Lightmaster has been officially working with Linea Light since 2006 but Richard has known the company for much longer. Almost every one of all our lighting design projects have at least one Linea Light fitting installed – their lighting range is massive and the fittings they produce are unique to Linea Light.
Lightmaster visit the Linea Light factories in Northern Italy once a year to see new product and see the Linea Light team to discuss any projects we might need their help with. The Italian factories have many machines designed to test the fittings – a tube full of water with a special pump designed to replicate a deep water, high pressure environment. Linea Light are one of the few suppliers we use who make IP68.
Another IP test consisted of fittings installed in a giant dishwasher – these are the IP65/66 fittings which cannot quite be submerged but can cope with being exposed to severe elements.
The final test was for IP67 and above – fittings which can withstand being submerged for a particular period of time. This was an interesting one for us as we could see well known fittings such as the Beret (Ulan) in this tank, fully submerged and had been there for several months! We were told that there were some lights that had been in there since 2003.
Another feather in Linea Light’s cap is their walk-over or drive-over fittings, which literally means that you can walk or drive a car over them with no damage.
The other factories were predominantly manufacturing component parts out of various metals – aluminium heat sinks, brass screws etc. These parts then get shipped to other nearby factories where the product as a whole is made. The workmanship on these parts was unbelievable. The beauty of Linea Light compared to many of our other suppliers is that they make absolutely everything themselves: lenses, heat sinks, brackets, right down to the tiny screws holding everything together. They really put Italy on the map when it comes to craftsmanship. They really make the most of all their materials – all the waste aluminium that gets spat out the machines gets passed through a system which allows it to be used again.
Upstairs above the factory is where they do more product testing. These tests are for the interior lights and they check the capability of the heat sink, light output and life span of the LED. These rooms are extremely hot!! It’s like walking into a giant sunbed with all the heat and light surrounding you. There’s lights covering every surface- on tables, shelves and from bars on the ceiling while the drivers and cables powering the fittings are run along the outsides of the walls (the health and safety rules aren’t as strict in Italy as they are in the UK). We got to see all the products we know and love up close and see some of the potential new fittings as well as old, discontinued fittings which have been on and running for over 10 years.
The last room we saw was new product testing. There’s some really exciting new fittings including a new tiny 6W Vos which our lighting designers are really excited about. The other product we really like is a downlight with absolutely no glare at all, regardless of where you stand. It’s made by creating a dome with a lip and on the inside that lip, little LED chips are located in such a way so the light shines up the surface of the inside of the dome and then the room below is lit with indirect, reflected light. Our operations manager Dan was very impressed with the fitting, pictured below. They’re also looking at another version which looks a bit like a doughnut. We discussed the possible applications for these fittings and we can see them working well in large, ultra-modern residential spaces but more within commercial settings like hotel lobby’s or office buildings.