what's new in: LEDs

Remember when LED lighting was available only as optional equipment from a limited number of trailer OEMs? Times certainly have changed.

Remember when LED lighting was available only as optional equipment from a limited number of trailer OEMs? Times certainly have changed. According to the manufacturers of LED lamps, most major trailer makers now offer at least one and, in many cases, several models that are all LED.

The increased life cycle afforded by LEDs, notes Grote Industries, has made it an easy choice for both manufacturers and fleets. In addition to traditional red and amber LEDs, Grote has recently introduced some stylish and high-powered white light LED dome lamps that make significant improvements to the ergonomics inside the truck.

White LEDs make great sense inside the trailer, Grote says. Their long life and vibration resistance provide fleets with an important ROI, particularly in refrigerated trailers where improved LED technology offers instant-on lighting, even in sub-zero temperatures, with no external ballast, low AMP draw and no tubes to replace. Grote offers two version of the standard LED dome lamp for different light-to-cost ratios.

Grote adds that beyond maintenance cost savings, there are real benefits to be gained from improved worker safety. The chance of trip injuries is greatly reduced, for example, since the LEDs provide a much brighter trailer interior. Also, the improved visibility makes reading and filling out paperwork easier, resulting in fewer delivery errors.

There are benefits for non-refrigerated trailers as well, Grote states. The company offers several different styles of dome lamps that allow for wall mounting and angle mounting. Flexible LED rope lighting is also an option, designed especially for use as auxiliary illumination in heavy-duty work trucks. A number of switching options designed by Grote engineers allow for brake override (automatically turning off dome lights when the brakes are released) and different locations for on/off switches throughout the trailer.

On the truck side, Grote says LEDs are becoming more common in marker applications and for interior lighting. The all-LED Grote Box lamp is a newer product for the back end of the truck. According NHTSA tests, a vehicle traveling at 55 mph equipped with LED stop/tail/turn lamps gives a trailing vehicle approximately 25 feet of extra braking distance compared to incandescent lamps.

Improvements in white LED technology have led to their increased use inside trucks and trailers. According to Truck-Like, the LEDs have a big advantage over incandescent and fluorescent lights since they provide a brighter, whiter light that allows a more realistic view of a trailer's contents. More importantly, they are effective even in cold temperatures and don't flicker like fluorescents do.

White LED lighting products available from Truck-Lite include the 80 Series interior dome lamp. It features the company's exclusive OmniVolt technology, with full lighting provided from as low as 10 volts to as high as 30 volts with no loss of brightness or lamp life, the company reports. Truck-Lite recently released the Super Strip-Lite, which uses LEDs evenly spaced on a fabricated aluminum channel in 2- and 4-ft. options, and either a flat-mount or corner-mount shape.

Truck-Lite's newest white LED product is a work lamp that incorporates the best features of its incandescent counterpart with an LED light source and robust housing to create a heavy-duty, 100,000-hour lamp. The manufacturer says the LED work lamp comes to full brightness much sooner than the incandescent version, and its intensity and pattern is also superior. The white LED work lamp is designed to operate in a 12-volt environment, but will function at full brightness from 8.5 to 16 volts, drawing only 1.2 amps compared to the incandescent 2.93 amp draw.

Last year, Phillips Industries began applying white LED technology to its product line. Last fall, the company officially introduced an LED version of its popular Permalite fluorescent dome lamp. The lamp provides up to 100,000 hours of light in the most extreme temperature conditions (-50 to +180 deg. F), according to Phillips, making it an especially appropriate for refrigerated fleets.

The LED Permalite lamp incorporates a 6-diode in-line pattern that provides whiter, longer lasting and more consistently diffused light than incandescent models, Phillips explains. Fleet operators get more efficient, high quality lighting for the interiors of their trailers, while reducing the associated maintenance costs of less durable alternatives.






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