Anglers and boaters rarely consider the tremendous effort required to design and manufacture the countless components and accessories that enhance our on-the-water experiences. Skilled craftsmen design and assemble many of these essentials right here in Florida. We wanted to learn more about the companies that produce these products and we are confident that you, too, will be fascinated with what we uncover.
Lighting waterways across the globe via sleek and sexy sport fishing platforms, underwater LEDs are the coolest lighting accessories to accent your most prized possession. Used in many consumer electronics and applications, Light Emitting Diodes are tiny lights that provide a host of benefits in comparison to traditional incandescent light sources. Since they provide increased output with less amperage, in addition to greater longevity, it is no surprise LEDs are popular choices for an array of interior, exterior, and underwater lighting solutions.
The design of the housing is critical and the ability to surface mount provides easy, trouble free installation.
Located in the town of Delray Beach, Florida-based Lumitec Lighting leads the way in innovative LED technology for the marine industry. While you may believe that all LED technology remains the same and all products provide sufficient output, this is far from the truth. Several factors that influence performance include color, power dissipation, beam pattern and intensity of the output at the diode. The fact of the matter is that LEDs can vary tremendously in regards to efficacy of output, lifespan and efficiency, so do your homework before making a final purchasing decision.
While Lumitec is focused on producing high-quality lighting products for the consumer market, including leading boat builders like SeaVee, Yellowfin, Viking, Intrepid, Midnight Express and Contender, this fast-paced and innovative manufacturer also provides the highest quality lighting solutions trusted by the United States Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security.
Lumitec produces a variety of dome, accent, flood and underwater lights, but no matter the desired finished product the early design and conceptualization stages remain the same. With a state-of-the-art facility the team of engineers at Lumitec is capable of extensive testing and prototyping, with high-tech electrical, mechanical and optical labs on-site.
Focused on developing and manufacturing the highest quality marine lights, the idea of a new LED light begins with the collaboration of the entire team. With many of the employees avid anglers and boaters, feedback from on-the-water experiences in addition to public and industry response is extremely important during the developmental stages of any LED light. To get the ideas flowing the entire team gathers in a free-form development room to brainstorm new product developments. With an interconnected flat screen display, the team can access electrical circuit simulations and detailed CAD files from any workstation in the office (Image 1). After lengthy discussion and debates, product conceptualization comes to fruition and in-house prototyping begins. The ability to design and manufacture new ideas in-house is incredibly beneficial and leads to unparalleled quality control and performance. Once a prototype has been modeled teams get to work in their respected labs.
In the prototype lab an electrical engineer builds circuit boards that utilize a state-of-the-art microprocessor and sophisticated control software to provide impressive and consistent light output under all conditions and extremes (Image 2). Lumitec’s SeaBlaze 3 features an intelligent microprocessor that offers the option of two-color or single color operation. It also provides several presets including static on, fading change, strobe and random. Once the circuit board is completed it must go through rigorous evaluations (Image 3) including tests for RF, EMI, transient voltage and overall efficiency. If approved for production, circuit boards are manufactured at a nearby location.
At the same time the circuit boards are being designed and evaluated an optical team undergoes extensive optical simulation testing to make certain the design utilizes the impressive LED technology to its maximum efficiency and performance. Lumen output and overall luminous efficiency are measured with an integrating sphere (Image 4). This is an extremely important piece of equipment that is highly calibrated and features a superbly sophisticated light-measuring device. The optical lab also prototypes and evaluates beam patterns and light color consistency (Image 5). Utilizing multiple cameras that are positioned over a precise grid, the team captures sequential images of the light’s beam. From here the images are transferred to a computer and analyzed by a software program that reviews over 20 million data points to help engineers further refine and optimize their optical systems.
When a completed prototype is finalized it undergoes even more testing, including extensive time in an environmental test chamber that is capable of replicating extreme temperatures from -35° C to 170° C (Image 6). The final prototypes are also tested for shock and vibration, salt spray and UV exposure. After final tests are complete and the prototype is approved the individual components are produced.
To ensure an incredibly durable and corrosion resistant frame, housings are manufactured from a carefully formulated aluminum alloy. To further provide protection against the harsh marine environment the housings are polished and sent through a 7-step conversion plating process (Image 7). The design of the housing is critical and the ability to surface mount provides easy, trouble free installation. With the housings ready for assembly attention turns to the circuit boards (Image 8). The first step involves loading the intelligent software. Controlling essentials like current, temperature and output, the circuit boards are individually tested to ensure flawless performance. After testing, skilled technicians install optics and wires (Image 9).
From here it is time for final installation of the optical assembly. Utilizing a catalyzed, thermally conductive adhesive the circuit board assembly is permanently mounted to the housing (Image 10). Now it is time to install the glass window, which is manufactured with a ceramic material that’s fused to high-strength, heat-tempered glass (Image 11 & 12). After the adhesives are allowed ample time to cure the housings are turned over and a special blend of 2-part potting material is inserted in the hole where the wire exits the housing (Image 13). Protecting the light against moisture and water intrusion, this is a crucial step to the light’s durability. Every product undergoes extensive testing and the final evaluation starts with a lengthy burn test followed by a dunk test that submerges the recently heated lights into a cool bath. The water is dyed so intrusion is easier to see during the following inspection (Image 14). Lights are then hand polished to perfection and packaged, ready to be shipped to happy customers, dealers and boat builders around the world (Image 15).
Because LED lights and associated technologies are constantly evolving there’s significant room for innovation. Lumitec is able to stay ahead of their competitors with incredibly powerful and intense LED lighting solutions that are the result of technical expertise in LED product design. With unmatched testing and quality control procedures the team at Lumitec is fully capable of producing high-quality, durable and user-friendly underwater LED lights. With the rapidly increasing popularity of LED technology you can only expect more innovations in the future, with Lumitec leading the way in high performance LED luminaries.