New NFC technology simplified by Tridonic
The use of Near Field Communication (NFC) is becoming popular for contactless data transfer in luminaire production, due to large time savings for programming driver settings using NFC.
Global smart lighting solutions company Tridonic has a personal NFC-compatible software package companionSUITE and LED drivers with NFC interface, allowing for easy switching to this new technology.
NFC is known as the contactless payment option in shops and other retail outlets. Thanks to the integration of NFC interfaces in LED drivers, contactless data transfer is finding its way into luminaire production more frequently. The correct settings can be transmitted wirelessly to LED drivers with an integrated NFC interface within a few seconds, which saves time and reduces production costs.
NFC antennas are available as handheld devices and as NFC interfaces, which can also be installed directly on workbenches. To be able to use NFC in the manufacture of luminaires, only one NFC antenna is required in production. NFC antennas transmit data via electromagnetic induction to receivers located in the immediate vicinity.
Since 2017, Tridonic’s companionSUITE software package has been available as a web-based tool for creating driver settings, programming LED drivers in production and, more recently, for analysing drivers of returned luminaires. This software package is compatible with common driver interfaces such as DALI, DALI-2, one4all and more recently NFC. Unlike the current standard interfaces, NFC allows the contactless transfer of the driver settings as the driver no longer needs to be connected to the transmission device using a cable. Data transfer does not require a power supply, which means that zero measures have to be taken to protect against accidental contact. Using NFC, up to 20 drivers can be programmed contactlessly at the same time, making considerable savings in production time.
In addition to NFC-enabled software, Tridonic offers a portfolio of LED drivers with NFC interfaces. The new portfolio of LED drivers for outdoor and industrial applications is already available with NFC interfaces. LED drivers in other protection classes and designs will also be gradually upgraded to include an NFC interface. In Tridonic’s current portfolio, there are a number of LED drivers that are compatible for programming via NFC. These are compact fixed-output drivers in an in-track design LC 25W 350–600mA flexC NFC T EXC and LC 40W 500–1050mA flexC NFC T EXC. Compact dimmable drivers for outdoor and industrial applications in the excite and advanced series: LCO 14W 100–500mA one4all NFC C EXC3, LCO 14/24/10/60W 200–1050mA one4all NFC C EXC3, LCO 14W 100–500mA NFC C ADV3, LCO 24/40/60W 200–1050mA NFC C ADV3. And dimmable drivers for linear and area luminaires in the premium series as non-SELV devices: LC 50/75W 100–400mA 140V po4a NFC h16 PRE3, LC 50/75W 100–400mA 140V o4a NFC h11 PRE3.
“NFC has become standard in the lighting industry, too. That’s why we have added LED drivers with NFC interfaces for different applications to our portfolio. We will also gradually bring our portfolio of drivers up to this new standard and equip new products with NFC interfaces,” says Tridonic vice president of product management Thomas Ölz.
“The immediate advantages of programming LED drivers via the NFC interface are obvious. Since a cable no longer has to be connected to the driver and several drivers or even entire packaging units can be programmed at once, time can be saved in this production step. But NFC has other advantages. For example, the driver settings can be quickly read and checked by attaching the device to the antenna, which facilitates quality checking or error analysis,” says Tridonic product manager of lighting controls Klaus Mohr.