Not many businesses start at a kitchen table, but that’s exactly where it all originated for Aurora Lighting in 1999. Today Aurora is an internationally recognised brand, the only privately owned, vertically integrated, LED organisation in the world with manufacturing facilities in both the UK and China, with hubs and distribution facilities in every continent. Founder and CEO Andrew Johnson has been awarded and applauded for his designs, and now, as he leads the company into yet another era, with the rise of smart lighting, he talks humble beginnings and the bright future that lies ahead.
For Andrew it all began after many years of traveling and living in Asia, conducting extensive product development and research alongside longtime Taiwanese business partner and friend Jack Huang. It was during these years that the framework, which would eventually see Aurora become a global LED Light Manufacturer, began to develop. Jack Huang, who at the time owned a small original equipment manufacturing business selling electronic transformers, assisted Andrew in learning everything he could about the lighting industry and together they built an extensive bank of knowledge that would ultimately become essential when establishing Aurora Lighting.
Upon arriving back in the UK, Andrew found himself at ground zero. The idea behind Aurora had been established but the tools to build the foundations had not yet become accessible, “We really didn’t have anything — no computer system, no office, no bank accounts. We actually did start from zero and I’m proud of that,” Andrew said in a recent interview with CEO magazine.
The yet to be named company eventually became Aurora Lighting in reference to the world famous Aurora Borealis.
Andrew began with a focus on halogen lighting and attempted to fix some of the technical issues associated with electrical transformers and electromagnetic conformity. At the same time both business partners invested in a factory. Now with an original, marketable product the two began to distribute.
Soon after Aurora’s creation as an LED Light Manufacturer Andrew identified certain issues within the market, one of which was a need for a fire-rated solution within the industry.
The Aurora Lighting Group is vertically integrated, enabling the delivery of unmatched reliability, brand credibility and seamless compatibility across all product lines. Aurora’s 100% in-house ideation, industrial design, R&D, manufacturing, engineering, testing and research means the LED Light Manufacturer can bring new products to market quickly and effectively. As the company grew, Andrew focused on developing the technological aspects of LED lighting to ensure customers received affordable yet highly efficient, attractive solutions.
It’s a well-known fact that heat affects the performance of LED fittings. So as soon as Andrew realised this he began to seek a viable and economical solution, which led to the creation of the LED Light Manufacturer's lighting DNA - the interrelationship between light performance, optics, thermals and power, and later sensing and communications was added in 2016. These elements have a fundamental impact on LED lifetime, performance and data capturing capabilities.
Aurora combines all aspects of its Lighting DNA. Many technological innovations have been developed over the years, including ThermoTec™ technology, LEDChroic™ and EnFiniti™ optics.
Thermal management is a fundamental design component that removes heat from the LED chip providing longer life and consistent light output. Aurora developed and patented ThermoTec, which utilises a combination of highly efficient low temperature SMD LEDs that bonded directly to an aluminium heatsink and a thermoplastic insulation that was injected around the housing.
Optics focussed on designing and manufacturing the most effective technology delivering unparalleled lighting control in short-form factor for exceptional fixture compatibility. The patented design allows for controlled, even light distribution and mimics the halogen appearance with minimal glare and light loss.
Light source, the most crucial component of any luminaire, made high efficiency and quality of light its primary focus.
A focus on achieving maximum reliability and lifetime with high voltage solutions led to Aurora eventually eliminating the external driver. This allows for the removal of the electrolytic capacitor, arguably the weakest component in any LED downlight, which was replaced with an advanced integrated circuit. This led to the Power element being added to the Lighting DNA framework.