Innovation / Products

Q&A: DCC Cylinder

The DMF design team discusses the latest evolution of our LED Cylinder family

DMF is proud to introduce the next evolution in downlighting with its updated DCC series. Including an uplight feature, new shades and trims, and a range of other options, the DCC series is reconfigurable to over one million variations. It centers on a modular system, so it’s exceptionally easy to specify, install and maintain. To learn more about the product and its features, we spoke with the DMF design team.


Walk us through how the new version of the DCC got started.

The first version of the DCC didn’t have much product variation. We did have some options, but it was more functional than aesthetic. So, the project that we are now launching with the shades and the snoot and a shorter version of the trim, that was to diversify the shape and functionality of the fixture.

People wanted functional light that could also be decorative too. So, we figured we have a great platform with the DCC, and we have this twist and lock feature that really gives us the capability to add pretty much whatever we want. How can we use this feature to add more design elements to our fixtures?

That’s where we came up with adding another decorative trim, and some shades to diversify the shape of the cylinder. You can focus light down or you can add different elements to a space from the suspended fixture or surface mounted fixture. We added the snoot because that’s going to help cut down on glare, and a hyperbolic trim, which makes a really cool effect as the light drops off of the surface.


And why did you add the uplight?

We did the uplight because we wanted to be able to add indirect light from our pendant. By adding another light source, you can increase the amount of light in a room as it’s going to be reflected back down to the surface. You are going to get more light back down without any increased glare. So your downlight is still going to be, for example, maybe 600 lumens down, but then your uplight can help you get to maybe 1,000 lumens.


So you see the uplight feature as expanding the applications of the DCC?

Yes. We spoke with a lighting designer and asked where would you put a pendant with an uplight. And he said, “all over the place.” People are focused, now, on more comfortable lighting. People are tired of getting blasted by blue LEDs, and they are much more willing to invest in an indirect light they know is going to make the people in their space much more comfortable. Having efficient light fixtures and more comfortable ways of lighting a space using indirect lighting is definitely the future. So, this uplight was just seeing the demand in the marketplace. Many people offer an uplight, but you don’t see as much diversity with accessories around this type of unit.


What was the goal of the new DCC series in the market?

More options: both in a decorative way, but also in a functional way. It’s making sure that we have not just one point of differentiation, but a number of different points of differentiation that we can provide to our customer base. We wanted to be able to diversify the capabilities within the fixture. It was pretty diverse to begin with, but we wanted to continue to make the DCC as flexible as possible.


Are there specific needs that you tried to meet with this product?

Architects are really keen on what options you have. They want fixtures that are diverse, that are going to highlight the spaces that they’re creating. So, they want something that can basically make the architectural elements look good, and is affordable, is ready to ship immediately, that they can put their trust in, and it’s going to last for five-plus years.

Then, when we get contractors in, they don’t want their guys spending 25 minutes installing a light fixture. The DCC is incredibly easy to install. Maybe four or five minutes tops, and you have your light fixture installed.

People in the hospitality industry come in and their concern is if a light is out in one of the bathrooms, say, in their hotel, they used to take that room out of service. So, by them understanding that it takes five minutes to take out a faulty unit and replace it with a good unit, they don’t have to wait for somebody to ship a new fixture, they don’t have to take out any drywall or anything. They can just replace a single unit within five minutes and they’re not taking a room out of commission for the night or more. This is something that people can stock easily in their maintenance rooms. So, there’s a number of ways to look at this product from a couple different points of view.


Has working with clients in different industries and different points in the chain of use taught you anything?

We always ask what could we do better, or what can we learn from another industry? When we went to the job site of one of the contractors we work with, and we saw how the speakers were installed to the joist on the project. And we thought, we can do that on our stuff. We can learn from other people. We don’t have to do everything the way they do it in lighting. We can take design elements or functional elements from other industries and implement it into what we do to make the installation process, or even the specification process, easier.


How does the customization process work with the DCC fixture?

For a lot of things we build it all custom and to order. So, we have to know how long do we need to make the cord? Do we need to send it out for a custom color sample? Do we need a warm-dim module or do you want just a regular module? Is it an adjustable or is it a downlight? It’s basically building that product and having the customer understand what they’re buying, and then making sure that it’s conveyed to us what they’re buying so when we ship the product, we’ve shipped them what they want and everyone’s going to be happy.

We know we’ve done a good job when we get returning customers. We get success stories a lot, and that comes down to designing products well that are going to work properly at their application. We’ve done all the testing, we’ve done all the qualifications, and there’s not going to be surprises. Sometimes we even do custom jobs for people, or a custom configuration with a certain power supply that they want or certain dimming system they have in their building and they know that we have the resources to do all the necessary testing. There’s a lot of value in that—having that on-hand expertise in-house. Honestly, what people look for is somebody that they can trust and they know they’ve given this project to DMF, and we’ve never let them down.


How is the DCC different from its competitors?

The differentiation comes back to our modular story, and our workhorse of a light engine. Also just the ease of use—how easy is it to change something out if you need to. How easy it is to build the product. We have an incredible support team should something go wrong, and we have product availability. So, if you find that you forgot the lights over the bar, you can call us and we can have it out the door in five days. We have really well-built fixtures that last a long time. The quality that we put into creating the products is a big selling point and why we retain the customers that we have. That kind of goes into the electronics too.


Can you speak more about the light engine?

We build our power supplies custom to the light fixtures that we’re designing. And how long the product lasts is going to come down to how well the electronics are on the inside. How well the driver is built. We build them in-house with our own engineering team, and so this driver is built to the specs of this module.


What are the unique features of the DCC?

The flexibility. That’s what we pushed big time—super flexible, easy to use. Put it anywhere by making a minor change, and it’s still pretty easy to use, especially with the twist-and-lock system. So, its uniqueness would be mechanical but also functionality.


What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of on the DCC?

That we were able to take a very streamlined product, offer more variations that can benefit a space, but also keep our core story the same. You know, modularity, ease of use, ease of configuration. Basically, expanding on something that was already great to make it even better.


How would you describe DMF and its core philosophy?

The ethos of the company is to take something that’s existing and make it better. DMF is taking that to another level with LED: making our own fixtures for universal housings that would perform better than—or similarly, and at a lower cost price point—than the competitor’s.


What makes DMF’s products unique?

We design our products for ease. Everyone finds that the products are really easy to work with—whether it be the specifier, or whether it’s the person doing maintenance. Everything is integrated into the module. So when something has to change, all you have to do is take out the module and the whole unit can be switched out really easily. That’s really good for maintenance, but it’s also good for a lighting designer.

We also focus on design a lot when developing products. The fixture looks good when it’s off, but also when it’s on—the light output is beautiful. The electronics are going to last: it’s not going to overheat, it’s going to meet all the code requirements, and it’s going to function well. It’s going to do everything really well.

Learn more about the DCC Cylinder.

 

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