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RS celebrates £1bn digital revenues in Pancras Square headquarters

pancras squareLocated at Two Pancras Square in London, the new headquarters bring together the company’s corporate staff, previously based in Oxford, and its existing London-based digital operations, previously based on the Caledonian Road.

Speaking at a welcoming event to mark the move, CEO Lindsley Ruth said “Innovation has to be at the heart of all we do”. And we was emphasising digital innovation with a number of new technology initiatives and prototypes on display.

These ranged from robotics technology for warehouse management to the use of AI in customer support, the automatic identification of components from imagery alone (to help shorten the process of identifying and replacing parts) and the development of support for 3D-printing and part replacements.

Digital revenues

The event accompanied the announcement of achieving £1 billion in annual digital revenues.

While the business first launched a website in the UK in 1998, the group now has 60 websites worldwide registering around 10 million visits each month. The company reports online sales increasing fourfold in the past decade, up from £246 million in 2007.

Google your neighbours

Neighbours at the Pancras Square site, located between the St Pancras and Kings Cross stations, include Google and YouTube, Universal Music UK and Central Saint Martins, part of University of the Arts London.

Lindsley-Ruth-two-pancras-squareThe company is located on the fifth floor of the block Two Pancras Square. It sits opposite the Google block, to its Western side, and Google are also building their European HQ in a new block to the East.

Ruth has previously spoken of the move

“With big ambitions for growth, it’s vital that we develop the right culture and reputation to become first choice for our customers, suppliers and employees.”

“Using the strong momentum we’ve gained, we are driving more innovation into the business to address our changing market. Our new London office will help us to ensure that we are synonymous with innovation and creativity.”

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Trump decision sends a ‘pretty strong signal’, says Lattice COO

Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, of Electronics Weekly.

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Seoul makes in-roads on flicker in drivers for Acrich serial leds,

Seoul Semi MicroDriver

The ides is that they can be driven by switching in parts of the string at various points in the rectified input sinewave, which leaves a small (low wasted power) voltage drop across the current control circuit.

It also means that the current waveform follows the voltage waveform (in a steppy way), helping power factor.

However, it is a naturally flickery way of driving leds, simply because some of the leds are going on and off at 100Hz (or 120Hz).

Now Seoul has introduced MicroDriver, a driver series for its own Acrich leds, claiming: “measuring just 38 x 28 x 20.5, giving lighting designers the ability to develop ultra-thin and novel luminaires with flicker-free operation.”

Sadly the flicker-free bits turns out not to be true, but the firm has made an effort to cut flicker, with an electrolytic capacitor in there to spread energy through the half cycle.

Data sheets are not yet available on the page linked to above, but in the application examples that can be found from the same page.

For example, in this 230V 1,430lm 80 CRI 3,000K application, flicker is described at 11%, and measured at 5.75% without dimmer. I can’t find figures for flicker with dimming in the app note, but the waveform plots show that at least the output is not cutting to zero twice a cycle. Efficacy here is a nice 115 lm/W.

Seoul Semi MicroDriver cctAh ha, this 120V 1,190 lm 80CRI 4,000K app note shows 3.5% flicker with no dimmer, 5.3% with a triac dimmer turned up full, 4.8% dimmed to half output flux and 15.5% flicker dimmed to one fifth flux.

So the “low flicker” claim on the product page is justified for some of the dimming range, and I am not qualified to judge its follow-up: “The MicroDriver has significantly low flicker enabling easy [California] Title 24 flicker compliance.”

The 10 model Series delivers outputs across 8-24W at either 120 or 230V for outputs from 900 to 2,400 lm, estimates the firm, and is aimed at designs such as wall sconces, vanity lights, downlights, and flush-mounted lighting fixtures.

“The smaller size facilitates the conversion of these applications to LED light sources, which was not previously possible due to bulky conventional LED drivers, making halogen lamp replacement possible without the need for a large volume recess for the driver, or a reduction in light output,” said Seoul.

Interestingly, it has decided to waterproof them – rating is IP66.

Other ratings are Class B EMI and 2.5kV surge.

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