Energy Focus Blog
Energy Focus and The U.S. Navy: Where We Are Now
In our previous post, we discussed the history of how Energy Focus came to work with the U.S. Navy. From 2007 to 2009, Energy Focus continued to sell LED products exclusively to the U.S. Navy. The innovative technology that won the DARPA contract pushed Energy Focus into the limelight as a forerunner for developing durable and long-lasting LED products. Because of this reputation, Energy Focus came into contact with NASA. They had a problem and Energy Focus had a solution.
One Small Step for Energy Focus, One Giant Leap for LED Lighting
NASA needed lighting that would withstand a live rocket engine generating half a million pounds of thrust, 120 decibels of vibration, and hot gases reaching temperatures over 1000˚ being ejected at more than a dozen times the speed of sound. Energy Focus already had a reputation for being U.S. Navy tough, so NASA was confident in our abilities to create LED products that would exceed their needs. Two Small Business Technology Transfer contracts were issued between Energy Focus and NASA and work began.
Two of the biggest challenges Energy Focus faced was the heat the rockets would generate and creating light output at the proper beam angle so NASA’s high-speed cameras could capture images of the testing without any shadows. The solution was creating massive floodlights. Thermal conductive aluminum alloy was introduced in the design in a configuration that allowed internal conduction and convection to move heat out through a heat sink. This technology transferred to the entire line of LED tubes and created the aluminum backbone and heat sink that is seen today. To create a directional high-output light, we developed highly efficient optical cones that allowed for less stray light when focusing a beam. “In the commercial world, we now make products that can focus on a flagpole without losing light,” Chief Scientist John Davenport commented, noting that this also improves energy efficiency. The floodlights created for the NASA project laid the groundwork for more new products, such as the LED Hazloc Globe for hazardous areas and Explosion-Proof LED Globes.
Expanding to Commercial Markets
The next year, Energy Focus decides to expand its LED lighting reach into the commercial business market, selling to retail & industrial spaces, healthcare facilities, contractors, and schools. The opportunity that arose from being able to innovate new technology for the U.S. Navy created some well-rounded products that Energy Focus knew would be important to commercial applications. At this time, the aluminum backbone, heat sink, and the retrofit design were unseen in the commercial marketplace, setting Energy Focus above its competitors.
An Order from the U.S. Navy
In 2011, Energy Focus received an order from the U.S. Navy – bringing in over $23 million in revenue and kick-starts the company into working on developing even more LED technologies. We were even able to install those new explosion-proof globes and retrofit more T12 fluorescent tubes on Navy ships with energy-efficient LED tubes. By 2014, there are Energy Focus LED products on over 100 U.S. Navy ships and submarines.
Where We Are Now
Today in 2018, Energy Focus continues to work with the U.S. Navy. There have been less than 100 returns out of over 650,000 installed LED products over an 11-year period of working with the U.S. Navy. This is a less than half of 1% return rate out of 11 years. There is a story worth mentioning that stands as a testament to the longevity of Energy Focus LED products.
The capability of an LED tube being used in an existing fixture, the years before any maintenance is required (substantially outliving its warranty), and the measurable original light output after all those years in use, stands as a testament to the longevity and quality of Energy Focus LED products.
Energy Focus continues to work on new technologies that stand up to the rigorous testing of the U.S. Navy & Military, keeping this story in the back of our minds. In the past couple of years, Energy Focus has come out with innovative products such as the RedCap™, Intellitube®, and the most recent T5HO.
If you are interested in either our U.S. Navy qualified products or our Navy-tough commercial products, you can contact us and a customer service agent will be able to find the proper LED product for your needs.