Though LEDs (and connected LEDs) are everywhere now, before they arrived on the scene, retail shops used halogen lights or metal halide in quartz lamps.
Jan, with his team in Belgium, worked on the Ceramic Discharge Metal halide (Philips MASTERColour), that offered great quality of light combined with good accent and high efficacy, transforming the retail experience. “With a small team, I picked up where my predecessors in research left off. A breakthrough was still needed.”
That breakthrough came in a couple of “Aha!” moments. The first was enabling a longer lifetime for lamps burning in a horizontal position and later on to all burning positions. “The best ideas came when riding my racing bike on the weekends or on holiday,” he says. Within three years the project team had a product ready to go to market, where it transformed the retail lighting experience and brought exponential growth for then-Philips Lighting’s market position.
Jan loves the technology: “There’s chemistry, physics, life tests… all within those bulbs!” And customers loved them too. “The first year surpassed our best estimates, and in a few subsequent years they doubled. Sales even increased by a factor of five one year.” Overall, Jan is proud that the work he did with his team put the company in such a strong position for indoor shop lighting.
FUN FACT: CDM lamps are also used for exterior architectural lighting applications and one of the first buildings to use them was the Reichstag in Berlin!