Electro-Matic Visual Blog

Molly Austin

Recent Posts

Best Type of Restaurant Lighting: Incandescent vs. LEDs

Posted by Molly Austin on Jul 29, 2020 2:48:00 PM

Whether someone is going for a casual dinner or a more upscale meal, proper lighting plays a major role in your guests’ dining experience. The lighting in a restaurant affects many elements, including food presentation, mood, and overall gratification. 

Not all restaurants are created equal, and for that matter, neither is the lighting. In the contemporary world of lighting, perhaps one of the greatest debates is Incandescent bulbs versus LED bulbs, two main types of lighting utilized in restaurant establishments. Each type of lighting performs differently, creating different results in return. What are the differences and why choose one over the other?

Incandescent Lighting for your Restaurant

Not long ago, there weren’t any types of light bulbs. There wasn’t any choice other than the wattage, and the lighting technology had not changed in over a century. The reason incandescent remained popular due to the main factors: cost and color.

Cost

Price is the main factor that attracts people to buying incandescent lights. Even though the cost of LED light bulbs is dropping rapidly, incandescent bulbs have the lower up-front cost and that continues to drive their desirability.

Color

The color of lighting wasn’t something people thought about a decade ago, but now with the wide array of string lighting options, consumers are seeing cool white lights, warm white lights, daylight lights and numerous other tones. Traditional incandescent bulbs though are the ones that have the familiar warm glow that most people associate with home lighting. It has an element of tradition or nostalgia to it, and is still the most common light bulb sold.

Benefits to Using LED Lighting

There’s a reason that you’re seeing more and more LED lighting options. LED has become the next major wave of light bulb that will be used for the foreseeable future. While more expensive than incandescent bulbs up front, they have numerous advantages and with prices dropping, they are quickly becoming the most popular and preferred choice.

Efficiency

Lower energy usage is another distinct advantage with LED bulbs. For example, with string lights, a 25-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced by a 1 to 2-watt LED bulb. That lower wattage means lower energy usage which has a direct correlation with energy costs, particularly with multiple bulbs and save money.

Cost

While LED bulbs may cost more to begin with, the combination of the low energy usage and the longevity of the bulb, means that they are actually less expensive than incandescents in the long run. With roughly 10 times the life span, and one-tenth the wattage consumed, LED bulbs will pay for themselves within a couple years.

Durability  

Because they don’t use the same fragile components, LEDs are much better able to stand up to vibration, shock and temperature extremes. Also, many LED lights have a plastic shell rather than glass making them much more durable.

Safety and Environment

A couple other advantages are safety and environmental benefits. LED bulbs expel most of their energy as light (hence the lower wattage for the same brightness), whereas incandescent light give off energy as heat. That means LED bulbs remain cool to the touch. Additionally, LEDs are made from non-toxic materials and don’t contain any mercury or other hazardous chemicals. When it comes time to dispose of them, they won’t require any special handling.

Color

LEDs are a product of semiconductors, and by adapting the semiconductors in the chip, the color of the LED can be adjusted. That means that LEDs can be made to emit a wide range of colors similar to the warm light of an incandescent light, as well as other hues of white light that many people find more appealing.

Ultimately, when it comes to comparing incandescent and LED lighting, the latter is the best choice for installation. Contact Electro-Matic Visual for a quote today!

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Topics: Going Green, Electro-Matic Sign News, LED Lighting, News

5 Things to Consider when Purchasing LED Lights

Posted by Molly Austin on Jul 13, 2020 4:54:59 PM

Purchasing LED lights for both residential and commercial applications is very different than purchasing traditional lighting was eight years ago. Before you go shopping here is 5 things to look out for before you purchase.

LED Lumens Vs. Watts:

Not all numbers are created equal. Forget what you think you know regarding wattage. When shopping for correct bulb or fixture, you must first understand what the meaning of wattage and lumen is. Wattage or watts is a measurement on how much energy a light is using, not the brightness of the light. Lumen’s simple meaning is the measurement of brightness from a light source. In traditional lighting there was a direct correlation between watts and brightness. For example, a 75w light bulb produces more lumens than a 60w bulb. LED lighting is not so simple. A Light-emitting diode or LED has a larger range of efficiency, some lights produce more lumens per watt(L/W). For example, an 8w LED bulb can produce more lumens than a 12w LED bulb pending on manufacture and specification. Using this example, someone purchasing the 8w bulb will save the shopper more energy during the bulb’s lifespan than the 12w bulb while producing the same brightness. So, when shopping for a light product forget what you thought you knew and pay attention to efficiency of brightness, not wattage.

Light Color Temperature:

You like what you like. Color Temperature does not mean brighter even if it seems that way. LED lighting temperature is based on the kelvin measurement system. A warm temperature is usually 3000k or less, cool white is usually around 4000k, and bright white or daylight is around 5000k. Warm white will produce a more yellow look while bright white will have a more whitish blue look to it. Simply put the lower the kelvin the more yellow, the higher the kelvin the whiter/blue it will be. But what is the right choice? Which is brighter? The answer to both is D none of the above. Everyone interprets temperature differently, some think a 5000k looks brighter than a 4000k. The temperature does not change the brightness of light, just the appearance of brightness per the individual. While shopping for a light product think of the following. Where is the light being used? What is the light being used for? What is the objective of the light? Remember, there is no wrong answer to color temperature. To each their own.

LED Price

You’re not always getting more bang for buck, know before you spend the cash. LED lighting has dropped in price about 50% in the last 5 years. But what is the difference? The market is flooded with different manufactures and pricing all claiming to the best. Things a consumer should be mindful of. Warranty, manufactures play a tricky game on LED products. For example, a LED product will claim to have a 5-year 50,000-hour operating life warranty. If you read the fine print this means they will warranty the product for 5 years or 50,000 hours witch ever comes first. So, a product with a 7-year 50,000-hour operating life warranty will cost more, but it essentially holds the same warranty. Paying more for a name brand doesn’t always mean a better product. Just the other day I visited my local pharmacy to buy a bottle of ibuprofen for my aging back. I was presented with two options, buy the name brand or the pharmacy brand. After reading each box carefully I realized there was no difference besides the price tag. The is most likely because they are made on the same manufacturing line from the same pharmaceutical company. Lighting is no different. So before spending your hard-earned dollar read the fine print, and buying a name doesn’t always mean better or different.

LED Dimming and Switches

Not all LED’s are dimmable. The old dimming switch might not work either. When buying a LED do not assume it will be a plug and play application. Unlike traditional lighting there are some LED lights that are not capable of dimming. Incandescent bulbs work by running electric current through a wire filament, a dimmer switch lowers the current to the wire filament to dim. LED’s are not dimmed or brighten with the increase or decrease of current. LED light emitt’s from a semiconductor chip, so its either all on or off. The LED is always using the same current. Instead LED’s create a dimming effect in two different ways, pulse-width-modulation (PWM LED) and analog dimming. The product specification or box will specify if the LED is dimmable or not. If your buying and wish to dim, make sure you verify before purchase. The same applies to dimming switches or controls on your property. Most likely the current measures installed are made to adjust current and will not dim LED lighting. When your shopping you want to make sure pick up a switch or control device the capable of dimming LED lights by means of PWM, analog, or both.

LED Fixture versus an LED Lamp/Bulb

A cost-effective lamp or bulb might not be the best solution for your property or residents. When deciding between a fixture or lamp replacement one must consider some key points. Not all lamps will work in old fixtures. LED lights worst enemy is heat. If the fixture is enclosed and the LED product doesn’t have the correct heat syce technology the product will most likely fail before its expected life span. After replacing the lamp, one might spend more than they would have with a new fixture. What are the local utilities companies offering for incentives? There a different incentive offered in different areas. In most areas the extra incentives will offset the cost of new product. For example, you could pay $5.00 for a lamp with a $2.00 dollar incentive or pay $15.00 dollars for a new fixture with a $12.00 incentive. The net cost remains the same, but you gain the cosmetic appeal of beautiful new fixture. The last thing to consider is installation. If you are doing itself or paying an electrician this has a large effect on the time and cost for a fished replacement. Each situation should be evaluated different. How much time would it take to replace the fixture vs lamp? How much with the installation affect the overall cost or time? When combined selecting the right product that last the longest, capitalizes on the most incentives offered, and spends the lowest time or money for installation will be the best choice for any application.

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Topics: Going Green, Electro-Matic Sign News, LED Lighting, News

Action Water Sports Upgrades to Electro-Matic LED Sign

Posted by Molly Austin on Jul 13, 2020 3:46:50 PM

Action Water Sports is a Michigan-based boat dealer and retailer with locations in Hudsonville, Fenton, Traverse City, and Florida. Action Water Sports Hudsonville is also home to Michigan’s first and only full-size cable park. The cable park is used for lessons, demonstrations, and other special events.

After years of growth and a large renovation to their Hudsonville location, Action Water Sports knew they wanted to upgrade their signage to match their updated building. Their existing monument sign was in nice shape but had an outdated changeable copy sign that was inconvenient to change. It also didn’t capitalize on the skills of a strong in-house digital marketing team.

LED Sign Upgrade

The goal of the project was to upgrade their exterior monument sign to reflect the high level of service and products they carry in their store, while also staying within the size and content limits of the local jurisdiction. The space of the existing changeable copy sign was a unique size that they were not sure could be filled with an LED sign.

Action Water Sports enlisted the help of their long-time signage partner Midwest Sign Company of Byron Center to assist. Midwest Sign had recently seen the new 6mm LED sign at Meadow’s Crossing in Allendale and knew the same Electro-Matic product could potentially be a great fit. Midwest Sign had the owner of Action Water Sports check out the sign at Meadow’s Crossing and he agreed the 6mm pixel spacing would be ideal for this location. Between the close proximity to the road and the type of content they wanted to put on the sign the 6mm option made the most sense.

Benefits of New LED Signage

Because Electro-Matic signs have the most size options available out of any LED manufacturer, Midwest Sign and Electro-Matic were able to configure a 6mm LED sign that fit perfectly in the existing sign cavity. This meant Action Water Sports did not need to worry about exceeding their allowable square footage and the high pixel density of the Electro-Matic display allowed their digital marketing team the freedom to put breathtaking high-resolution pictures on their sign. Now, Action Water Sports could change their messages on the sign instantly and more frequently from the comfort of their office. They are now able to promote more services and products that they couldn’t fit on the changeable copy sign they had previously. Midwest Sign did a terrific job with the installation and commented on the ease of installation.

List products and services EM used:
120 x 300 matrix 6mm Electro-Matic Fusion LED Display

"Alan and his team at Electro-Matic were great to work with on this project!  We had a problem and Alan had a solution. His prompt responses to our questions and willingness to literally walk along side of us and our client through the process was remarkable. The quality and clarity of the 6mm unit we purchased along with their customer service far exceeded our expectations.  Well done Alan!"

– Mike Tiesma, Director of Business Development at Midwest Sign Company

"It’s been a pleasure to work with Mike at Midwest Sign Company and the Action Water Sports team for this sign project. I could not think of a better fit than the 6mm Fusion LED sign we used at this location. The AWS marketing team picked up on the software immediately to provide remarkable looking content from day 1. Midwest Sign Company provided exceptional service from start to finish and I would not hesitate to work with them again. Thanks again for your support!"

– Alan Nicholson, Regional Sales Consultant

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Topics: Going Green, Electro-Matic Sign News, LED Displays, News

Tiffin Metal Products Announces Digital Partnership with Electro-Matic Visual

Posted by Molly Austin on Jul 13, 2020 1:49:51 PM

Electro-Matic Visual is pleased to announce an exciting new partnership with Tiffin Metal Products as we join the digital billboard revolution.

We recognize the need to implement digital solutions to ensure we address the needs of the market and remain competitive in the industry. When the Digital Billboard trend began sweeping the Outdoor Advertising Industry, the investment for early adapters was extremely expensive. As technology improved, costs decreased, and advertiser demand began to rise. The partnership with Tiffin Metal Products and  Electro-Matic Visual has allowed the opportunity to blend digital boards into our traditional out-of-home advertising lineup and help bring our product offering into the 21st century.

Electro-Matic Visual’s Digital Billboards are the ultimate attention-grabbing display. These feature-rich, high definition billboards are completely customizable to fit any new application or replace an existing printed billboard. Features include:

  • Easy Installation – Assembled on site in multiple sections, resulting in installs that are less susceptible to windy conditions
  • Available in a variety of available pixel pitches to optimize image fidelity depending on viewing distance and traffic speeds
  • Includes a remote PC backup system to provide constant uptime
  • Includes a remote monitoring camera and the web-based software to manage it
  • Has a remote power monitor that features an auxiliary Electro-Matic controller and PC that is managed by a robust Siemens Power Monitor
  • Ability to remotely power cycle, monitor, switch video inputs, and receive email notifications upon any power failure
  • Power supplies integrated directly into the control panel to make change outs simpler and faster
  • 24/7 service and support team to assist you with a phone call or online chat

“We are excited to partner with Electro Matic Visual,” said Andrew Beebe, National Sales Manager for Tiffin Metal Products. Electro-Matic Visual is known for their strength in the electronics and high technology industries. This partnership will allow us to drive far more business impact for our clients.”

CEO of Electro-Matic, Rich Laramee, also added, “Given Tiffin Metal Product’s rich 90 plus year history in the billboard industry, we were very excited to partner with them in selling our digital billboard products.”

About Tiffin Metal Products Co.™

Tiffin Metal Products, established in 1903, has been serving the Outdoor Advertising industry since 1928. Located in Tiffin, Ohio, our 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility is staffed by trained professionals equipped with the latest in metal fabrication equipment. Our Outdoor Advertising Line includes Panel-Free™ and Lightweight 90™ Frames, Windguard™ Trim, Horizontal and Vertical Sections, Cone Door™, Junior Posters, Aprons, Wall Mount Bracket Systems as well as many support products. To learn more about Tiffin Metal Products please visit www.tiffinmetal.com.

About Electro-Matic Visual

Electro-Matic, founded in 1969, has been providing high technology, quality, electrical and electronics based products for over 50+ years. From early electronic sign boards to the amazing full color high-resolution displays of today, Electro-Matic Visual has been a leader in developing and refining LED Displays and lighting for over 30 years. Headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, EM Visual is proud to provide solutions for Commercial and Industrial LED Displays and complete turnkey LED Lighting solutions for any application. To learn more about Electro-Matic Visual please visit www.visual.electro-matic.com.

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Topics: Going Green, Electro-Matic Sign News, News, Billboard

Central Shop Rite's New LED Lighting Increases Light Levels by 67%

Posted by Molly Austin on Jun 9, 2020 3:50:30 PM

Central Shop Rite is a small-town grocery store that has been serving the local community of Vassar, Michigan for over 75 years. They have Deli and Bakery experts ready to serve customers with quality Kretschmar deli items and fresh, baked–from‐scratch donuts available daily. Central Shop Rite also offers fresh and delicious deli platters and custom cakes and cupcakes for any event you may have coming up. They are known for their well–stocked shelves and top–quality products like fresh Natural Angus beef and their own smoked meats and store–made brats in their Meat department, as well as their special Craft Beer section, local favorite Koegel’s quality meats, and most importantly all the smiling cashiers and convenient carry–out service every day at checkout.

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Topics: Going Green, Electro-Matic Sign News, LED Lighting, News

Gerald R. Ford International Airport Improves Curb Appeal Overnight

Posted by Molly Austin on Jun 9, 2020 3:33:30 PM

Gerald R Ford International Airport is the second busiest airport in Michigan with over 3.6 million people having traveled through it in 2019. They offer 140 nonstop flights a day to 34 popular destinations. Flying with Gerald R Ford means you spend less time driving to big city airports, waiting in big city lines, paying big city premium parking costs, and dealing with big city traffic headaches. 

Before working with Valley City Sign Company and Electro-Matic, the airport parking facilities director rented two construction-style monochrome amber signs to communicate parking updates and challenges for drivers as they entered the airport. Both of these signs cost the airport thousands of dollars every year and didn’t fit the rest of the airport's aesthetics. They wanted to upgrade their signage along the entrance of the airport in a way that matches the look of the airport, while also improving the quality of the messages displayed. It was also very important to them to have access to immediate messaging for any emergencies or parking structure closings.

The airport enlisted the help from Valley City Sign to handle the design and installation. Valley City consulted with Electro-Matic and agreed that a high resolution 6mm full color LED sign would give the airport the versatility and high quality messaging they desired.

Following installation, the LED signs were an immediate success for the airport. The parking managers quickly caught on to using the new software and the quality of the messaging improved instantly. The displays were a beautiful addition to the entrance and improved the curb appeal to the airport overnight—the airport no longer needed to rent expensive construction style signs anymore, and they can now communicate with drivers before decision points to alleviate congestion at the entrance of the parking structures and the terminal along with any emergencies that may arise . 

List products and services EM used:

  • Two 4x8 6mm Electro-Matic Fusion LED Display
  • 30 inches x 75 6mm Electro-Matic Fusion LED Display 

Any external companies that helped on the project:
Valley City Sign Company

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Topics: Going Green, Electro-Matic Sign News, LED Lighting, News

Great Lakes Composites Saves $50,000 per year with new LED Lighting

Posted by Molly Austin on May 27, 2020 3:35:27 PM

Great Lakes Composites is a 90,000 square foot facility specializing in Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) products. Much of their customer base is in the marine and recreation industry. They offer the convenience, engagement, and focus of a small production facility, with the resources, reliability, knowledge, and diverse capabilities of a large corporation. They are a “one-stop shop” when it comes to FRP and thermoformed products—assisting on product design (when needed), in-house pattern building, prototyping, in-house tool and fixture building, a multitude of molding capabilities, fixtured trim and finish capabilities with multiple SKU’s, and a full assembly group dedicated to value-add component installation and assembly.

Before Electro-Matic got involved, the Great Lakes Composites facility consisted mostly of a few hundred 400 watt metal halide fixtures. Though bright, these fixtures consumed a lot of energy which was costing them thousands of dollars each year in wasted utility costs. 

After Electro-Matic audited the Great Lakes facility, they knew they could provide a solution offering an LED lighting replacement with good value, excellent energy-efficiency, strong warranty, and easy installation. The Electro-Matic team recommended a 110w linear high bay that averages over 160 lumens per watt—putting out an impressive 17,600 lumens. The fixture also came with a 10 year warranty and a labor warranty allowance to cover any replacement costs. Due to the excellent light output coverage, Great Lakes Composites was able to remove fixtures in select areas to maximize their rebate with Consumers Energy.

The new fixtures improved lighting levels at Great Lakes Composites by over 30% while saving the company 450,000KWH, resulting in $50,000/year of cost savings. Additionally, Great Lakes earned a rebate from Consumers Energy of around $40,000.  

List products and services EM used:
Electro-Matic 110w Linear High Bay

Any external companies that helped on the project or solution and their services provided: Consumers Energy

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Topics: Going Green, Electro-Matic Sign News, LED Lighting, News

Ohio Outdoor Helps Local Businesses Advertise During COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted by Molly Austin on May 13, 2020 4:28:34 PM

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many fears and uncertainties that are outside of our control. We are worried about our families, friends, job stability, and our economy. In times like these, it is important to focus on the things that we can control. We can spend more time with our families, think of creative ways to reach out to family and friends, or even find new ways to connect and interact with customers. One of Electro-Matic's billboard customers, Ohio Outdoor, has done just that.

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Topics: LED Displays, Billboard

Beaver Valley Mall Sees Intense Savings After Switching to LED Lights

Posted by Molly Austin on May 5, 2020 12:46:48 PM

Beaver Valley is an indoor Commercial shopping center Mall located in Center Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, conveniently off of exit 39 of 376, and just 34 miles northwest from Pittsburgh. With nearly 100 stores, a food court, and a Planet Fitness, you'll find everything you need and more.

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Topics: Going Green, Electro-Matic Sign News, LED Lighting, News

Knox Community Hospital Honors Donors with new LED Display

Posted by Molly Austin on May 5, 2020 12:11:09 PM

Every day, individuals and organizations generously donate to facilities that they believe in and want to see succeed. After making a donation, it is common for a facility to honor these donors somewhere on site. Typically, donors are recognized with standard wall plaques, or some other type of list that almost always go unseen and unnoticed.

Knox Community Hospital is a 99-bed, Joint Commission-accredited, community hospital located in Mount Vernon, OH approximately 40 miles northeast of Columbus. Before working with Electro-Matic, KCH used their displays to not only communicate information, but to also familiarize the community with their doctors. KCH was disappointed in the graphic quality of their existing displays, which provided grainy images and unrecognizable faces.

When Knox Community Hospital made plans to build a new 88,000-square-foot family care center called the Wright Family Medical Pavilion, they knew it was time to upgrade their displays where the quality could finally match their gratitude. Knox Hospital wanted to build a donor wall that would show their appreciation for the donors that contributed to the new facility. They wanted to share their donor’s stories as well as their connection to the hospital. In recognition of the strong support of the Ariel Foundation for the Wright Family Medical Pavilion, and the expansion of services it will mean for the community, KCH were out for the best resolution display in the market place. 

Benefits of New LED Display

After evaluating Knox Hospital's situation, Electro-Matic helped find the resolution that was right for them. With their goals in mind, Electro-Matic proposed its 1.9 mm 1152 x 3072, pixel high-resolution indoor display, which allows images to be vibrantly and clearly displayed from distances as close as six feet—perfect for visitors walking by. At just 1.5” thick, the frame-less display provided a clear and vibrant platform for visitors to learn more about the donors and their stories.

A high resolution interior display allowed the hospital to honor all of their donorsnot just the few that could fit in the wall space. Although displays can be difficult to see in open foyer areas with many glass windows, ambient lighting doesn't stand a chance against Electro-Matic's superior LED display brightness levels. The display provides the opportunity to change content and share new information every month, week, or even day! 

Products and services EM used:
1.9mm HS Interior Fusion Display

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Topics: Going Green, Electro-Matic Sign News, LED Lighting, News