What's new in: Lighting


LED products continue to dominate the discussion when it comes to lighting, with corrosion protection, cost, and durability among user concerns.

According to Jamie Lindemuth, marketing coordinator at Truck-Lite, customers also want improved visibility, and security while at the same time decreasing the electrical system load and maintenance cost.

“Truck-Lite's white LED technology produces bright, crisp, clean light patterns closer to the color temperature of daylight,” she says. “This technical achievement dramatically improves light output and overall visibility and improves projection distance in forward lighting as well.”

Truck-Lite offers drop-in headlamp replacements utilizing an LED array and complex reflector for even light output and streamlined appearance.

“Both Truck-Lite's Super 80 dome lamp with motion sensor and LED perimeter lamp offer superior illumination to the trailer interior and side loading/unloading zones compared to traditional incandescent products,” Lindemuth continues. “Truck-Lite's newest Sky-Lite product has a snap-in lens assembly resistant to damage from impact.”

Sky-Lite is made of polycarbonate and mounts on the upper sidewall of a trailer or body, allowing natural light to enter for increased visibility. The Super 80 with motion sensor responds to movement and body temperature, automatically turning on the light without a switch or timing device. The LED perimeter lamp illuminates the outside foreground of a trailer's loading/unloading zone.

Since introducing its first LED lamps in 1989, Grote Industries has seen the slow, but steady acceptance of the products in the marketplace among fleet and trailer OEMs.

“When it comes to lighting, Grote customers are all looking for the same thing, although they may not use the same terminology,” says Tom Draper, marketing manager. “Fleets have always wanted the lowest cost lighting solutions. It took a while for fleet maintenance managers to realize an all-LED solution was vastly superior to incandescents, because they focused on low initial cost. The savings over time come with no- or low-maintenance lighting solutions, not just in terms of maintenance cost, but in the increased uptime that comes with LED solutions, and the absence of late or lost deliveries.”

Draper points out that not all LED lamps are the same, though. “Today, budget-grade LED lamps degrade more quickly than quality designs, tend to corrode faster, and cause far more downtime than investment-grade designs,” he says. “Grote focuses on investment-grade, quality LED designs. Higher-quality designs not only pay for themselves in about a year, but barring heavy physical damage, outlast the equipment they're installed on. They also protect against poor CSA scores due to faulty designs and/or premature failure.”

To combat corrosion from salt compounds used to treat roadways in inclement weather, Grote has worked with trailer OEMs to “provide a corrosion-free system that starts with power cords, continues with Grote Ultra-Blue-Seal harnesses, and ends with a set of Grote LED lamps for every aspect of trailer lighting,” Draper says.

“Over the last couple of years, the biggest concern [of most fleets] has been corrosion prevention,” says Tim Gilbert, director of OEM & fleet sales at Peterson Manufacturing. “As far as lighting-related issues go, the root cause is still the need for better corrosion control. With the maturing of LED light designs and manufacturing processes, the lights themselves are rarely the cause of failures. The source of the problem is corrosion that enters the lighting system and migrates to the light.”

To combat that, Peterson partnered with Maxi-Seal Harness Systems to develop the Defender brand.

“Defender uses a modular design that decreases assembly and maintenance costs, further lowering a fleet's long-term total cost,” Gilbert says. “This ensures fewer trailers are subject to costly lighting equipment citations and unexpected maintenance delays. We have tested the Defender system over more than 3 billion road miles with fleets. Through all of our extensive testing, we confidently offer a 10-year corrosion warranty. That is the proof of reduced maintenance.”

Durability and energy efficiency are main considerations for most fleets when looking for LED lighting products, especially for cab interior, utility, and work light applications. According to Nancy Eaton, marketing manager for Optronics, its customers are “looking for lower cost LED solutions than are currently available in the marketplace.

“Optronics is focused on the development of high-quality, cost-effective white LED lighting products,” says Eaton. “We utilize the latest technology in electronic components to supply products with maximum output, energy efficiency and reduced cost. Value results from maximizing the power of the LEDs through careful circuit design, heat management, and engineered optics.”

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