An Introduction to Fibre Optic Lighting
A fibre optic cable is made of PMMA (Polymethyl methacrylate) plastic. The fibres are designed to enable the transmission of light from a light source known as an illuminator. The fibres distribute the light to a location where light is desired. There is no electrical current and no heat in the fibre cable advantageous when installed in wet areas or submerged in pools and spas. The outer sheathing of the fibre cable is UV protected, allowing both outdoor and indoor use, including areas where moisture becomes problematic to some conventional forms of lighting, such as strip lighting.
The illuminator's light source is derived from LED technology, giving us more control over the light's output, projection, and massively increased life span over its gas and halogen lamp predecessors. Current technology has allowed LightEFX to create a variety of LED illuminators with over 30,000 hours of LED life span, each designed for specific lighting visual aesthetics. Illuminators produce a single white light, multiple colours or twinkling effects appropriate for use in starry skies or galaxy type applications. Animations and synchronisation are possible with DMX illuminators, LightEFX's serial gateway for home automation integration provides users with even more control for a desired atmosphere and mood setting.
Fibre cables are available in bare (non-insulated) form, end-lit and side-lit. The end-lit fibre cables have the light shining from the end as the cable is sheathed in a dark PVC jacket to prevent light leakage, thus allowing a brighter emitted light from the end of the cable. The side-lit fibre cables have a transparent sheathing for the light to emit along the side and length of the fibre cable. The application governs the type of cable required, for instance, in a downlight application, the end-lit fibre cable is appropriate, whereas, a neon light type effect would require the use of the side-lit cable.
The lighting design and desired end-result determines the appropriate fibre cable sizes. Multi-core cables have more than one fibre core and available in various diameters from 4mm to 20mm. The fibre core sizes are typically from 0.75mm to 1.5mm, with the number of cores in a multi-core cable varying from 4 to 300.
The flexibility of fibre optic lighting allows for more creativity where conventional lighting is limited; a versatile system that is limited only by lack of imagination. The versatility extends from the home to commercial, industrial and corporate projects. Several examples of applications are:
Outdoor areas - Patios | Pathways | Landscapes
Wet areas - Pools | Spas | Saunas | Steam rooms | Bathroom
Indoors - Home theatre | Bedrooms | Dining rooms
Commercial - Lobby areas | Health centres | Sensory rooms | Venues | Building outline
Infrastructure – Bridges | Tunnels
Fibre optic lighting is suitable for multiple lighting purposes, visual interaction, efficiency, and low maintenance. It is also a great investment and talking point.