17. Aug 2015

Zumtobel update 2015

It is something of a challenge to find an appropriate way of describing a lighting concern and market leader in a few words. This is especially true when the measures undertaken under difficult economic circumstances to re-orientate the company are now beginning to take effect – in every way imaginable. Nevertheless, if asked to attempt to sum up the current situation and atmosphere within the company in one sentence, I would go for: optimism is returning to the Zumtobel Group!

In spite of technical innovations, and the new knowledge gained about the importance of light, it was certainly alarming for an established industry to register that for years profit margins were slowly but surely melting away, even though the prospects all seemed to be geared for success. But when a gold-rush spirit hits the market any number of new, and even unexpected competitors, are likely to show up, and plans made by mainstay companies do not bear the expected fruit. There is then basically no other choice but to align with current market conditions. For Zumtobel that meant finding new ways forward, which de facto meant refocussing on their existing strengths. Under the leadership of CEO Ulrich Schumacher, the Austrian lighting group has adopted a coherent multi-brand strategy – a “lighting ecosystem”, as it says in the new corporate vision – to create unique value for its customers. And given that the Zumtobel Group have been able to communicate this strategy in a convincing way over the last few months, their selfconfidence and assuredness that this is going to work are increasing – along with their growing corporate success.

What this means when it comes to new products and concepts was demonstrated within the framework of the large-scale customer event in Dornbirn and Bregenz. The triumvirate of the lighting world – Zumtobel, Thorn and Tridonic – have repositioned their brands in order to be able to respond to market requirements to an optimum. The Zumtobel Group see themselves as a leading global player offering innovative and high-quality lighting solutions and lighting components. The Group pursues a multi-brand strategy that allows it to provide ist customers – with many of whom it enjoys close, long-standing relations – with a comprehensive range of products and services. The product portfolios of the Thorn and Zumtobel brands, which are positioned differently within the luminaire sector, are marketed by a single sales organisation. This allows customers to profit from a very broad spectrum of products across the full range of applications in professional indoor and outdoor lighting, including lighting control components and systems.

One of the new exterior products from Zumtobel presented in Dornbirn was a bit of a surprise, however. There had apparently been some discussion within the Group which concluded with the conviction that – besides the Thorn brand ranges, which have a stronger focus on cost effectiveness – a premium produc would stand a good chance on the market. What was presented indicates that there is still room for some finetuning. The in-house team need to get their heads together to optimise this particular outdoor range. The size of the luminaire in comparison to the pole raised a lot of eyebrows – or was so future-oriented that nobody understood what it was all about. Small-dimensioned LED solutions do not necessarily have to end up being the smallest ever luminaire perched on the top of a pole. By contrast, the concepts behind the Thorn brand are on a grand scale. Thorn are already deeply committed to the digitalisation of cities idea. In the framework of the event Thorn unveiled their 3D live version of the popular online Smart City experience. The 3D model brings to life the online experience which was first launched in 2012. Designed to make it easy for customers to visualise urban lighting, it incorporates real case studies and recommendations of the most energy efficient products for any application. The trend in general is towards energy saving and user-oriented lighting solutions. Pioneers such as Thorn are now awaiting the big breakthrough: requests and orders for smart city concepts. The market is typically still a bit on the sluggish side at this moment in time. But there are some pilot projects underway that demonstrate the scope of digital lighting in smart cities very well. Sister company Tridonic makes for a congenial partner when it comes to developing such concepts. The company presented three LED systems that support luminaire manufacturers with appropriate component solutions.

1. Light management via the cloud – connecDIM is a lighting management system solution for industrial and commercial applications, which can be easily integrated into any environment. The system, which comprises connecDIM Gateway and connecDIM Cloud, combines cost efficiency and user friendliness with decentralised lighting-based surveillance and control from anywhere in the world.

2. Data transfer via the mains – The devices in the new TALEXXdriver PREMIUM range are more efficient, more compact and offer more functions. One of the highlights of the new functions is the digital ready2mains interface which enables the existing power cable to be used for data transfer. This means that an existing non-dimmable LED lighting system can be upgraded to a dimmable system without the need for any additional wiring.

3. Miniaturisation for light rails / track – The latest milestone in luminaire design is Tridonic’s TALEXXengine DC String, an LED solution in which the AC/DC converter and DC/DC component go their separate ways. The AC/DC converter, which takes up a lot of space, is separated from the conventional LED driver and installed in a superordinate central location. The system supports the trend towards the miniaturisation of LED luminaires, increasing design scope and facilitating installation.

But back to Thorn: with regard to product development Thorn is not only top when it comes to technical quality. Product design is also an issue they dedicate attention to. Zoar, designed by Daniel Libeskind, is a fine example. Libeskind himself describes the exterior luminaire as “… a striking slim profile and elegant column package with continuous geometries from the lantern to the column”. Libeskind is not unknown in the lighting world. At the same time, he maintains his own style when designing different fixtures, which Zoar demonstrates perfectly. The compact Supersystem spotlight range has been further developed to create a modular system for challenging lighting concepts. The LED lighting system boasts maximum flexibility and virtually unlimited scope for design. Replaceable lenses ensure convenient and easy adjustment of the system to changed conditions. Three spotlight sizes with a diameter of 25, 45 and 65 millimetres are available in the housing colours white, black and silver. Lenses developed for various lighting concepts and a variety of high-precision tools such as a Vario lens, glare control accessories, honeycomb mesh, barn doors and wallwashers have been added to the existing portfolio.



Slotlight from Zumtobel

For pendant, surface and recess mounting
Consistent continuous row system with
one-metre to 20-metre diffusers
Uniform spread of light, even in corner situations

Silver housing, opal polycarbonate diffuser
Frames and spacers available to facilitate
installation and ensure uniform appearance
Optionally available with presence detection

Luminous efficacy of up to 92 lm/W
Colour temperature: 3000K or 4000K
Colour rendering: Ra > 80
LED and optics IP 54
Service life: 50,000 hours


Supersystem from Zumtobel

High-precision accent lighting at 4, 10 or 15 watts
Three spotlight sizes with a diameter of 25, 45 or 65 millimetres
Selection of lenses, reflectors and filters Wallwasher, batten luminaire

Housing colours: white, black and silver
For interior and exterior application
LED spots rotatable through 360° and
tiltable through 90°
Colour temperature: warm white (3000 K)
and neutral white (4000 K)

Excellent colour rendering: Ra > 90
Service life: 50,000 hours
Extensive range of accessories: anti-glare
tube, ring louvre, honeycomb louvre,
‘picture framing’, barn doors

My opinion:

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