RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CA (BRAIN)—Serfas product manager Erik Braucht hunkers over a small laptop; his eyes fixed on the numbers and what they might reveal.
“When you go out and look at lights everybody rates it differently,” Braucht said at Serfas’ Orange County, California headquarters on a recent morning. “If you go on this Web site, they rate it in lux. If you go on this Web site, they rate it in candlepower. If you go on this Web site, they do it lumens. Suppliers of LEDs use a lumen rating.” A lumen is a measurement of the amount of brightness that comes from a light source.
Serfas recently purchased thousands of dollars worth of light testing equipment including an integrating sphere (black object in picture that the bike light goes into for testing) and traceable standard bulb so Braucht can pinpoint—with as much accuracy as possible—numbers such as lumens and burn times on Serfas lights.
“This is for us to make a better product, and something that the retailer understands,” Braucht said. “No.1 [this is] to make sure we’re understandable for the retailer. We can say this is how we measure. If they ask which one is brighter, we can say. Or if I’m developing something and the [the factory] says it should be 300 lumens and it comes in at 150.”
Serfas, Braucht said, has always been known as a “to be seen” light company, specializing in commuter lights and the like. “Now we’re getting into the more ‘to see’ stuff—the 150 and 250 rechargeable lights.” Serfas will be releasing these respective lights by the end of the month, according to Braucht.
Braucht said that Serfas actually changed its packaging on 2011 lights to reflect the more accurate numbers. Yet this new testing equipment isn’t just for finalized product and quality control.
“I’ve taken a light that I’ve been developing and it’s come out, and I’ve totally changed the way it’s been designed—just by repositioning the LED it can change the lumen count,” Braucht said.
Serfas’ new Web site next year will detail the way the company now tests its lights.
“We’re trying to educate the end user and retailer rather than just throw stuff at them, so they know they’re getting what they paid for,” Braucht said. “If they’re buying a light at 250 lumens it’s going to be 250 lumens. For me it really means doing the best bang for your buck for the end user.”