Millions of visitors to the Forbidden City in Beijing, China are enchanted by its history and majesty. A little known fact is that one Malaysian company is playing a part in adding to the atmosphere through LED lighting.
In 2008, ItraMAS Technology Sdn Bhd was awarded the contract to provide LED lights for this world-heritage site. Lighting cost were of course an essential consideration. For safety reasons, the lighting system had to fulfil the requirements for the conservation of this heritage site. They had to be UV and infrared free. No electrical wiring was allowed in certain sections of the building.
ItraMAS’ Q-RAY products fulfilled all these needs. With the added benefit of lasting for more than 20 years, intrusive maintenance within the listed site was reduced drastically.
All success begins with an idea: For ItraMAS the decision to pursue success with LED lights seemed obvious. “It’s an idea whose time has come,” says Lee Choo Boo, Group MD and CEO of ItraMAS. “There is growing concern about how much energy we consume. This is a major cost not just for individuals, but also businesses and governments. Given our modern lifestyles, it is hard to cut back on the number of appliances and gadgets we use, so of course our demand for energy keeps rising. The challenge is to be more efficient. That’s where LED has a major role to play.”
The company’s first break came from its involvement in the setting up of intelligent transport systems in 1999. With today’s traffic woes, real-time information can mean the difference between sitting in a jam for hours or knowing when to take an alternate route.
LED signs are also widely used for directional and public information at train stations, airports and highways. ItraMAS manufactures a range of products under the brand name TransLED, including variable message signs, traffic lights, and passenger information display systems.
ItraMAS produces a range of LED lighting products in both tube and bulb formats. Its desk-lighting unit, the Q-RAY MP-400 desk lamp, has garnered a host of awards including quality of light award in the Lighting for Tomorrow competition held in the US in 2008. It also became the first LED desk lamp to be ENERGY STAR listed. To meet ENERGY STAR qualifications for both residential and commercial applications, LED fixtures need to meet very stringent standards in terms of energy efficiency and long-term product reliability.
Penetrating international markets: It was only a short leap from these beginnings to investing in research and development to explore the potential for LED lighting. ItraMAS’ products are already available in the US and Europe under the brand Q-RAY.
“There is a lot of interest in LED lighting overseas, both for outdoor use as street lighting as well as in commercial buildings and homes, business premises and factories,” says Lee. “We were able to meet industry and quality standards set by governments overseas. We have refined our products and earned global accreditation. We have been tried and tested and are now ready to bring this technology home to Malaysians.”
A key part of the ItraMAS ethos is giving back to society in terms of job and career opportunities, so all manufacturing is done in Malaysia. “Our challenge now is to make our products even more affordable so all Malaysians can enjoy the benefits of home-made energy saving and efficient technology. The key here is to bring the cost down rapidly through extensive material research and development without cutting corners or compromising on quality,” continues Lee.
Quality is essential: In recent years, ItraMAS has been in dialogue with government agencies, and works closely with accreditation bodies like SIRIM. “We must have standards. People must be assured that they are getting a value-for-money product that has a decent lifespan. Proper standards and certification by a recognised body like SIRIM will give people confidence,” says Lee.
“The setting up of LED standards is another huge milestone for our nation. The 12 MS issued in April addresses the issue of quality and encourages healthy competition amongst LED manufacturers,” he adds. “With the various ministries, agencies and organisations, both public and private, working together towards achieving desired energy efficient goals through LED technology, everyone ends up being a winner.”