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June 24, 2012 | Tom Ballard

LED North America showing new prototype at international event in Seattle

LED North America’s Andrew Wilhelm is in Seattle today demonstrating the company’s newest prototype at a major building conference and expo.

Wilhelm, who helped found LED North America (LEDNA) three years ago, is participating in the three-day “Every Building Conference and Expo” hosted by the Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA) and Buildings magazine. It started Sunday and ends tomorrow.

The venue is a natural for LEDNA. It is billed as the commercial real estate industry’s premier event . . . (focused on) . . . opportunities to increase operational performance, reduce costs and enhance net operating income. This year’s theme is “Achieving High Performance through Innovation.”

In an interview late last week, Wilhelm showed the two-module prototype that will be displayed in the exhibit hall in Seattle. He also has plans for one- and three-module units, although Wilhelm believes the single unit will be the most popular.

The “Trinity High Bay” line has customized optics and can deliver 11,860 usable lumens per module, compared the first generation of LEDNA lights that produced less than 8,000 lumens. The Gen 2 unit weighs six pounds compared to the Gen 1 unit that weighed between 22 and 25 pounds, based on configuration.

“It took a year of testing and retesting” to produce the Gen 2 prototype, Wilhelm said. “It will be the smallest, lightest weight passive system on the market.”

He explained that the latest version incorporates a “convective, conductive module” and is able to avoid moving parts that characterized competitors’ products because of the carbon foam technology that LEDNA licensed from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“It is built for price, function and performance,” Wilhelm said.

LEDNA has adopted a rapid development plan for testing and certification that Wilhelm believes will allow the company to begin selling the Gen 2 product by fourth quarter of 2012.

“I have a good network of reps,” he says, adding that the team has identified significant sales opportunities once the Gen 2 version is available.

If the newer product takes off as Wilhelm expects it will, ramping-up manufacturing will be his next challenge.

“We will know by the end of the year where we stand with this company,” Wilhelm says in his characteristic upbeat manner.

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