As light emitting diode (LED) technology becomes more advanced, products deploying it are becoming more visible in the truck market. Major LED lighting manufacturers for commercial vehicles such as Grote, Peterson, and Truck-Lite are releaseing more products using the technology than ever before. They attribute LED lamps’ longer life, durability, and light quality as reasons they will displace incandescent lights in many applications as time goes on.
There has been little debate over the effectiveness of LED products vs. traditional incandescent lights—the question has always been whether their use is economically advantageous. LED lights have been available for more than four decades, and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, “No other lighting technology offers the Department and our nation so much potential to save energy and enhance the quality of our building environments.”
Truck-Lite uses LED technology for its Signal-Stat line, which now features more than 40 high-diode-count lamps, as well as its Super 80 LED interior trailer lamps. “Providing an economical LED lamp that meets or exceeds heavy-duty standards is critical in today’s market,” said Brad VanRiper, Truck-Lite’s senior vp & chief technology officer.
“LEDs in trailers provide a brighter, whiter light that allows a more realistic view of trailer contents,” said Truck-Lite vp of marketing Bob Ives. “LEDs are more effective in cold environments like those experienced in refrigerated trailers and winter operating conditions. They don’t flicker like fluorescent lighting.”
One of the major benefits of using LED lights are their longevity. While the exact life expectancy is hard to quantify—Peterson’s measures it at 100,000 hours of usage while the DOE offers a far more conservative 35,000 hour estimate—LEDs use far less power than incandescent lights.
Safety is another aspect that LED manufacturers are concerned about. Peterson’s Piranha LED line protects against difficult weather and road conditions, including “skirted” weld joints and potted terminals to keep moisture out and linear welds for a more robust seal, the company said.
According to Grote, LED technology is already in use in applications for agriculture, construction, fire, rescue and EMS, aviation ground support, forestry, mining, landscaping and law enforcement. The company said it also has begun using both interior and exterior LED lights for military use, aiding the U.S. military on the battlefield.
Grote Industries said it has introduced the WhiteLight line of interior LED lamps to “optimally” light environments rather than simply provide the brightest light. According to the company, having the best lighting environment helps avoid fatigue, stress and injury, and provides optimum comfort.
"We call what we're doing ergonomic light because we are truly engineering light to meet the specifications of unique environments--optimizing the lighting conditions of these environments, specifically for the tasks to be performed within them," said Dominic Grote, vp of sales & marketing for Grote Industries.
The company recently introduced the Step Well LED WhiteLight lamp, which improves visibility in floor lighting for commercial vehicles such as buses, the company said. It is designed in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Grote added that chairman & CEO Bill Grote has focused on developing plans to utilize the benefits of LED technology for more than 20 years. "With the advancements in our LED technology, a production car or truck completely lit, inside and out, with LEDs is now a practical reality," he said.