Just south of Fort Worth, Texas, Kobi Electric is a leading manufacturer of LED bulbs and fixtures with products designed residential, commercial, industrial, health care, hospitality, educational and agricultural facilities, retrofit projects and more. No matter the application, every Kobi Electric product is built to the highest LED lighting standards by the company’s team of in-house electrical engineers, designed to deliver up to a 86 percent energy savings.
“From conceptual design to our in-house quality control lab, engineering is the driving force behind what we do at Kobi Electric,” explains Mark Austin, director of business development. “We’re devoted to research and development in LED technologies and we’re on a continuous quest to develop new products on the cutting edge of the industry.”
Although Kobi Electric supplies LED bulbs and fixtures across the country and into Canada and South America, Austin says the company is unique in its small size and structure. “We’re a small, family-owned company with about 15 employees,” he says. “We have a unique position in the industry because Kobi Electric’s parent company, Kobi Group, is involved in the oil and gas industry.”
In-house engineering and design
Kobi Electric launched in 2010 in an effort to keep the talented engineers at Kobi Group employed. “At the time, the oil and gas industry was slow and our parent company didn’t want to let go of its engineers, so Kobi Group started looking into LEDs,” recounts Austin. “Engineers have an inherent desire to make whatever it is they’re designing as efficient and long-lasting as possible, so LEDs were a perfect fit.”
“Now as a manufacturer, we design and test our own bulbs and fixtures to the highest engineering standards,” says Austin. “Our team takes great pride in what they do. They’re very concerned about the quality, longevity and sustainability standards of the product.”
In terms of LEDs, Austin says Kobi Electric may not be the most inexpensive, but in the long run the company’s bulbs and fixtures far outlast cheaper counterparts. “We do things a little differently than other LED manufacturers,” he says. “Technically, you can buy a bulb from China for about a $1, but you don’t know how long it will last or if it will overheat. For us, it’s about maintaining a high-quality standard – at the end of the day we are engineers and really proud of the product.”
In fact, Kobi Electric is so confident in the integrity of its products that the company has a five-year, full-replacement warranty on every type of bulb and replacement fixture – traditional bulbs or outdoor, flood and spotlights, decorative bulbs, high lumen, tubes, LED panels and more.
Changing the lighting game with full fixture replacement
The commercial and industrial retrofit market has been a strong foothold for Kobi Electric and Austin says as building and energy codes change, the industry is sure to see a major shift. “You have things like Title 24 in California making LEDs more standardized and the U.S. Green Building Council is doing its part to influence change,” says Austin. “Once the industry catches up to the innovation, our products are going to be more standard. It’s more than a different bulb; it’s about cleaner energy and this has the potential to be a game changer.”
Kobi Electric has seen demand at its door for LEDs in every sort of project, from a 5,000-bulb Department of Energy project to chicken coops in the Southwest. “An interesting area that’s been a real success for us is in chicken coops where the lights need to stay on around the clock; the brightness of the bulb can affect the growth of chickens,” says Austin.
The market is shifting to more than just bulb replacement retrofits and now includes changing out entire fixtures. “We’re adding panel LEDs in 1×4, 2×2 and 2×4 lengths,” he says. “Instead of directly replacing the T8 tubes, we’re replacing the whole fixture, which is going to be an important component when the industry pushes for more lighting rebates.”
The Kobi Electric LED T8 Plug+Play tubes do not require rewiring, ballast removal or changing of lamp holders and are a direct replacement for instant start fixtures. “Just remove the old fluorescents and replace with Plug+Play tubes. These tubes will be available in 1,000, 1,800 and 2,200 lumens and a dimmable version will also be available that will operate with standard dimming fluorescent ballasts,” says Austin.
Kobi Electric is also expanding its outdoor LED line with wall packs, shoeboxes and floods. “These wall packs will be available in 40, 60 and 90 watts in both Full Cutoff and Semi Cutoff options,” adds Austin.
All Kobi Electric wall packs are dimmable with zero to 10-volt dimming and are California Title 24 compliant. They can be easily interfaced with lighting controls like motion sensors or photocells. Both designs come in a standard dark bronze finish, 5000 Kelvin color temperature and are rated for 50,000 hours.
Another unique corner in the LED market for Kobi Electric is the company’s PLC REWIRE retrofit bulbs, popular in commercial and industrial settings. With a universal base that is compatible with two-pin diagonal and four-pin CFL sockets, Kobi Electric LED PLC REWIRE lamps are low-maintenance and energy-efficient alternatives for traditional PL tube compact fluorescent lamps.
In-stock and on-time
“Kobi Electric is one of few manufacturers with this bulb on the market,” says Austin. Offering such a broad range in indoor-outdoor, commercial, industrial and residential products, Austin says another point that sets Kobi Electric apart is the company’s stock of some $5 to $6 million in product at any given time.
“Anytime you get a good bid on a sizable project, you’re moving $30,000 worth of product,” measures Austin. “Anyone in the business world sees this as a liability, but the cash flow in this industry is similar to oil and gas refinery construction, you have to have the capital to fund everything ahead of time. Our business model with Kobi Group allows us to be very successful stocking large bids.”
Austin says this is particularly unique in the LED world, where most companies take weeks to get enough product shipped from China. Responsiveness also sets Kobi Electric apart. “We’re small and family-owned, so when someone calls, they can speak to a person,” says Austin.
In the ever-evolving LED market, Kobi Electric is setting the bar high in quality bulbs and fixtures engineered for the long haul.
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