New solutions are bright, durable and increase your ROI.
By Brian Astl
Light-emitting diode (LED) technology has been around a long time, but is just now starting to replace large area lights cost-effectively. This is big news for rental centers.
While it has been easy to replace household bulbs or flashlights with LED, lighting large areas with LED technology (think tower lights) is more difficult because they require much greater brightness. The new generation of LED large-area lights can match the output of a 1,000-watt metal-halide light with a fraction of the energy.
Older-generation LED lights used by some manufacturers didn’t reach the brightness needed to match existing bulb-based lights, which soured some customers. Users believed that LEDs are an inferior light source and couldn’t match the output of large-area metal-halide bulbs.
Just like a car engine many components go into making an LED light so it is powerful enough to match or beat the output of metal-halide bulbs.
The Lind LE980LED light cart offers the same usable light output as a 4 x 1,000-watt metal halide cart, yet uses just 20 percent of the power. LED technology almost eliminated maintenance requirements.
The best LED lighting manufacturers use quality components to build durable LED large-area lighting that can produce bright, white light.
Lind Equipment’s LE980LED large area light falls into this category. It can replace a traditional 1000-watt metal-halide light with only 200 watts of energy draw. That’s an 80 percent energy reduction in a product that eliminates bulb or ballast changes.
Understand LED brightness
A common question is why LED light data sheets show a smaller lumen number than traditional metal-halide bulb-based lights. If they are truly the same brightness, then shouldn’t the lumen value, which is a measure of the total amount of light that a light source produces, be the same between an LED and the traditional bulb?
For example, the Lind LE980LED large area LED light, which replaces a 1,000-watt metal-halide bulb, produces 30,000 lumens vs. the 100,000 lumens reported for metal-halide bulb. How can the LED claim it is the same brightness?
It comes down to the technology differences between LEDs and bulb-based lights. Bulb-based lights may show a higher lumen number; but what really matters is how much of that light is actually usable. A 1,000-watt metal-halide bulb typically comes in at 100,000 lumens. However, half of that light goes in the wrong direction – back into the light fixture housing and not toward the work area. Light fixture reflectors do very little to reflect the light to the work area, so the bulb immediately loses half of its 100,000 lumens.
LED-equipped light towers can effectively light up job sites, have few bulb issues and require much less power to use when compared with light towers outfitted with metal-halide bulbs.
As the metal-halide bulb ages, its ability to produce light is reduced rather quickly. Of the 50,000 lumens projected toward the job site, 40 percent of that lumen output deteriorates. That means a 1,000-watt metal-halide bulb produces 60 percent of 50,000 lumens, or 30,000 usable lumens. Coincidentally, that’s the same number of lumens projected by equivalent LED lights that direct all of their output to the job site. Plus, LEDs have little light power deterioration over time.
LED light customer value
There is much more value for customers and equipment rental companies than just simply matching or beating the brightness of bulb-based lights. LED tower lights, floodlights and cart lights offer customers features they will appreciate.
The LED technology, regardless of manufacturer, make bulb-changing tasks a thing of the past. LEDs are significantly more energy efficient than bulb-based lighting, which means the operating costs are significantly reduced. LEDs produce very little heat and light instantly, creating a safer work environment.
When built correctly, LEDs can also create a more flexible work environment. For example, Lind Equipment’s Beacon LED tower can use an external power source or be powered by small suitcase generator placed inside the housing. Well-built LED lights provide ease of use and easy movement around the job site.
Equipment rental benefits
The value to equipment rental locations is quite high. Rental centers that currently have bulb-based floodlights or tower lights know too well how much time is spent changing bulbs and ballasts or dealing with downtime for generator engine maintenance.
With well-built LED lights, maintenance practically disappears. A well-built LED light can come off rent, be given a hose-down if it’s dirty and then put right back into service. LED units can dramatically reduce internal maintenance while offering customers a better overall product.
LED lights can actually be more cost-effective than bulb-based lights. For example, a traditional 4 x 1,000-watt metal-halide generator light tower inefficiently consumes power and needs to have a large generator permanently attached to it. Most of the cost and weight in the light tower can be directly attributed to it.
The Beacon LED tower offered by Lind Equipment features award-winning LED light tower design and weighs less than half of a traditional bulb-based tower. It fits into pickup truck bed and fits through a man-door. The lower weight cuts the cost to about half of metal-halide units.
Rental centers can reduce asset costs by half while renting out the light tower at the same prices as before, effectively doubling ROI while improving customer satisfaction.
Range of options
There are many different ways to deploy LED lighting, which could replace every large-area light in rental fleets. LED lights can replace the traditional 500-watt quartz-halogen lights and there are new 360-degree LED lights that can replace wobble-type lights. The newest innovations on the market go further into the large area metal halide lights, replacing metal-halide cart lights and offering LED retrofit kits for bulb-based light towers.
Brian Astl is president of Lind Equipment.
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