The batten luminaire has had quite the incredible life already. Becoming widely available (and, perhaps most importantly, affordable) in the 1960s, battens have remained a firm favourite for commercial and industrial sites, along with domestic garages and home kitchens. Their shape helps to evenly illuminate widespread areas, with their long length distributing light better than smaller, more directional light bulbs.
The earliest battens to become available in the UK were created with fluorescent lamps. These lamps relied on mercury vapour to produce an ultraviolet light that generated a visible glow. The technology was first introduced way back in the 1850s, and termed ‘fluorescence’, but there were some pretty significant downsides to it.
The issue with the use of fluorescent lamps in battens was that they contained mercury. This meant that the battens had to be handled very carefully and disposed of properly to avoid breakages and prevent mercury from being released into the environment.
The Shift to LED Tubes
Around the year 2000, following the further development of LED technology, LED tubes were created to fit into old fluorescent fittings. This was a massive development in the evolution of the batten luminaire. However, there was still a small problem. While LED tubes were certainly safer, more energy efficient, and more cost effective than fluorescents, simply swapping the tubes didn’t bring all the benefits of LED lighting.
Retaining the old fluorescent fitting meant that it was still drawing current, making the LED tubes slightly less efficient than they could be. This meant that the old fitting had to be replaced and rewired, which while completely doable, was somewhat effortful.
That’s when complete LED battens moved in.
The Last 10 Years
Recently, LED battens have taken preference. These are sealed, all-in-one units consisting of both the LED-ready fitting and LED tube that are designed to replace existing fluorescent battens completely… or make it easy to add a new installation.
Since the invention of the LED batten, a number of additional features have been added to provide customers with even more choice. For example, some battens are IP65 rated to make them weatherproof, while some can be suspended from the ceiling.
Today, a huge number of recognisable UK lighting brands now manufacture LED battens, including the likes of Crompton, Eterna, V-Tac, Red Arrow, and Knightsbridge.
The Future of LED Battens?
While not commonplace in the UK just yet, smart LED battens are already being offered by some international brands, and are in development by leading UK manufacturers. This would see brands integrating LED battens with wireless lighting controls that will enable users to control their batten lights from anywhere, any time. Watch this space!