Hot-spots in built-up letters

tower LED Module

The science behind the "hot spot"


Photometric: The shaded area represents the angle and "brightness strength".

Standard LED modules generally produce strong front firing light.

"0" represents the "Hot Spot". Tower LED modules are unique by firing light to the sides, which reflects off the side walls creating uniform bright illumination.

Lighting built up letters can make a significant difference to the overall effect, even make or break a project. One company has addressed one common problem with an innovative solution that makes sure there are no more 'hot spots'!

Khalid Bashir from 3D Sign Systems explains: "How many times have you seen a high quality sign installation but the only factor that makes the sign not so great is the 'hot spots' of light. The traditional method would be to use neon, but this 'art' has been in decline for a number of years for many reasons such as the rising cost of energy. And for many, the newcomer namely LED modules, have been struggling to fill this void satisfactorily. Illuminating small or shallow depth channel letters has been quite difficult and frustrating using standard LEDs. And for this reason many a good sign maker succumbs to compromise. In order to achieve adequate brightness, typically bright LEDs are used, which can create the dreaded hot spots. This is where the sign letter is not uniformly lit but suffers from dimly, and brightly, lit areas. To overcome this problem with hot spots, lesser powerful LEDs can be used, but the quantity of modules tends to increase proportionately, which increases production costs.

"So 3D Sign Systems can offer a product that offers 'hot spot' free illumination and superb levels of brightness with our very unique Tower LED modules. The Tower module uses a very specialised dome lens which reduces the amount of front firing light to the face of the letter, And instead the majority of the light emitted is fired sideways at a much shallower angle. This strong low angle light bounces of the channel sides to produce bright, uniform levels of front face or halo illumination. The end result is a quite impressive even on letters with 40mm depth. The Tower module is equally good on letters with up to 200mm deep channels.

"Unsurprisingly there are quite a high number of signs that deem a retrofit illumination upgrade and the potential to increase revenue in this market is quite high."


Insight LED shines even brighter

Two different LED systems next each otherHighlight Mk5, due out soon, has had further 'improvements made to its efficacy and brightness' going from 2,000 lm/m @ 110 lm/W to 2,024 lm/m @ 120 lm/W. The high performance LEDs, coupled with efficient drivers and a semi circular beam angle-reducing light channel in the extrusion, make Mk5 an 'outstanding performer'.

If you are purchasing any LED system, for any application, efficacy is a very important specification, and is a bit like miles per gallon on a car, only it is brightness per watt of electricity, says the company.

This very bright version of Insight's LEDs, named Hyperbright consumes less than 17 W per metre length. If you want to reduce the energy consumption even further, there is also Ecobright, which is still bright and 'compares favourably with other systems on the market'. It produces 1,038 lm/m but at a very high (good) efficacy of 127 lm/W, consuming just over 8 W per metre. For something in between, there is Superbright, which gives 1,410 lm/m @ 127 lm/W, consuming 11 W per metre.

The new Mk4 profile shape has been very carefully designed to ensure the light is directed on to the sign face. So no angling or tilting required, as angling any light source inward just causes reflection on the sign face, making lettering hard to read. The very latest 3D printing has been utilised to produce many prototypes to ensure that when bulk extrusion is produced, it performs as it should.

Although it was decided to phase fluorescent out, room has been left to be able to house T5 fluorescent lamps and control gear, but T8 will not fit. The profile height has also been reduced to around 50 mm, making it less obtrusive and even easier to handle. An unique joining section also prevents light escaping at joints, supports and seals the unit, and is very easy to use.

The same fixing bracket system is used which has 'proved itself to be the best available for over 30 years'. The channel part has recently been updated on the brackets with a sleeker look, now with a channel for the mains cable to pass through.


NeonPlus - Lighting up with the Sign Group

The Sign Group, who are a trade supplier of signage, LED lighting and cnc/lasercut components have expanded their signage and lighting product range as they have gone from 'strength to strength' over the last year.

This 'enthusiastic company is eager to help about anything related to signs and displays and this versatility has enabled them to create three new roles over the last 12 months, as well as the new ranges'.

The newest product available from The Sign Group is the NeonPlusTM range of illuminated lettering.

The NeonPlusTM range started life when they were developing and tweaking various signage options for a customer who had a vague brief for them to produce slimline illuminated lettering where there were colour and finish options.All with the 'ethos of producing high quality, economical solutions with a modern feel'.

As the products are all manufactured in the UK, The Sign Group had great flexibility to trydifferent things that ended up with them having a large range of 'standard' options to offer their customers.

an illuminated letter shape

"They are brighter, far more versatile and much quicker to produce than any comparible product out there as well as being cheaper," says Graeme Hoole, Production Manager.The NeonPlus illuminated letter range gives you exceptionally high brightness with a very slimline built up profile and is 'perfect' for internal and external signs. It's 'very strong and robust, easy to fit and will outlast other comparible alternatives'.

You have complete control over all other aspects of the letters, according to the company:

Any letter style or shapes, thousands of colour combinations of letter and light and various fixing methods to choose from.

  • 20mm to 30mm letters/shapes manufactured from acrylic to give a flawless finish
  • Various backings including acrylic, aluminium and stainless steel
  • Standard fixings are locators or threaded studs
  • 24v LED illuminates the letters/shapes with over 160 leds p/m, the brightest LED strip there is!
  • All of the products (except NP8) can have coloured acrylic bonded to the face or back if that suits your specification better
  • Dimmers and flasher units can be added for that extra flair

The Sign Group have had all the styles tried and tested in 2014, and they now appear In hundreds of high street retail outlets - see if you can spot them!


eyevis integrates LED modules into software eyeDesign

computer screen showing the software in useWith the release of the version V3 eyevis integrates its new high-quality LED modules into the video wall design and installation software eyeDesign. The software is an all-rounder in design, planning, installation and maintenance of creative video wall installations for showrooms as well as the event, retail and digital signage sector. The integration of the new LED modules is part of the high-quality-concept of the LEDs that also includes integrated image processing as well as precise and robust housing.

The high-quality LED modules supplement eyevis' omniSHAPES and squareTILES in the software and in this way enhance the possibilities for planning and assembly of creative video wall installations. Through the also new external hardware component eyeDesign Box, additional LCD displays, rear projection cubes and projectors by eyevis can be integrated into eyeDesign.

The eyeDesign software allows for the simple planning, configuration and maintenance of creative video wall installations. Already in the design phase the software serves as 'an ideal planning tool'. Due to the CAD-like user interface the video wall installation can be virtually designed with a few clicks. The software automatically calculates the necessary number of displays and displays a first arrangement. Single displays can now freely be moved and repositioned or even be replaced by other display types. In this way the LED modules can for instance be combined with omniSHAPES or squareTILES with a simple click. The exact dimensions of the video wall and the single displays can be displayed, for the exact placement of the content sources even to the pixel.
Content sources can be placed on the video wall layout via drag-&-drop.

The software automatically calculates which image parts have to be assigned to which display. For special video wall shapes and dimensions of a video wall the content can in this way be tested during the layout phase without having to assemble a display. Users can thereby move or rearrange single displays with a click of the mouse. In the user interface the content preview dynamically adjusts to the changes and in this way shows at any time how the content will be displayed on the later wall.

eyeDesign-Box: external image processing for the integration of all eyevis displays and projectors into eyeDesign
In order to be able to integrate all other eyevis displays, rear projection cubes and projectors in addition to LED modules, omniSHAPES and squareTILES into eyeDesign, eyevis recombined the internal image processing hardware in the external eyeDesign-Box. When connected, the eyeDesign-Box makes displays and projectors available in the eyeDesiggn interface. During the planning phase, all eyevis devices can in this way be integrated into a video wall layout through a click of the mouse. Equipped with the same automatic mapping features, the eyeDesign-Box moreover scales the assigned image parts directly onto the respective image area.


LPflex Sign Systems

a lit up sign using LPflex LEDTrade Signs recently launched their new LPflex system, which is new to the UK's sign market. LPflex sign systems provide 'flawless' illumination, and can be manufactured in many lighting styles and combinations to 'cover any demand'.

It is a patented technology and has a lifespan, quality, and consistency matched by no other similar product on the market today, says the company. They say it is simply solid acrylic with embedded LEDs, which offers 'unparalleled possibilities in terms of design and creativity'. It can be used for interior and exterior signage or design elements.

The company said: "LPflex is high-end signage that can be made in a wide variety of striking designs, and is also often used for architectural signage due to its versatility and illumination uniformity. Trade Signs are extremely excited to offer this product to their customers, as this type of signage is highly desirable and an excellent selling tool to those high-end clients."

This new sign systems have a long lifetime, low degeneration and high energy efficiency. Manufacturers of LEDs in general refer to a long lifetime of being up to 100,000 hours and a low cost energy of up to 90 per cent compared to neon lighting, however they do not state anything about degeneration. Some LEDs can lose up to 70 per cent of their initial brightness after just a couple of months, but with LPflex sign systems this isn't the case.

'These sign systems are brilliant for illuminated letters that are 200mm and above, and are also perfect for flagship stores, and small illuminated lettering. Even the smallest of letters can be illuminated with LPflex sign systems. Letters are cut by high-precision router, and laser cutters and look absolutely stunning in any location.'


Greenstock's LED flexible strip

strips of LEDsGreenstock supplies LED flexible strip and accessories for the electrical market.
Embedded on 8mm or 10mm wide flexible tape with a self-adhesive backing and with an extremely low profile, the high brightness LEDs are 'ideal' for a wide range of applications such as architectural and sign lighting.

The LED flexible tape has cut and re-soldering points at marked intervals throughout the tape (every 25mm or 50mm depending on type) allowing the length to be customised by cutting, terminating and re-joining as required. Greenstock also offers a wide range of easy to apply connection accessories including clip on joining connectors in L configuration suitable for fitting tape around corners or in right angle configurations, T pieces and 4 way splitters.

There are multiple grades of tape available offering different light outputs ranging from 4.8 to 19.2 watts per metre at 12V DC, with a correspondingly wide range of lumen outputs. Tape is available in a wide range of standard colours, various whites and in RGB colour changing variants. Standard IP20 and outdoor rated IP65 versions are also available. Greenstock is also able to offer custom colours or alternative IP ratings on request as special order items.

Greenstock offers a wide range of accessories including 12V DC power supplies and LED drivers. LED Dimming units and RGB controllers in both manual and RF remote control options. These enable colour change sequences, adjustment of static colours, strobe speeds and brightness settings of LED strips. And give the ability to change lighting settings to create mood and ambiance.

There are also aluminium profiles ideal for use where the LED is installed in a visible position. These not only act as an enclosure for LED strips but also as a valuable heat sink to the LEDs for increased life. Clear, frosted and opal diffuser styles are then available to clip onto the aluminium profile. There is also a range of controllers available for LED strip.

Where customers have a volume requirement for LED strips, Greenstock offers its U-Connect plug and play system, which creates an easy to install, custom lighting system in a 'cost-effective and high quality package'. For example, Greenstock's U-Connect system can significantly reduce the cost and complexity of customers lighting installations.


Keeping Britain’s 'roads on the move'

A Messagemaker LED traffic sign on the side of a motorwayA new range of traffic information displays, to help eliminate and ease traffic build-ups is available from LED traffic signage company Messagemaker. The displays are designed to keep motorists informed of possible delays ahead on their chosen route in urban and suburban areas.

The displays provide a 'fast and easy' means of communication along specific routes or can be linked to provide information about the local area road network. The signs can also provide a means of giving forward notice to the local community about disruptions arising from scheduled works or forthcoming events.

The Messagemaker displays are designed to be highly flexible, accommodating up to three rows of text as standard and can be read over a wide distance, extending from distances of just 1 metre up to 65 metres.

High efficiency LED's ensure optimum brightness and incorporate automatic controls to adjust levels to suit ambient conditions, saving energy and extending the working life of the displays. Designed to be robust, the range is fitted with high impact screens and high contrast louvre protection to ensure 'maximum reliability'. The displays are supplied complete with software to allow simple reconfiguration to include the programming of different images and text as required.

Available with a standard or UTMC compliant interface, the Messagemaker range offers both wired and wireless options. The units can also be fitted with a self-diagnostic module and optional wig wag amber flashing lights.

Designed and manufactured in the UK to BSEN 12966 standards, Messagemaker's Traffic Information Displays are the ideal solution for urban environments, requiring minimum maintenance, says the company. With the new range of traffic information displays launched into the market, Messagemaker is already working on the next generation products, which could include the capability to include graphics and full matrix displays.


New look Chiplite LED

Chiplite LED X-Series

The Chiplite X-Series of LED modules from Majert, an 'established and popular LED solution for UK sign companies', has been optimised to increase the brightness. This is achievable via the use of the latest generation of chips that also offer lower energy costs.

The modules are also supplied in a new transparent housing. And the terms and conditions of supply have also been enhanced with an extended five-year performance warranty; help to determine the most efficient LED system for customers' specific requirements; and 24-hour delivery on bulk orders.

A choice of eight modules, with or without special optics, accommodate different requirements on illumination and energy consumption across a range of both standard and the more difficult-to-fit applications. The CL-X Series of LED modules have been tested and approved for use in the most extreme temperature conditions (typically –40 up to +85 degrees C). They also carry the CE seal of approval, are RoHS-certified and incorporate an IP65-rated transparent housing for optimum safety and reliability.

Of special interest to sign companies is the CL-XM model. This has been developed specifically for difficult-to-fit corner or serif requirements. With the CL-XO version fitted with special optics that provide an extra-wide (up to 160 degrees) angle of radiation to enable use in light boxes and lettering with a very low depth (typically as small as 30mm).

Another important innovation for sign companies is the CL-ELI module that has been developed especially for illuminating double-sided light boxes. Due to its compact (43x36mm) size, the module can also be used in double-sided circular banners. Available as a soldered chain of 30 LED modules, the system's intensity of illumination can be varied by either pushing the modules together or pulling them apart.


LEDs project into the future

LED-trough-lightsIron Design has launched a new range of slim line LED trough lights to accompany its existing range of projecting signs.

The new LED lighting units will replace the current T5 fluorescent lights, and give a bright uniform beam of light with lower energy consumption and a lifetime of 50,000 plus hours. This green/eco option will be supplied in 600mm lengths, to suit the standard 750mm sign brackets and Curvex sign, and in 850mm lengths to suit the large 1000mm sign brackets. The 600mm lighting units will produce 600 lumen and use only 6 watts per side, and the 850mm lengths will produce 900 lumen and use only 9 watts per side.

The new slim line profile of the lighting unit is far less obtrusive than other similar trough lights on the market, only having a profile width of 53mm x 25mm. This detracts far less from the visual impact of the actual sign. These lights will be available in pairs supplied with a transformer, cables and all the necessary fixings to mount to the projecting sign bracket.


Green Magic introduce exclusive new range of products

Following a break from exhibiting Green Magic is returning to Sign and Digital with several new innovations. The company behind the successful website has consolidated its position as a significant supplier of snap frames, floor sign stands and a host of signage products. Green Magic is exhibiting at this year's show with new ranges not previously seen in the UK.iPad Stands

LED and iPad Innovations

Two of the new products cater for the current popularity of LED signs, especially on secondary shopping streets, and the use of tablet computers in venues such as showrooms and exhibitions. Each is targeted intelligently at its respective market sector with features tailored to appeal to trade and end users alike.

Online resources for trade and end users

The website is now packed with clearly indexed and easy to find information and prices for all Green Magic products. Visitors to the website are guided through the various product groups with clear explanations together with all the details and images needed. The company also stresses that well trained sales staff are also readily available at the end of the phone for advice and assistance.

The website has also seen some significant improvements for registered resellers who can now access special pricing and trade-only offers any time they log in. Trade visitors to stand J64 at Sign and Digital will be able to learn more about accessing this newly introduced facility.

iPad floor stands

Apart from LEDs another example of today's technology revolution is the tablet computer.

The enormous volume of iPad sales has stimulated many new applications including the demand for iPad display stands and kiosks.

As floor sign stands of every type are a mainstay of Green Magic's business they have been on the look-out for new products specifically designed for mounting iPads in a secure, smart and economical way. The new range scores well on all these fronts: the stands are stylish and the prices are very competitive.

A choice of black or white bezel complements respective iPad models and the tablet housing can be rotated quickly from portrait to landscape, and locked in position.

Access to the 'home' button can be restricted to prevent tampering. As well as floor standing versions wall mounted models will be introduced.

Modular LED letters

Modular LED lettering being put together by hand

Flashing LED signs are found everywhere. They are mass produced cheaply with standard messages such as 'OPEN' or 'BAR'. However, if a customised message is required such as 'OPEN TILL 10PM' or 'HARRYS BAR' hitherto a bespoke solution has been required. No longer is that the case: LED Alphabet enables custom signs to be created in moments.

A full alphabet of LED letters and numerals is available ready-made; they simply clip together, plug in and light up. An optional flasher unit can be inserted adjacent to the power connector or midway through the message so that only part of the sign will flash on demand.

There are many opportunities for sale of individual illuminated signs or even for hiring out custom sets of letters for the events and party market.

For more information please call 01489 896999 or visit

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