Posted on 01 May 2019

From the LAMP to LEDs

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So power supply changes

ROAL Electronics is focusing also on the wide Solid State Lighting (SSL) Technology applications using High Brightness LEDs

By Giorgio Fusari, Freelance Editor and Fabio Luconi Eu, Field Application Engineer, Roal


In its various forms, the economic and energetic subject is nowadays extremely important for the future of our planet. It is an issue that can not be postponed any longer, as the last WWF’s Report, Living Planet Report 2006, pointed out. This Report has analyzed the ongoing process of erosion of the natural sources, the difficulty to regenerate them and also speaks about the necessity to transform a sustainable economy and society.

ROAL Electronics takes even this into consideration when it affirms that in its R&D activities and creation of new technologies of powering, one of the most important reasons to change direction is to improve the quality of life and to reach a more harmonious environment. In this way Mr Leopardi (General Manager), presented the company at the press-conference held in the Italian Headquarters, during which a visit to Castelfidardo facilities was organized. The powering systems are already playing a more delicate role in the electronic field, computer sciences, and in the service areas that we use every day and that are not very often considered important and are taken for granted and neglected at least till the moment a blackout occurs.

It would be good enough to think just about the powering systems for the IT or Telecom infrastructures or about the Illumination systems for streets and buildings in our cities. Established in 1985, with a business focused on designing, engineering, producing & testing of standard, modified & customized SMPSs ( switch mode power supplies), ROAL Electronics, made its first agreements of supply with IBM Semea, IBM Greenock & Alcatel Europe in 1988. In 1992 ROAL obtained the ISO9001 certification, signing contracts with others historic customers like Bull, in 1993, Ascom, in 1995, Phillip Medical Systems Italy, in 1997 and Hitachi, in 1998.

In 2001 it celebrated the grand opening of the business unit in North America to supply a better service to the customers overseas. In 2005 ROAL made the first supply contract with OTE Finmeccanica and National Instruments. And it was only last November that Roal opened its sales , design and services division in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, according to its strategic plan of expansion in the US. ROAL has an intention to open an office in the above mentioned branch with sales and engineering departments in order to consolidate the position obtained. The objective of the new design center, as Mr Don Mulvey, Executive Vice-president, said, is to provide local support to the customers in real time establishing links between the current European facilities and R&D centers. The most significant reference markets are IT, Networking, Telecom, Medical, Test & Measurement, ATM, and the applications in Media & Entertainment field. There is, as well, a very well-qualified team for PCB boards design used in the House Hold appliances.


Nowadays ROAL has been paying its greatest attention to the power supply digital tech- nologies for the emerging and enormous sector of the SSL (solid state lighting), namely the market of the systems of illumination using the LED technology. In this field of the digital control of the light, if appropriately applied and used on a world wide scale, could bring about several benefits and savings in different aspects of human activities. Currently, ROAL has a strategic and technological collaboration with TEXAS INSTRUMENTS, with the objective to reach a new level of DIGITAL POWER management introducing DSP devices. It would be possible to save energy with a more clever management of the power control, thus reducing the dissipated one with benefits not just to the environment but also to the customers and the maintenance of systems. The Digital control (see Figure 1) allows to monitor the system in real time, by writing reports, detecting and preventing potential failures, making a dynamic re-configuration or optimizing operative parameters, such as through an intelligent control of the fan-cooling, depending on the system function.

Example of RGB Mixing LED Driver with Digital Light Control

This intelligence applied in the SSL field, redefines the classic paradigms. The traditional illumination systems, working on lamps, says ROAL, generate a lot of heat which is emitted through dissipation. These systems also contain toxic material, break down regularly and have a limited control. On the other hand, the systems of control using LED technology are environmentally friendly, more efficient from the energetic point of view and are more flexible to manage as well.


The alteration of the natural quantity of light in the night environment due to the introduction of artificial light (Light Pollution) is a serious problem because it endangers the perception of the Universe around us (see Figures 2, 3, 4 and 5), on which the starred sky constitutes the only window available for the population. A fundamental element for the culture, both humanistic and scientific, and one important part of the landscape patrimony is disappearing. Light pollution finally means energy and money waste. SSL Technology favors the use of more efficient fixtures, the design of lighting installations with larger utilization coefficients, the use of light sources with higher efficiency and the direct upward light emission reduction. For instance, in the street illumination field or in big cities, it is possible to install sensors of proximity that switch on the light only when it is strictly needed while a constant power supply Digital control makes it possible to promptly intervene at functional anomalies. The SSL technological challenges imply to be successful in managing the process of LED powering that requires a well modulated power source and a constant control of the current. Namely, it is not an easy task to control this kind of light and to build robust final products. An intelligent design of the LED driver control circuits consent energy loss reduction and it is possible to increase the life cycle of the product by DIMMING.

Satellite night view of Europe —

False colors show the intensities of artificial light, both direct and indirect

Satellite night view of The USA

Composite image of the Earth at night, as viewed from a satellite

LED Boards - HB LEDs mounted onto Metal Core PCB

The major technological difficulties in distributing and powering LEDs are present, for instance, in the Video Wall Displays, used during sport events, at football or basketball matches. In these applications the architecture of pixel RGB actually requires a very high power level and also a reliable power supply. Furthermore, when it comes to thermal management, in order to maximize the heat dissipation when the system is being used, special packaging techniques are required: High Brightness LEDs have to be mounted onto the MPCB ( Metal Core Printed Circuit Board, See Figure 6) to facilitate the dissipation and improve the system cooling.



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