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The Road Less Traveled: Part 1

The Road Less Traveled: Part 1

In a lighting market dominated by LEDs, what’s become of ‘legacy’ technologies like fluorescent and HID?


With LEDs now supporting most every application in the lighting market, LED technology is all the rage.  But what’s become of the many legacy technologies – e.g., fluorescent, HID, incandescent, halogen, etc. – that previously dominated the market for decades?  In Part 1 of lightED’s two-part coverage, three experts nationwide – Rhandi Kuchenmeister, purchaser at K/E Electric Supply Corp. in Mount Clemens, MI (www.keelectricsupplycorp.com), Sean Retting, manager of project quotations at Blazer Electric Supply in Colorado Springs, CO (www.blazer20.com ), and Ryan Micheletto, district operations manager at Crescent Electric Supply in Joliet, IL (www.cesco.com) – discuss their current sales of legacy technologies and their approach to stocking these ‘older’ items.


lightEDIn today’s LED-centric market, do you still sell a sizable amount of older lighting technologies like fluorescent and HID?  What percentage of your lighting sales would you estimate these older technologies represent versus LEDs today?

Kuchenmeister:  I would estimate that 80+ percent of new projects are looking for LED fixtures and lamps across the entire fixture schedule. I doubt if many architects or engineers are considering non-LED products anymore unless it’s a really niche application. As far as our stock business from Sylvania, we’re close to 50/50 when it comes to overall dollar volume and the legacy lighting market is on a continuous decline.

Retting:  Fluorescent is definitely more common than HID at this point, but even those requests have dropped dramatically. On the rare occasions where T8s or T5s are called for on projects, I usually have an alternate LED package to offer contractors which is less expensive. I would say that around 5 percent of the jobs I manage involve the old technology.

Micheletto:  While we’ve been one of the few markets over the last few years to actually grow our sales of legacy lighting technologies, a large portion of this was due to specific national project business. Outside of that, very few of our actual lighting sales go to legacy technologies, especially newer projects. I would estimate that less than 5 percent of our current stock lighting business is going towards older technology, and an even smaller percentage is going towards newer projects. In fact, I would go so far to say that less than 0.5 percent of our current lighting project business is being quoted with older technology in our market.


lightEDWhat types of customers are requesting these older technologies and what are the applications for them?

Kuchenmeister: There are still many applications or installed bases that are better served by replacement than retrofit, although that’s shrinking rapidly.  Not everyone jumped on the LED train right away when it comes to hazardous location/explosion-proof areas or when the cost of replacing the fixture outweighs the ROI from energy savings.  There are many options for retrofitting a fixture but not every lamp is enclosed fixture or wet/damp location-rated and we still run into applications of physical size and/or weight being too big or heavy for the fixture.

Retting: Occasionally engineers will still specify fluorescent fixtures, but the largest number of requests I get are from building maintenance professionals or electricians who are just trying to fix existing fixtures. For example, these requests might involve decorative poles/heads installed years ago where the end user would rather just replace lamps instead of trying to retrofit the heads.

Micheletto: Nearly all of our older technology sales are over-the-counter, through-stock sales that range from the smaller, onesie-twosie lamp and ballast replacements to complete re-lamping and spot ballast replacement of current facilities. This is simple repair-and-replace work and preventative maintenance.


Tune in Thursday for Part 2 of our interview with Rhandi Kuchenmeister, Sean Retting, and Ryan Micheletto on their approach to stocking legacy lighting technologies and what they believe will become of the market for these older light sources.

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Susan Bloomis a 25-year veteran of the lighting and electrical products industry. Reach her at susan.bloom.chester@gmail.com.

Discussion (1 comments)

    Chuck Woolery September 6, 2018 / 8:26 am

    What a great article. I thank you for sending this to us.

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