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So I came across this over the weekend on Sloan LED's Sign Box II and thought I'd post here for anyone interested to kick it around on their spare time. I didn't even have to do much on this one myself but one thing I did see on the Fluorescent side of things is a lot of fumbling around for something that is pretty simple with the simplest kind of knockdown raceway that anyone can just about pick up from their local hardware stores these days. I thought I would finish, or tell the rest of the story not mentioned, and that's what our expected cost would be using one over the other to save in time and what our customer will expect to pay for it. The Time Elapsed Video The final product with time Let's break this down on cost, and cost of operation and take a look at what we just saw and how it relates to our cost, what we will have to sell it for, and what the consumer will have to pay for. Let's just call this a 6' x 5' double sided cabinet. MATERIALS SHOP COST LIGHT SOURCES (30') 5) 6' Fluorescent T12 800ma Lamps - $6.04 each x 5 = $30.20 5) 6' Fluorescent T8 800ma Lamps - $22.00 each x 5 = $110.00 (Long Life Lamps) SignBoxII 20' Roll @ $390.54 each x 2 = $781.08 10' left over, or waste ($195.27) LAMP SOCKETS / CLAMPS/BRACKETS 10) HO Sockets $1.35 each x 10 = $13.50 Sloan LED's SignBox II LED Bag of 16 SignBox Clamps = $21.84 Brackets $7.62 each x 10 = $76.20 POWER SUPPLIES 1) HO Ballast (48' Load) = $62.95 2) Sloan LED Power Supplies $54.05 each x 2 = $108.10 POWER 8 Hours a day, 365 days a year. Annual cost of operation. T12 10.7 watts per foot x 30' = 321 watts 321 watts x 8hours x 365 days x $.12kwh / 1050 power correction = $107.12 annual cost of operation for 8 hours a day T8 8.37 watts per foot x 30' = 251.25 watts 251.25 watts x 8hours x 365 days x $.12kwh / 1050 power correction = $83.84 annual cost of operation for 8 hours a day Sloan LED's SignBox II 6 modules per foot @ .9 watts = 5.4 watts/foot x 30 = 162 watts 162 watts x 8hours x 365 days x $.12kwh / 1050 power correction = $54.06 annual cost of operation for 8 hours a day TOTAL SYSTEM COST BEFORE LABOR T12 = $106.65 T8 = $186.45 Sloan LED's SignBox II = $987.22 SAVING IN COST OF OPERATION Sloan LED's SignBox II vs T12 49% or $53.06 savings using SignBox in annual cost of operation Sloan LED's SignBox II vs T8 35% or $29.78 savings using SignBox in annual cost of operation MATERIAL COST SAVINGS T12 vs Sloan LED's SignBox II = $880.57 89% Saving using a T12 system vs Sloan LED's SignBox II T8 vs Sloan LED's SignBox II = $800.77 81% Saving using a T12 system vs Sloan LED's SignBox II CONSUMER RETURN ON INVESTMENT USING Sloan LED's SIGNBOX II T12 $880.57 Material Cost Saving / $54.06 Cost of Operation = 16.28 Years T8 $800.77 Material Cost Saving / $29.78 Cost of Operation = 29.55 Years VIDEO SAVING TIME 26 minutes 34 seconds 1 man labor at Journeyman = $33.00 per hour / 2 1/2 hour = $16.50 saving in labor using SignBoxII Now for the question to all of you. How much would you sell that 6'x5' (30sq') double sided cabinet for with simple faces (White with black lettering) as a Fluorescent and as a Sloan LED's SignBox II System fabrication & installation? What will your profit margin be? As a sign shop are we making money paying for and using a higher cost system? In the amount of time it takes to fabricate a complete sign cabinet are we loosing out on money keeping it conventional which has the lower cost and more proprietary (custom)? Now slightly away from this subject an in another subject to think about. What's to keep our trade to becoming as a commodity where the consumer can just go to HomeDepot and put their own LED system in where they just peel and stick? Now a day even schools have wide format printers, so vinyl and printing aren't really apart of the sign trade anymore. The only thing that's left IMO is sign painting, conventional back-lighting and Neon. When it comes to a mom & pop store sign just about anyone now a day can keep up a sheet of plex, anyone can print film, and just about anyone can pick up LEDs from a lighting store. What will keep our industry as a trade and be turned into a commodity which is the direction being pushed by those outside of our trade ? Large sign programs? Are we killing our own trade by not building unique and proprietary signs that does save money for us and the consumer? just some thoughts I'd throw out there since so many light source manufacturers are trying to dictate to the sign shop labor and cost and what they should be charging for retrofits like Ventex markets Are we soon to be just the middleman, the means for manufacturers to sell their products
Their at it again. There is always a place and application for all light sources but... The Drake Hotel Brings Light To Going Green http://www.travelmole.com/news_feature.php?news_id=2007827 "...The Drake Hotel and Olympic Signs of Lombard have teamed up to create green energy you can see. The Chicago landmark neon sign will be replaced with environmentally friendly Sloan LED lighting. Licensed by the EPA, Olympic Signs will dispose of the antiquated neon piping that used to adorn the 20ft "The Drake" sign. Thus, neon's 70 year run illuminating Lake Shore Drive officially ends. The new and improved sign will be the first of its kind. Olympic Signs President Robert Whitehead, whose company is known for green energy, has lead his team in the production of a new mold, a new source of energy and a new spin on an old goal: reduce, reuse and recycle. The original "The Drake" sign will be refurbished; essentially Whitehead's team will restore the background metal to its former glory. The neon piping will be recycled per EPA standards and the new lights will reduce the amount of energy the hotel needs to light "The Drake"...." ======================== If this is going to be another retrofit some neon gas pumped tubes to LED then The Drake should get ready for failure. We all remember the Genesee Beer debacle that we kicked around here a couple of years ago. Again, why retrofit something that's already in place? Just re-engineer the transformers and re-pump or retrofit with newer lamps. But Olympic Signs thinks they are saving the world from evil and curing cancer at the same time and one LED at a time. Olympic Signs say that LEDs over neon only cost 25% higher and that the sign user can make up for it in 10 months in energy consumption costs. Really? Genesee Beer had all kinds of issues from the start to the end, and if what I'm hearing is accurate they still continue today. Lets review those figures we came up with on that sign. Neon Project @ 380 linear feet 3.6 watts per foot x 380 linear feet = 1,368 watts $719.00 annual cost of operation @12 hrs a day for 365 days a year 11 Transformers = $990.00 New Wholesale Glass = $1,710.00 ****Much cheaper on glass cost for just adding new electrodes to old glass Total $2,700.00 SloanLED Flexibrite @380 linear feet 2.8 watts per foot x 380 feet = 1,064 watts $532.60 annual cost of operation @ 12 hrs a day for 365 days a year 22 Power Sources = $1,914.00 SloanLED Flexibrite = $7,075.00 ***Does not include the price of glue, clips, and caps and wiring Total $8,985.00 ROI: 48 years Hardly 10 months. But if Drake Hotel doesn't care about smart business sense and they just want to "pose" as a fictitious guise of been an earth saver by putting up a different light source among other things then hell, SPEND by all means. Sounds like they found the right sign company who will feed their ideology. I'm not hatin!! Money in hand and job is sold. Just don't remove a light source that does not degrade in light output, or be able to retrofit one with one that won't (Neon Gas)....with one that will and say it's better or better for the environment. Because it's not! Just sell it as what it is, an alternative to using Neon Lamps, not "Green energy you can see". Does Olympic not know Neon NOW is recognized as "Green" by UL? Last I looked it TOO has a UL Green Leaf stamp of wacko environmentalist approval A 70 Year old classic sign, The Drake has been a landmark....what a shame. Hope it works out for them
Pillsbury Dough Boy Done Down & Dirty Article http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/252366791.html And we have another! Leak gas??? They make it sounds like a health hazard. This time right now it's in the hands of the city's heritage preservation commission. I wonder if the Heritage Commission has all the facts in front of them presented by Lawrence sign before they're about to make a grave, costly mistake. Once again we have a marker, a pinpoint for the future that we can look back on and there is no need to predict, it will happen, because they're choosing to change a light source to this classic retro sign which are lamps pumped with neon gas, in turn they are nothing more than glass and gas a light source that does NOT degrade in light overtime, who's light output is NOT affected by outside temperatures, and to be retrofitted to one that is. We've seen it a couple years back Genesee Beer http://www.thesignsyndicate.com/forums/index.php?/topic/5364-signs-of-the-times-february-2012-issue/ Just recently in Chicago http://www.thesignsyndicate.com/forums/index.php?/topic/6406-the-drake-hotel-sign/ If we were all to be a fly on that wall at the time of the sales pitch, I'm sure they heard fictitious and misleading facts like "Energy Efficient".."Green"...."it's GOOD for the environment"...."Return on Investment in just s a few years!"....and according to the article cost of operation will go from $15,000.00 to $1,000.00. Someone may even have pulled out a pamphlet from the Ventex marketing playbook which exaggerates a 15kv neon transformers as having 500+ watts and costs to be doubled. Someone could have even pulled out a Sign Builder Illustrator and pulled out the article where Magic Mouth says LEDs he can save everyone 80% in cost of operation because his magic way is more "Efficient". I'm just very sure that whatever sales pitch was pulled it was unbelievable, somehow the Genesee Beers that were served were labeled as a IPA Craft beer. But for whatever reason maybe it was the overwhelming marketing moment, the show pony walking on it's hind legs, the salesmen juggling fireballs and no one bothered to take a sip of the beer to notice it tasted like tap water....maybe that was the idea, conjure a distraction. Should we so much as dare to take a thought at the idea that it was NEVER even brought up that maybe a money saving way to all this could be to keep things in heritable preservation, keep the historic value, is maybe just cut the ends off all the red neon pumped glass and re-pump the lamps? Wow, 60+ more years of life!! What else can we do? Hmmmmm, let's think about re-engineering the Transformer placement. Make some shorter runs maybe? Replace all the wiring? Hmmmm, do all that and we can add maybe another 20 years until a neon transformer replacement somewhere in the sign MAY be needed. Oh look, Red Neon Lamps do NOT degrade in light over time but LEDs do. How long before another retrofit should we predict? Or the replacement of a Electronic LED Driver? Couple years, less than a year? If this sign has been around since the 40's, the LED light alone won't even last a fraction of that. Should we even think that someone ever mentioned that the Neon cost of operation is only 3.6 watts per foot to the average 1.25 watts per foot to that of a Flex LED strip when it comes to red? If so, how did they get the $15k to $1k a year in annual operation??? What were these magic numbers that's saving in over 93%??? These numbers even top that of Magic Mouth himself and The New England Sign Spinner. We have a new player in town obviously. Of course it's been in "disrepair", I'm sure it's been nothing but talentless sign and lighting companies who have just over the years been replacing lamps and components and never actually fixing the issue that started it all in the first place. When said and done, and after the dog and pony act is finally gone long gone from the conference room, the excitement of of something "new" is diminished in the minds of the project managers and architects and the once classic sign, morphed into political correctness will soon turn into maintenance calls. The one year warranty by the sign contractor will expire, the 3 to 5 year warranty of LED lamps manufacturer will maintain for a short time but the labor costs in that period to change out those components will be absorbent. Shoulders will shrug, the look for answers will just turn into excuses and "...well...". That sexy attraction of this project will loose it's luster and maybe if the same people within the city are still employed in the same positions maybe, just maybe someone will take an actual sip of that ol stale beer to see what it tasted like and discover what it was that they actually got served that day. Then just like the Citgo Ballpark sign, they will have bought their own little Citgo project that went from Neon to LED Retrofit, to LED to LED Retrofit. Just like the other previous projects. I hope Lawrence sign doesn't remove all of the Neon Housing holes, they WILL need those down the road a lot sooner than they think. Somethings definitely getting/coming out of this oven for those 93% in saving that we saw on the baking product box, but it won't be a batch of cookies that mama used to make, something coming...it's just going to be a little flat in appearance and tasteless after the first bite and so on after that. With the cookie tray out and ready to eat and for a most likely 48 year Return on Investment. Retrofitting this project from Neon to Neon could have been in the thousands ($) range in materials alone, instead it will be in the tens of thousands range + the labor........well...that's what you get!! Bon Appetit Minneapolis!!!
This is a story that was posted on our site here back in August of last year, but with more infomation. Looking into the story more closely that were provided a lot does not add up, maybe someone can correct me, if I'm wrong. Genesee Beer Sign Relit with LEDs I think the sign installers just got themselves into a bind, I sure don't know what information Garston Sign Supply supplied them has to say, it's a good idea to retrofit a classic open channel letter sign that has red neon, to LEDs. But in a couple of years they will have an unhappy customer, and this sign will be re-retrofitted. Maybe it's a good thing they left the glass housing receptacle holes in place. There are signs that can be retrofitted with LEDs, and there are signs that you just don't do, this Genesee Beer Sign is one of them. Why do you ask? Here's the question that should have been asked going into this project, and something that should have been brought up. Does saving in energy for a new light source that regularly degrades in time, outweigh the other existing light source that does not degrade in light output? Maybe Victory Sign, Mower & Associates, Davis Marketing, or Gartson Sign Supply don't know. I dont think the owners of Genesee Beer are going to be excited with a re-retrofit bill in the near future. If I'm the owner of Genesee Beer, the ROI in an expensive upfront cost to gut and retrofit this sign with flexible LEDs to gain a little savings in power every year will never happen, it's like that boat that never ports, the golden parachute that never lands. Because in a few years, the project term will be, "Re-Retrofit". The least expensive route to this project WOULD have been to simply and efficiently "re-engineer" the existing neon system, make runs closer together, make sure there is proper drains and ventilation holes, check for reliable and proper loading, remake all new glass or BETTER YET use the old glass (maybe even anneal it too) and add new electrodes preserving that old uniqueness, neon glass is CHEAP! Whammo! Done! Red Neon does not degrade in light because it's only Glass and Gas, it's not even susceptible to ambient temperatures. NOW that would have been a story, "We preserved this sign in it's original form by taking down the classic neon glass made way back in 1952, and simply removed the electrodes and repumped it". IMO Neon Project @ 380 linear feet 3.6 watts per foot = 1,368 watts $719.00 @12 hrs a day for 365 days to operate 11 Transformers = $990.00 New Wholesale Glass = $1,710.00 ****Much cheaper on glass cost for just adding new electrodes to old glass Total $2,700.00 SloanLED Flexibrite @380 linear feet 2.8 watts per foot = 1,064 watts $532.60 @ 12 hrs a day for 365 days a year to operate 22 Power Sources = $1,914.00 SloanLED Flexibrite = $7,075.00 ***Does not include the price of glue, clips, andcaps and wiring Total $8,985.00 ROI: 48 years In the media link it's said the the Beer company only pays $26 a month in energy now, that's not possible, it would be more around $46 to $50, and the consumption is not double over using neon Between the 48 years how many times will this project need to re-retrofitted? In the current state of product I'd say, at least 7 times just being generous. I just hope one day someone can't say, remember "Citgo"?
On 2/16/2011 on N. Glantz's FaceBook page there was a question raised on their wall by a client or fan of theirs. They were asking if there was any sources they could go to to obtain information on benefits of energy savings using LEDs vs Neon in channel letters to show their clients. I pointed to some links here on some threads with various info. N.Glantz replied back pointing that person to Sloan LED's calculator. I then replied back after using the calculator that it was a pretty accurate compared to most that I've seen. I then set up a quick ROI calculations using the GW3 modules with neon on a set of 10 channel letters, and what the basic costs were, the ROI was something like 15 years or so, something like that it was long term. Letting the person know that using that particular module, it wouldn't benefit savings on energy annually because of the upfront cost. Now the post on their wall was deleted. That's not very nice. Was it something I said? Maybe if I would have plugged in JT LED's it would have stayed, but then we would get into a brightness issue as well. Some people just don't like the truth when it doesn't benefit them, what TRULY happened to standing behind what you sell. just because it was a higher cost vs neon for CL's doesn't mean it couldn't be used for something else in another application, or on a high rise building and such. This industry of ours, sometimes. How many more days till Vegas do we have? I need a beer.