In UAE, the delivery boxes mounted on motorbikes are either lit by LED light or by EL Technology. Before going into the comparison of these technologies, it will be prudent to understand what EL is!
As per Wikipedia, ‘When current flows, the layer of material emits radiation in the form of visible light. Electroluminescent (EL) is an optical and electrical phenomenon where a material emits light in response to an electric current passed through it, or to a strong electric field. The term “electroluminescent display” describes displays that use neither LED nor OLED devices, that instead use traditional electroluminescent materials.’ In layman terms EL or Electroluminescent Light is basically an application of ‘light emitting paint’ on any surface & then passing alternating current through it. This leads the paint to glow! There is a certain technique to make this whole phenomena work & that involves proper layers of paint, creation of circuit, an inverter to convert the current into the right requirement etc. One huge advantage of this technology is it’s seamless application into practically any type of surface coupled with low weight accessories.
Hence, its application into industries like Aviation, Space Science, Elevators etc. can make some sense from a ‘cost & benefit’ point of view. Some auto garages are using this EL paint to beautify the car or bike by making creative designs on them. For customers, it’s more of a fad to differentiate their prized possessions from others!
BikeKitTM had invested some resources in early 2019 in researching this technology. We spent a considerable amount of time & money and contacted various experts across the globe to understand this concept in more detail. In fact, BikeKitTM’s founder, Ankit Agarwal, also undertook a trip to the UK & met some experts there who have deep knowledge of EL Paints and also hold certain patents. The discussion also led to a practical workshop, whereby he made some EL Panel designs along with them to understand the process in & out. Overall, the experience was very good & definitely it was a new learning, however, the question that
He drew a comparison chart (shared below) and came to the conclusion that this technology has no use in delivery boxes & is a complete waste of money for customers. Instead he innovated within the LED domain & elevated the product to World’s first LED Panel boxes. Now BikeKit’s boxes are made from a 12W LED Panel, instead of using the traditional LED rope / strip lights.
|POINTERS||EL PAINT||LED PANEL|
|Availability of product||Limited Availability. Restricted to experts who know the use of technology properly.||Products are easily available in the market.|
|Cost||The cost of EL Paint depends on many factors like the area that has to glow, quality of material being used, quality of inverter etc.||LED panels in comparison are very economical, at least 5 times cheaper to EL Panels.|
|Illumination and Brightness||EL Paint does not provide strong illumination or brightness because of the inherent nature of technology that is used.||LED Panel provides superb illumination and uniform brightness.|
|Reduction in Brightness||The brightness of the EL Panel will go down with passage of time, perhaps within 4-5 Years.||LED Panels have a long life of more than 15+ Years.|
|Ability to Change Branding||Once a EL panel is made, the design cannot be changed. It is a sunk cost.||The branding on LED Panel can be changed innumerable times too at very low cost.|
|Weight of product||EL Panels are very light weight.||LED Panels are bit heavy.|
|Repair and Maintenance||It’s impossible to repair EL Panels. If any issue happens with the circuit or paint application, the product is wasted.||LED Panels are repairable. In fact, BikeKit is providing a 1 Year warranty on its LED Panel Boxes.|
Thus, a quick glance in the comparison sheet will show that there is no unique advantage of the EL Paint. In fact it being ‘lightweight’ also doesn’t add any value to a bike rider, because, anyways motorbikes are meant to carry a pillion rider who can weigh anywhere between 10 Kg to 100 Kg! So if an EL Panel box weighs 8 KG & a LED Panel Delivery box weighs 11 KG, we are not sure how this 3KG weight difference will add any value to the bike! Secondly, from an investment perspective, the EL Panels are a sunk cost. If the company decides to change its brand color or message etc. the whole panel has to be made again & re-installation has to be done. Phew! That’s a phenomenal cost burden, whereas in case of LED Panel boxes, BikeKitTM gives the option of changing the branding message like a simple slideshow!
Ref link – https://www.bikekit.co/12-Delivery-Box-Branding–What-is-good,-LED-or-EL-(Electroluminescent-Light)