Custom LED Lights: The Ultimate All-in-One Guide (2020)
There are a ton of reasons why you’d want to buy custom LED lights.
The most important one is always to blend your lighting into your décor seamlessly.
Customizing your LED fixtures not only helps to build your brand’s reputation…
But also ensures you get the right and most-suitable light fixtures for any type of space.
Plus, there are fewer limits to what you can do in terms of design.
Now, with that in mind, you may be having tons of questions regarding custom LED lights.
- What is their importance or why do you need these types of LEDs?
- Where can you get them?
- How to go about customizing your LED fixtures?
- How is the whole process undertaken?
- Who makes custom LED lights?
- How to find the right manufacturer?
- And lastly, how to ship your LED lights?
These are just a few of the questions we’ll answer on this post.
Generally, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Custom LED Lights here.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s begin…
Where do you start?
It’s always a tricky question for first-timers…
Without proper industry knowledge, getting custom LED lights can be quite a hassle.
However, our step by step guide adds a lot of simplicity to the whole process.
You just need to know what to do and when.
In this post, we’ll cover six broad steps to getting custom design LED lights.
Basically, these are things you need to know and do to ensure a smooth and stress-free acquisition process
- Why do you need custom LED lights?
- How do you factor in these lights into your project/intended purpose?
- How to do simple lighting calculations?
- What do you need to do to create your ideal custom LED design?
- How to find a custom LED manufacturer?
- How to ship your fixtures?
That being said, here’s how to go about the whole process.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Why Do You Need Custom LED Lights?
The first step towards getting custom LED lights is to know why you need them.
Well, for starters, answer this:
Who Are You?
- A designer?
- A project contractor?
Basically, what is your role in this process?
Once you know who you are, you’ll know the purpose of the custom LED solutions you’re looking for.
If you’re a designer or project contractor, you’re looking for custom LED lights that are tailor-made for your space.
If you’re a wholesaler, retailer or distributor, you are looking for custom LED lights to sell while building your brand’s name and reputation.
Therefore, your role determines the fixtures’ purpose.
You may be wondering, do I really need custom LED lights?
There is no straight answer to that. However, the benefits of using these types of lights can help you decide on that.
Why You Need Custom LED Lights
When you make your own LED lights, you expose your business to a number of perks including:
- Expanding Your Market Share– Innovation and branding are always the easiest ways to expand your market share. If you have a strong brand and offer high-quality products, your reputation will precede you. And when that happens, you’ll attract more clients.
- Building Your Brand – When people shop for LEDs, they often lean towards big brand names. Why? Because these brands always offer a certain level of guarantee in the quality, durability, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency of their products. When you customize your LED lights, you are giving your brand a unique identity; one that’s easy to identify for customers.
- Boosting Your Brand – In case you already have a brand, customizing your LED lights can help you to boost it. How? Well, when you offer superior quality products, the only way to ensure that they stand out from the crowd is by giving them an identity. Hence, making it easy for customers to find your products.
- Control Costs – Another huge benefit of LED light customization is that you get to control costs. That could mean cheaper production costs or an opportunity to set a higher price range. It all depends on the quality of the products and the target market.
- Uniqueness – Lastly, custom LED lights make you unique. How is this beneficial? Well, for one, it makes it easier for your clients to find your products. Also, it helps you to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Once you have that in mind, the next step is to determine the use of these lights…
Chapter 2: Where Will Your Customized LED Lights Be Used?
The purpose or intended use of your customized LED fixtures are also equally important.
Well, different applications often come with different needs.
Swimming pool lights needs to be more waterproof than a normal office fixture.
Therefore, before you customize an LED light, you have to first consider its intended working environment.
That way, you’ll cover all important aspects of the design to ensure it works optimally when in use.
You can create custom LED lights for a residential space, a commercial space and even an industrial room.
Each of these places often has different lighting needs.
Basically, there are a few things that determine a room’s lighting needs i.e.
- The size of the space.
- The décor.
- And, the purpose of the room. For instance. Entertainment/living rooms need less light than working/studying spaces.
The intended environment will also make it easier for you to determine things like:
- The materials used on the housing and internal systems of the fixtures.
- The lights’ ability to withstand shock.
- Ingress Protection ratings.
- Amount of illumination produced by each fixture.
- Light colors/temperatures and so on.
Once you’ve made these considerations, the next step is to do some lighting calculations…
Chapter 3: How to Calculate Lighting
Step 1: Gather Necessary Tools
To easily calculate lighting for a custom fixture, you’ll need:
- A tape measure.
- Access to a computer with internet connectivity.
- A Light calculation software like DIALux or DIALux EVO or 3D MAX.
In this example, we’ll use the DIALux software.
Step 2: Calculate Recommended Lighting Levels
Once you have all the tools you need, the next step would be to calculate the recommended lighting levels for your space.
Well, it is quite simple.
- First, measure the floor area’s square footage by multiplying its length by width. Use the tape measure to find the length and width of your space in feet.
- Use your computer to look up how many lumens are recommended for every square foot of your space. Remember that different activities (space uses) will have different lumen recommendations.
- Multiply the recommended lumens per square foot by the actual number of square feet in your room to get the total number of lumens (candle-foot or luxes) needed.
- Calculate how many spots inside your space can be used for lighting. Ensure that these spots are positioned in the most important parts of the room.
- Lastly, divide your total number of lumens needed by the number of available lighting spots to determine how much light each spot needs to yield to satisfy the lumen requirements.
Step 3: Importing IES Photometry Data into DIALux
First of all, what is DIALux?
It’s an open-source software used for professional light planning. It simplifies the design process by offering tools, features, and functions that make it easy to plan the lighting needs of a room or building.
What is IES Photometry?
IES is the abbreviation for the Illuminating Engineering Society. It’s often used as a file format to transfer photometric data over the web. It’s been widely used by lighting manufacturers when the photometric data distribution is concerned.
You’re all caught up now!
With that in mind, when you’re using the DIALux software to calculate a room’s lighting needs, you may have to import IES Photometry data.
And if you don’t know how, here the correct procedure:
- Create a new project on your DIALux software.
- Click on “Luminaire Selection” on the Main Menu bar and select the “My Database” option.
- Click on “Import.” Make sure that the “Files of type” option is set to “All Files (*.*).”
- Select all the IES photometry files you want to import into your DIALux database and click “OK.”
- If you want to use a specific luminaire in your design, you’ll need to use its relevant IES file.
- Also, you can quickly insert IES files into your DIALux project or database by right-clicking on them while your DIALux program is running in the background.
For more information on this, you can check out this DIALux resource page.
Step 4: Output Requirements
The last thing you have to calculate is output.
Now, output can be viewed from two different perspectives.
- You can calculate the amount of light output from each lighting fixture or…
- You can calculate your rooms lighting load (the total amount of power needed to sustain its lighting needs).
Both of which you’ll find on this in-depth lighting calculation guide.
With all the calculations and estimations done, we can then proceed to the juicy parts of this post.
Chapter 4: The Process of Creating Custom Design LED Lights
You know why you need custom LED lights… You know where these fixtures will be used… And you’ve already done your calculations…
Well, it’s time to create your ideal LED fixture.
In most cases, this process is often seen as complex. And that’s why very few people often try it.
But in real sense, is it complex?
It’s often a straightforward procedure. And with the knowledge and resources needed, things usually move smoothly and quickly.
We can split this process into three main stages namely:
- Coming up with a custom logo design.
- Determining functional performance.
- And lastly, dealing with the fixture’s structural design.
We’ll cover each of these stages in brief.
Coming Up With a Custom Logo Design
One of the most important features of a custom LED light is the logo.
The logo is often your brand label and is the first thing that associates the fixture with your business.
Basically, it is the first bit of information that tells your customers that they are buying your product.
It is a crucial part of the fixture.
When you approach a custom LED manufacturer, you’ll have to present them with a logo.
So, if you have a logo ready, it will be well and good.
If not, you’ll have to get one using this simple procedure:
- Create a logo in-house, hire a graphics designer, or use free online logo creators. But remember, quality matters because your company logo says a lot about you.
- Once you have a logo, present it to your manufacturer preferably in AI or PDF format.
- The manufacturer will print the label out using either digital or screen printing for you to make final confirmations.
- Once that’s done, you’ll get your own brand laser logo also in AI or PDF format.
Thereafter, the manufacturer will also need:
- Your legal company (brand) name together with your UL, TUV, or SAA certificates.
- And your own company branded cartons for packaging.
Determining Functional Performance
Once you’ve provided your custom made LED lights manufacturer with the items above, the next stage will be to determine the fixture’s functional performance specifications.
This part of the process will be determined by the calculations you did earlier and the purpose of the lighting fixture.
Here, you’ll have to specify a few things including:
- Custom Wattage LED Lights– This is when you want your custom LED lighting to have a specific wattage rating. However, if you don’t have any preferences in this regard, the manufacturer will decide on the best (optimal) wattage for your fixtures.
- Branded Or Certificated Power Supply – You also have the option to choose between using the manufacturer’s default power supply or your own branded version to come up with custom LED OEM products.
- Branded Or Certificated LED Chips –And if you want to go all-in on your customization, you can also instruct your manufacturer to use your own custom branded LED chips. This works best for those looking for custom LED lighting solutions for OEM.
- Lumen Output –This is another important bit of information your custom LED system manufacturer will need from you. You’ll get the information on lumen output from the calculations on lighting needs above. Note that, lumen output and wattage are directly related. Therefore, the lumen output you want should be derived from the wattage specified to the manufacturer or vice versa.
- Will the Fixture be Dimmable? –Depending on the LED light’s intended use, you also need to state whether or not you want dimmable fixtures.
- Will Your Custom LED Lighting be Used for Emergencies? – Emergency lighting fixtures often have different specifications in terms of operability, brightness, and color. Therefore, if your luminaries will be used for emergencies, you’ll have to specify that too so that the manufacturer knows what to do.
- Motion Sensors –Obviously, if the fixtures are meant to be used outdoors or in places that are rarely used by people, a motion-sensing feature becomes quite advantageous for both you and the users.
Coming Up With the Structural Design
Now, after you determine the functional performance of your custom LED fixture, the last stage of the customization procedure will be to come up with the structural design.
Why is it important?
Because it mostly deals with the exterior design of the fixture, the housing, materials used, and quality.
Structural design is integral when it comes to durability and protection against damage (two of the biggest determiners of quality and value for money to customers).
Here, you’ll deal with things like:
- Custom Length LED Lights –How long or short do you want your custom LED fixtures to be? Also, what are your shape or exterior design preferences? Make sure your manufacturer has these details.
- Heat Dissipation –Heat is always the leading cause of low-efficiency lighting. When a lot of heat is produced, the fixture becomes inefficient like an incandescent bulb. Therefore, you have to talk to your manufacturer to come up with a heat dissipation system that’s calibrated for maximum efficiency.
- Waterproof Capabilities –Remember that different environments require different levels of protection against intrusion by water and vapor. Therefore, you have to specify your fixture’s intended environment so that the manufacturer can determine the best protection level for your custom lighting.
- Protection Against Impact – Should your fixtures be shockproof? If so, make sure you indicate that too.
- Type of Housing –In most cases, you’ll have two options, Aluminum or Plastic molds. An aluminum housing works best in busy and hostile (full of projectiles e.g. a workshop, car wash, or slaughterhouse) environment; while plastic can be used in calmer spaces like schools, offices, libraries, and supermarkets.
- Housing Color –It is not only important for the aesthetics of the room but also, affects the color of the light produced.
By now, you already know how to create a custom LED light fixture.
However, as easy as it may seem, there are still a few major considerations you need to make starting with the ideal manufacturer for you.
Here’s what you need to know:
Chapter 5: How to Find the Best Custom LED Lights
To successfully create your custom LED lights, you need a strong, reliable, and capable manufacturer.
LED companies like ShineLong have an impressive reputation when it comes to custom light design and manufacturing.
So, when it comes to getting the best custom LED lights, there are a few things you have to do.
Find a Reputable Manufacturer
What should you look for in a custom LED light manufacturer in China?
If you’ve been asking yourself this question, here are a few qualities that great companies like ShineLong LED have:
- Company Strength– Are they capable? Well, to find out, you have to look at their history, current product list, monthly production rate/capacity, and social responsibility certificate. Your ideal manufacturer should be able to easily meet your demand quota.
- Quality of Products and Customer Feedback – Client reviews and ratings are always the easiest ways to know what kind of manufacturer you’ll be dealing with. Therefore, take some time to read through client reviews to paint a clearer picture of the company’s service delivery practices.
- Certifications– To verify the company’s legitimacy and proven track record, ask for their certifications. That way you won’t fall prey to scams and low-quality manufacturers.
- Quotations – How much do they charge for LED light customizations. Note that cheap is not always the best way to go, but also, expensive is not a guarantee of quality. You should first examine a sample before agreeing to their quotations.
- Sample Delivery Period– How long does it take them to send you a sample? Shorter periods always work to your advantage. Mainly because it means that you’ll also get your finished products on time.
- Mass Order Delivery Time – How long will it take for you to receive your order shipment? The fastest delivery system is always the best in this case.
- Co-operative Forwarder– The company should use a forwarding company that is easy to communicate and work with. That way you won’t have any problems tracking and receiving your order.
Request for a Sample
Once you’ve found your ideal manufacturer, the next step would be to ask for a sample.
Your manufacturer should be able to make and send a good quality sample within the shortest time possible.
Test the Sample
When you get the sample, you should test it for quality, ingress protection, impact protection, light production, housing strength and so on.
Remember, you want to make sure that the manufacturer has met your requirements.
Get the Opinion and Feedback of Your Biggest Clients
Send the sample to your customers to collect their views and feedback on the lighting fixture, and then relay it to the manufacturer to make changes; if need be.
The manufacturer will then fine-tune and modify the final product to meet the new requirements.
Apply for Certification for Your Local Market
Don’t forget about the legal aspect of this process. You need to get certification from your government to pursue this line of business.
However, if you already have certification, you’re good to go.
Place Your Mass Order
Now, you are ready to make your order.
Bulk orders are always more cost-effective and profitable for both you and the manufacturer.
By now, the only consideration left to make is shipping. And here’s what you need to do:
Chapter 6: How to Ship Custom LED Lights from China
Thanks to growing world economies and inter-global trade, shipping products from China to the rest of the world has become quite easy.
There are tons of useful resources online that outline the shipping process from China including this one.
Here’s a quick overview of the best shipping practices:
- Know your import rights and responsibilities. You need to ensure that everything you do is as per the shipping policies stipulated in your country.
- Come up with custom LED lighting solutions. This involves contacting a manufacturer and working out the details of the customization process.
- Make sure that the final custom LED lights are permitted in your country. Without this, all your efforts will be in vain and you may incur massive losses.
- Calculate your shipping and post landing costs. You need to make sure that you have enough funds to cover all expenses to avoid unnecessary delays and penalties.
- Find a reputable forwarding company. They should be easy to work with and have a good reputation when it comes to delivering products on time and without damages.
- Arrange your cargo for transport. Talk to your forwarder to ensure that everything is okay and that the shipping schedule is still on track.
- Track your cargo and prepare to receive it. You need to stay up to date with the current location of your shipment in order to be available when it gets to the port.
And there you have it!
Everything you need to know about how to get your very own custom LED lights from China.
It easy, right?
Well, all it takes is a little bit of knowledge, the best custom LED manufacturer and a reliable forwarding company.
Do You Have Any Questions?
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Is there anything we’ve left out? Is there something you’d like to add to this discussion? If so, please do so in the comments section below.
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