As the first fixture of its kind, the LED Vapor Tight fixture co-developed by NICOR Inc. (VT1) and Shat-R-Shield (LV) was specifically designed using thermally engineered polymers for corrosion and UV resistance in harsh environments able to withstand moisture, dust and salt spray. This high-efficiency luminaire, weighing only 5 pounds, delivers more than 100 lumens per watt and offers two packages with approximately 3500 and 7000 lumens. It’s ideal for use in marine facilities, natatoriums, industrial facilities, food processing plants, wastewater treatment plants, cold storage, parking garages, wash-down areas, tunnels and subways, construction sites, airports and other harsh environment applications.
Building upon a personal relationship with Shat-R-Shield, NICOR became aware of its desire for developing a harsh environment LED product. As a result, NICOR’s COO and lead design engineer, Doug Welter, presented a physical design concept model and collaborated with Shat-R-Shield’s product development manager, Don Cattoni, to fill that need. After further discussion and review, a joint development agreement was born. By leveraging NICOR’s manufacturing channels in conjunction with Shat-R-Shield’s strong knowledge of advanced polymer technology, an LED Vapor Tight fixture (VT1/LV) was created. The fixture is manufactured with thermally conductive, engineered polymers specifically designed to withstand moisture, dust and harsh environments in applications where exposure is detrimental to the life of the luminaire. It was decided that costs would be shared and the product would be co-marketed to their respective markets, as there is little overlap.
A great deal of design effort went into the project since this was such a revolutionary design configuration. NICOR began with extensive thermal simulation modeling to define what specific properties were required of the polymers. Optical engineering, based upon proven NICOR LED products, was also applied to the new fixture. The mechanical design process carefully considered the thermal, mechanical, and optical systems, as well as how to provide water drainage paths so the fixture could ultimately be NSF certified, used in wash-down installations and stand up to corrosive environments. Several prototypes were built on which extensive engineering tests were performed until the current LED vapor tight (VT1/LV) was launched at LIGHTFAIR 2015.
“Initially, manufacturing presented many challenges as the new thermally conductive polymers were very difficult to mold. We worked very closely with our manufacturing partners to modify equipment and processes to achieve the final product,” remarks Welter. “We also wanted to use the very leading edge of LED technology to achieve maximum efficiency. This required careful design and testing to maintain high efficacy and reliability in this new fixture configuration. Even working with the testing labs proved challenging, as in some cases UL had not worked with a fixture like this before so some testing had to be modified.”
“By conjoining the assets and talents of the two companies, we were able to create a product that is unique to anything else on the market,” says Tom Salter, vice president of marketing and product development at Shat-R-Shield. “We are thrilled to have received recognition with an Innovation Award and look forward to providing our customers with a viable solution for a variety of industry applications.”