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When is Good Enough not Good Enough?

NanoLumens August 16, 2018 1224 Views 0 Comments blog

The prospect of purchasing a large-format LED display can seem daunting. LED display solutions have an expensive reputation and the technology evolves famously quickly. Customers are often wary of making a major purchase they fear may soon grow obsolete. This hesitance is reinforced by an overall lack of familiarity both with how display technology works and with how the industry itself operates.

In hopes of coaxing a few of these reluctant customers into the market, some display manufacturers have started to advertise that the top-end solutions aren’t necessary and that businesses can get away with purchasing lower-cost displays. Taking advantage of their customers’ lack of LED fluency, one specific angle they take is that there’s no need to pay up for displays with diodes guaranteed to last 100,000 hours when the 50,000 hour lifespan of their diodes is plenty good enough.

Are they right? Is “good enough” actually good enough when it comes to LED display technology? Let’s get to the root of this debate by asking a few additional questions about those 50,000 hour diodes.

What is the Performance Standard for the Industry?

Performance and manufacturing standards in the LED display industry make life easier for customers, clients, and partners by establishing set expectations that industry members strive to meet. When it comes to the lifespan of a diode, the industry standard is 100,000 hours. That is what NanoLumens displays are built to and many of our high-quality competitors build theirs to this level as well. If a manufacturer is trying to convince you that this standard is overkill, consider why they might be telling you that. Perhaps it is because they themselves are unable to meet it.

What are the Conditions of Operation?

When testing a product to see if it meets an industry standard, it is obviously important to document the conditions of the test. When we at NanoLumens test the longevity of our displays, we run our display 24/7 at 50% brightness, with the surrounding temperature at 25 degrees Celsius and the internal display temperature at 65 degrees Celsius. These conditions are more stressful than what our displays will typically operate under in the field so when our displays meet the industry standard in there, we can say with confidence they will meet it elsewhere. Other manufacturers may test their products under more lenient conditions in hopes that customers won’t inquire about testing. To avoid being duped, customers should always ask about the conditions under which the products were tested.

What is their Verification Method?

For every claim a manufacturer makes, a customer should demand proof. We at NanoLumens guarantee our diodes can last the industry standard of 100,000 under the aforementioned conditions. We happily provide proof of our testing to our clients and customers when they ask through formal verification methods. A manufacturer selling a 50,000 hour diode does not have such formal verification methods though because they are not adhering to any industry performance standard. The 50,000 hour threshold is just something they decided upon, and in the LED display industry, you’re only as good as you can prove.

While asking these questions will help customers get to the bottom of whether a manufacturer’s 50,000 diode is actually good enough, the claim on its own should set off red flags. If a manufacturer is treating the lower performance of their product as an asset, it means they are likely settling for lower performing parts when building their product in the first place. Cutting corners like this can lead to increased costs down the line. And these costs may fall squarely upon customers if the manufacturer’s warranty is of the same quality as their product. Industry consultant Alan Brawn put it best when he recently said, “nowhere have I seen it more true that you get what you pay for [than] in the total cost of ownership and service of a direct view LED supplier.” If a manufacturer is willing to settle at 50,000 hours for their diode –the most fundamental piece of their display- where else are they willing to settle? In this industry, “good enough,” is always too good to be true. To get a better idea of NanoLumens rigorous production standards, skim through our industry-leading warranty policy, found here.