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Relume wins major lighting awards

Crawford Lipsey, chief executive officer of the Oxford-based Relume Technologies, poses with the two outdoor lighting fixtures that earned awards in the Fifth Annual Next Generation Luminaires Solid-State Lighting Design Competition. The fixtures are called the parkVue (left) and the OXFORD. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
February 27, 2013 - A local manufacturer of light-emitting diode (LED) products is beaming with pride after winning not one, but two awards in a prestigious lighting contest.

"It's the first year we entered and we happened to take home the big award," said Crawford Lipsey, chief executive officer of Relume Technologies (1795 N. Lapeer Rd.) in Oxford Township.

Two of Relume's outdoor LED lighting fixtures received awards in the Fifth Annual Next Generation Luminaires Solid-State Lighting Design Competition.

Relume's OXFORD fixture was one of only four entries – out of the 120 that actually made it to the judging phase – awarded the Best in Class designation.

"To win an award of this magnitude is a real testament to how far the company's come in the last year to year-and-a-half," Lipsey said.

Named after Relume's hometown, the OXFORD is a decorative fixture for acorn luminaires and is designed to light up main streets, municipalities and parking lots.

"This type of fixture is in probably 15 different cities in the State of Michigan," Lipsey said. "It's a new fixture. It's a new design. We expect it to do very well in the market."

The judges were impressed with the OXFORD fixture's glare control, aesthetic and adjustable features.

"For us to take one of these prestigious awards is a real testament to our engineering design and the group here at Relume," Lipsey said.

Lipsey noted it's especially a great honor considering Relume is a relatively new company in the LED lighting industry that's competing against "larger conglomerates that have been around for years."

The other winning Relume fixture is called the parkVUE and it was one of 37 entries to be designated as a "recognized" winner.

To be a recognized winner, a product must be considered worthy of specification, which means it measures up in many different areas including color, appropriate illuminance, light distribution, glare control, appearance, serviceability, value and energy efficiency.

Other factors are considered and evaluated such as power quality, lumen maintenance, flexibility, innovation and controllability.

The parkVUE is designed for parking structures, canopies, tunnels and downlight applications.

"This garage fixture is in multiple applications now across the country including the new Macy's parking garage in Columbus, Ohio," Lipsey said. "We have thousands of these fixtures installed (in various places)."

The competition's judges were impressed with the glare control, light output and distribution of the fixture.

A total of 176 outdoor lighting products were proposed for submission in the competition, but only 151 were approved to continue on. Out of those, only 120, representing 42 different manufacturers, made it to the judging phase.

"The competition is extremely stiff," Lipsey noted. "It's one of the strongest judging panels in the lighting industry."

Of the 120 products judged, 37 were chosen as recognized winners and four of those went on to receive Best in Class status because they stood out significantly above the other recognized products. Most of the categories did not have a product that was awarded the Best in Class distinction.

Relume Technologies was founded in 1994 as a research and development company. It started manufacturing its products in 2004 with only three employees.

Today, the company employs 65 people, most of whom live in or around Oxford.

"If we do continue at the pace we're going, we will have to look for a larger facility than this," Lipsey said. "We introduced about 20 new products last year. We'll introduce about 10 or 15 more new products this year."

Right now, Relume has a 45,000-square-foot space, which houses its offices and manufacturing operations. It also has a 3,000-square-foot showroom next door at 1785 N. Lapeer Rd.

LEDs, which are semiconducting devices that emit light when voltage is applied, are widely considered to be much more energy-efficient, cost-effective, longer-lasting, more durable and environmentally-friendly than traditional lighting.

"You're going to save anywhere from 50 to 90 percent in energy using LEDs," Lipsey explained. "The second big (advantage) is maintenance. LEDs can last for seven to 10 years before they need to be replaced."

Traditional light sources such as incandescent products last six months to a year whereas high-intensity discharge lamps can last three to fours, according to Lipsey.

Relume's technology is used in municipal lighting, commercial signage, outdoor advertising, transportation and U.S. military applications.

"We did battlefield flood lighting in both the Afghan and Iraq wars," Lipsey said. "We also did (lighting) for portable command centers and hospitals. These are the ones they drop out of helicopters onto the battlefield. We did the LED lighting for those buildings."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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