Developed by LumiLeds (a Philips Lighting – Agilent Technologies joint venture), SnapLED represents an important innovation in LED assembly and packaging that has, for the first time, enabled high-powered solid state LED emitters to become a superior alternative to the traditional incandescent light bulb for use in automotive signal applications.
In recent years LEDs have gained considerable adoption in certain automotive signal applications (principally the Center High Mount Stop Lamp). LEDs offer faster turn-on times for improved safety, lower power consumption and significantly better reliability, over comparable incandescent bulbs. However, until the development of SnapLED, LEDs with enough power to be bright enough for use in signal lighting have been extremely difficult and expensive to mount to a suitable substrate that could dissipate the resulting heat. LumiLeds’ has solved this problem through its innovative use and refinement of a cold metal-forming fastening technique in which a high powered LED is “clinched” directly to a thin, flexible copper substrate instead of being soldered to a printed circuit board as has historically been the case with solid state devices.
By combining both a mechanical and electrical connection into a single process, LumiLed has created an extremely bright, very robust unit that can be configured into extremely thin packages as little as one sixth the depth of conventional incandescent signal lamps. This offers OEMs a new alternative with greatly improved design flexibility, lower manufacturing and warranty costs, reduced assembly complexity, and improved space utilization over both existing LED offerings and conventional incandescent units.
Prior to the introduction of SnapLED all Front Turn Signal and Rear Combination Lamps have used incandescent bulbs. The 1999 Hyundai Equus was the first application of SnapLED in a Front Turn Signal Lamp. The recently introduced 2000 Cadillac Deville uses SnapLED for the full Rear Combination Lamp function. Next year two more vehicles using SnapLED will be introduced in Europe and the company is currently working on over a dozen new programs with major lighting suppliers and OEMs on a worldwide basis.
Through its development of SnapLED technology, LumiLeds is lighting the way for widespread industry adoption of high-powered LEDs in automotive signal applications and in the process, “changing the rules of the game”.