofness are central issues when we want long lifecycles with as little need for maintenance as possible for our LEDs. The reliability and lifespan of the LEDs increase with lower operating temperatures, which is the opposite of traditional lamps, which work best at high temperatures. The long lifespan offered by the LEDs cannot be utilised, if dust gets into the LEDs or the optical inner structures. Subsequently it is essential to cover the LED structure and modules from dust and moisture. The IP classification needs to be IP65 or above.

The LED components do not emit UV light as traditional light sources do, which keeps the optical plastic parts in the LED luminaire clear substantially longer than in traditional luminaires. When the thermal control in the LED luminaire has been taken care of, neither will the heat darken and age the plastic.

Mechanical Structures in the Valopaa Luminaires

The metals used in Valopaa luminaires are aluminium and stainless or acid steel.  All visible aluminium parts are either powder coated or anodised in order to preserve the look throughout the entire lifespan. Aluminium grants heat transfer from the LEDs to the surrounding air, a long life and relatively light structures. Stainless steel is used in structures requiring extraordinary strength. The fasteners are acid steel.

Plastic is used in the lenses for aligning the lighting and the encapsulation. There are two material options for the lenses, the optically high-quality acryl and polycarbonate, which endures mechanical stress well and has UV protection. The mechanical measures of the lenses are small and alongside the durability of the plastic, the protection against vandalism is superior compared to traditional luminaires. The electronic encapsulation uses the same materials as the car industry has been using for ages. The encapsulation class is IP65. The connecting devices are either IP65 or alternatively, all peripheral electronics are always cased in a manner fulfilling the required encapsulation classes.

Screw connections are avoided in Valopaa luminaires. Connections between modules are carried out with clamps or springs. The clamp connections are filled with oil/gel when the connection needs to be protected against dust and moisture. The input wires are normally also connected to the spring connections.

Valopaa luminaires and VPM LED modules are replaceable. The LED modules can be discharged and recycled at the end of the lifecycle. The aluminium body of the VPM1 Led module is recycled aluminium. The connection device is placed as far away from the heat of the LED modules as possible in order to ensure durability.