Category: Construction + Economy

Big Activity With U.S. Computer Chip Manufacturing

Many LED drivers, luminaire controllers, and lighting control systems rely on computer chips. The COVID-19 pandemic created major disruptions to the global computer chip supply, affecting everything from cars to computers to all types of consumer electronic products.

Many LED drivers, luminaire controllers, and lighting control systems rely on computer chips. The COVID-19 pandemic created major disruptions to the global computer chip supply, affecting everything from cars to computers to all types of consumer electronic products.

THE CHIPS AND SCIENCE ACT OF 2022

Last week, the U.S. House and Senate each passed the CHIPS and Science Act, which provides $52 Billion to boost domestic production of computer chips, but also contains worker training funds and prevailing wage requirements for employers in the semiconductor industry. At the time of writing this article (7/31), the bill was on President Joe Biden’s desk, awaiting his expected signature. The law will direct $40 Billion to increase manufacturing, and $12 Billion for R&D. Today, only 12% of high-end semiconductor manufacturing is done in the U.S. The CHIPS and Science Act is expected to significantly increase that percentage.

INTEL PLANT

In January of this year, Intel announced plans for a new $20 Billion computer chip manufacrturing hub near Columbus, OH. The company expects it to grow to become one of the largest semiconductor manufacturing sites in the world. Back in June, Intel’s CEO warned that the new plant was in jeopardy if the Congress didn’t pass the CHIPS and Science Act. That issue is resolved with the Senate and House passage of the bill, last week.

SAMSUNG PLANT

In November 2021, Samsung announced its plan to build a $17 Billion computer chip factory, outside Austin, TX. To reinforce the deal, President Biden visited a Samsung plant in South Korea, during his recent visit, in May, 2022.

The three actions above represent $89 Billion of new investment in the US semiconductor production industry. This will boost the US economy and reduce computer chip costs, impacting countless industries, including automotive, computers, consumer electronics, IoT, and lighting.

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Product Monday: Award-Winning PC Amber & Narrow Band Amber Street Lights

I’ve written before about the mounting scientific evidence of a dramatic global collapse in insect and bird populations due to white LED streetlights. I predict, over time, a return to…

I’ve written before about the mounting scientific evidence of a dramatic global collapse in insect and bird populations due to white LED streetlights. I predict, over time, a return to amber streetlighting, but this time instead of HPS & LPS, it will be amber LED sources. This trend has already begun with several different manufacturers now offering amber streetlights. Another of my recent posts covered the recent DLC white paper about Non-White Light Sources For Nighttime Environments.

One of the pioneer manufacturers is Crossroads LED, whose innovative Astrophile Series street lights won the company the IDA’s 2021 Best Design And Technical Innovation Award. This award is given to individuals, organizations, or businesses that – through progressive design, construction, technological innovation, and entrepreneurship – support IDA and its mission to preserve night skies by promoting quality outdoor nighttime lighting.

The Astrophile Series is the first Phosphor Converted Amber (PCA) streetlight with a correlated color temperature range between 1650K and 2000K and a Narrow Band Amber (NBA) streetlight with a peak dominant wavelength of 592nm ±2.5nm. Most notably, the 1650K PCA and the 590nm NBA LEDs have zero emissions of short-wavelength blue light. Additionally, Crossroads LED incorporated an adjustable optical shield that reduces and eliminates both house and street-side light trespass, as well as a new aluminum housing designed exclusively to recess the LED lenses deep within the fixture, effectively reducing both nuisance and disability glare. Cities in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Missouri, and Washington state (USA) have all either committed or shown interest in the Crossroads LED “Astrophiles Series.”

More information is available here.

 

 

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‘Big Plumbing’ Muscling Into Lighting

For the past two decades, thought leaders in the lighting industry have been publicly lamenting that the lighting industry will be gobbled up by the electronics industry, Silicon Valley tech giants, and the big telecoms. 20 years into the LED era for general lighting, and this still has not come to pass.

For the past two decades, thought leaders in the lighting industry have been publicly lamenting that the lighting industry will be gobbled up by the electronics industry, Silicon Valley tech giants, and the big telecoms. 20 years into the LED era for general lighting, and this still has not come to pass.

However, there is another, less glamorous industry slowly increasing its acquisitions, footprint, and influence in the lighting industry, and it is hardly getting any attention. It’s Big Plumbing. Perhaps the most recent and largest move was Ferguson’s recent acquisition of Minka Group, a major decorative lighting manufacturer for the residential and resimercial markets. Ferguson is the largest wholesale distributor of residential and commercial plumbing supplies and pipe, valves and fittings in the U.S. The company also has 245 Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery locations in the United States that sell lighting and fan products. Ferguson is a $24 billion company that is listed on both the London Stock Exchange (LSE:FERG) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: FERG).

The Minka Group acquisition was just the latest move by Ferguson into lighting. Back in January of this year, Ferguson quietly acquired RP Lighting + Fans, another decorative manufacturer of lighting and ceiling fans.

It’s not just Ferguson, either. Kohler Company introduced its Kohler Lighting line in 2020, in order to provide decorative luminaires that pair with its plumbing fixtures. Moen also offers decorative lighting. Keep your eye out for continued moves by Big Plumbing.

 

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Chinese Trade Rebounds In May With Eased COVID Restrictions

China’s trade growth rebounded in May after COVID restrictions that shut down Shanghai and other industrial centers began to ease.

China’s trade growth rebounded in May after COVID restrictions that shut down Shanghai and other industrial centers began to ease. Exports surged 16.9% over a year earlier to $308.3 billion, up from April’s 3.7% growth, a customs agency statement said Thursday. Imports rose gained 4.1% to $229.5 billion, accelerating from the previous month’s 0.7%.

China’s trade has been dampened by weak export demand and curbs imposed to fight COVID outbreaks in Shanghai, site of the world’s busiest port, and other cities. Consumer demand was crushed by rules that confined millions of families to their homes.

Read the full AP story here.

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Distributors Report Infrastructure Law Funds Flowing

A recent survey by Electrical Wholesaling of the Top 150 electrical distributor chains, revealed that Infrastructure Law funds are beginning to be spent in the electrical market.

A recent survey by Electrical Wholesaling of the Top 150 electrical distributor chains, revealed that Infrastructure Law funds are beginning to be spent in the electrical market. The following percentage of responding distributors report that they see infrastructure law funds already flowing:

  • Expansion of high-speed broadband internet for underserved rural or urban areas: 12%
  • Electric utility grid expansion or retrofit: 6%
  • Electric vehicle charging stations: 14%
  • Expansion or retrofit of traditional infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges, rail, ports, and airports: 9%
  • Build, preserve and retrofit homes and commercial buildings: 8%
  • Modernize schools and child-care facilities: 11%
  • Upgrade veterans’ hospitals and federal buildings: 22%

The four bolded spending categories above will lead to more lighting sales. The EV charging spending is another reason multiple lighting manufacturers are jumping into the EV charger market.

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Hospital Lighting Market Projected To Surge

A recent LD+A article discusses the significant growth projected in the hospital lighting market. Research and Markets unveiled in their Hospital Lighting-Global Market Trajectory and Analytics report that the global market is expected to reach $8.5 billion by 2027,

A recent LD+A article discusses the significant growth projected in the hospital lighting market.   growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5%a revised number from the previously projected $6 billion in 2020. Fluorescent lighting is now projected to reach $3.7 billion at a CAGR of 4.4%, while LED lighting has been readjusted to a growth rate of 5.5% for the next seven-year period. Highlights from the report include:

  • The U.S. Hospital Lighting market is estimated at $1.6 billion and China is forecast to reach $1.7 billion, with a CAGR of 7.6% over the 2020-2027 period.
  • Other notable geographic markets include Canada, Germany, and Japan; each is forecast to grow at 4.5%, 3.1%, and 2.8% CAGR respectively.

To learn more visit www.researchandmarkets.com , or read the full article here.

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Lighting Industry Supply Chain Continues to Change

A recent LEDs Magazine article laid out ways that the lighting industry supply chain problems are not only changing constantly, but likely getting worse.

A recent LEDs Magazine article laid out ways that the lighting industry supply chain problems are not only changing constantly, but likely getting worse:

  • Shanghai lockdowns for roughly 6 weeks are significantly impacting both factories and the port there, adding delays. Shanghai is the world’s largest shipping port.
  • The war in Ukraine is impacting steel, aluminum, and some other commodity prices.
  • The microchip shortage continues to impact drivers and smart lighting components.
  • Commodity prices in general continue to rise.
  • Long-term container backlogs at US ports have eased, however, providing one bright spot.

You can read the full story here.

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Covid Lockdowns Relaxing In Guangzhou & Shenzhen

Lockdowns in two major Chinese manufacturing cities have begun relaxing, in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, last week.

Lockdowns in two major Chinese manufacturing cities have begun relaxing, in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, last week. Two weeks ago, Guangzhou became the latest major manufacturing city to lock down schools and travel, with fears that the lockdowns could spread to the manufacturing sector. However, last week, case numbers fell for several consecutive days in both Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

New Shenzhen symptomatic cases dropped to zero for some days last week. Shenzhen continues to see a large number of cases imported from Hong Kong, accounting for 19 of the 21. The remaining two imported cases both came from Japan.

In response to the falling number of Guangzhou cases, several previously locked-down areas in Baiyun, Panyu, Yuexiu and Haizhu districts have been lifted.

Many schools in Guangzhou have resumed in-person teaching and Foshan announced that people can now leave the city without needing a negative nucleic acid test issued within 48 hours.

For Shanghai, though, case numbers are dropping slowly, keeping the city in a terrible lockdown for more than a month. Shanghai reported 24,820 cases on April 17th and 17,468 cases on April 22nd. My own friend in Shanghai reports that food shortages are becoming a significant problem for the poor and migrant workers.

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NEMA Creates Federal Infrastructure Project Portal

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act  (IIJA), signed into law in late 2021, represents a significant milestone in the transformation of U.S. infrastructure toward an accessible and electrified transportation system, modernized buildings and lighting, a more resilient grid, and a more efficient and expanded domestic manufacturing sector.

The IIJA

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act  (IIJA), signed into law in late 2021, represents a significant milestone in the transformation of U.S. infrastructure toward an accessible and electrified transportation system, modernized buildings and lighting, a more resilient grid, and a more efficient and expanded domestic manufacturing sector.

The IIJA’s nearly $450 billion investment in energy and electrification projects will unlock huge opportunities for American businesses and workers—including the more than 370,000 men and women employed by U.S. electrical manufacturers—spurring economic growth and innovation that will define the next chapter of our nation’s history.

Lighting

As the lighting market continues its shift toward more efficient, low-energy consuming products, the IIJA will accelerate existing market trends and invigorate new opportunities for the lighting industry.

The IIJA will also provide the opportunity to significantly upgrade the nation’s roadway lighting by installing connected light-emitting diode (LED) roadway lights, which will help create safer driving conditions and smart roads. Furthermore, NEMA expects the same LED-connected systems to be a key part of the EV charging network that the IIJA will help build across the country.

From funding for energy efficiency upgrades, connected roadway lights, to support for the latest in building code improvements, NEMA will track closely the implementation of these funds as they move through federal agencies, program offices, states, and specific program opportunities.

NEMA’s Infographic Detailing $450 Billion Of Infrastructure Funding For The Electrical Industry

The infographic download is available here.

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Survey Of 1,000+ Contractors Foresees Growing New Construction Demand And Hiring

Construction contractors expect increasing demand for numerous types of projects in 2022 despite ongoing supply chain and labor challenges, as most firms plan to add workers this year, according to survey results released today by the Associated General Contractors of America and Sage.

Construction contractors expect increasing demand for numerous types of projects in 2022 despite ongoing supply chain and labor challenges, as most firms plan to add workers this year, according to survey results released today by the Associated General Contractors of America and Sage. The findings are detailed in Expecting Growth While Coping with the Lingering Impacts of the Pandemic: The 2022 Construction Hiring & Business Outlook.

The percentage of respondents who expect a market segment to expand exceeds the percentage who expect it to contract – known as the net reading – in 15 of the 17 categories of projects included in the survey. Contractors are most optimistic about the market for highway and bridge construction, which has a net reading of positive 57 percent. They are similarly optimistic about transit, rail, and airports projects, with a net reading of 51 percent, and water and sewer projects, with a net reading of 50 percent.

These segments all stand to see increased federal investments because of the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure bill. Contractors are also upbeat about demand for federal construction projects, with a net reading of 37 percent, and power construction, with a net reading of 29 percent.

The highest expectations among predominantly private-sector categories, with a net reading of 41 percent each, are for warehouses and other healthcare facilities, which includes clinics, testing facilities and medical labs. The outlook for hospital construction is also strong, with a net reading of 38 percent.

Contractors were also optimistic about multifamily residential construction, with a net reading of 32 percent, and manufacturing construction, with a net reading of 27 percent. Expectations were more subdued, however, for public buildings, with a net reading of 20 percent; kindergarten through 12th grade school construction, with a net reading of 19 percent; higher education facilities, with a 16 percent net reading; and lodging, with a 6 percent net reading. Only two categories received negative net readings, both of -8 percent: retail and private office construction.

Optimism about the growing demand for many types of construction projects is leading many firms to plan to hire workers this year. Seventy-four percent of respondents expect their firms will expand headcount in 2022, compared to just 9 percent who expect a decrease. Forty-seven percent of firms expect to increase their headcount by 10 percent or less. However, 22 percent say their headcount will grow by 11 to 25 percent and 5 percent anticipate an increase of more than 25 percent.

Adding those workers will be a challenge, however. An overwhelming 83 percent report they are having a hard time filling some or all salaried or hourly craft positions, compared to only 8 percent who say they are having no difficulty. And three-fourths of respondents say it will continue to be hard to hire or will become harder to hire this year.

The pandemic continues to impact the construction industry, association officials noted. Eighty-four percent of respondents report costs have been higher than anticipated, while 72 percent say projects have taken longer than anticipated because of the pandemic. As a result, 69 percent have put higher prices into bids or contracts, while 44 percent have specified longer completion times.

Supply chain bottlenecks are also impacting construction. Only 10 percent of firms report they have not had any significant supply chain problems. Sixty-one percent have turned to alternative suppliers for materials and 48 percent have specified alternative materials or products.

Rising construction costs and slowing schedules have contributed to a significant number of project delays and cancellations. Forty-six percent of contractors report having a project delayed in 2021 but rescheduled, while 32 percent had a project postponed or canceled that has not been rescheduled.

The full article is available here.

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