Nighttime Construction Difficulties: Equipment Lighting Solution|
More and more construction is taking place during evening hours in an attempt by contractors and city and local managers to reduce or avoid the problems associated with carrying out construction activities during the day. Performing construction work at night takes advantage of several benefits, most notable of which are reduced traffic levels and cooler working temperatures. Unfortunately, working during evening hours also presents problems as well since there is typically an insufficient amount of working light available and any job site illumination must be supplied by the contractor.
Because of the importance of factors like safety, efficiency, and work quality, lighting plays a critical role in nighttime construction operations. Street lights, ambient light and vehicles lights do not provide sufficient illumination for the safe operation of equipment. Temporary lighting systems are effective for illuminating a localized work zone that has existing mounting poles or structures for lights. Portable lighting system which combine the lights, poles and power source into one mobile unit that can be towed by vehicles from one area to another are also a common source of auxiliary construction illumination. The drawback to both of these lighting options is that they are limited in their versatility.
For short duration job sites temporary and portable lighting sources may often fail to be cost effective. Operations may include travel over significant stretches of work area, and the short duration of the job may mean that the set up requirements of portable or temporary illumination equipment may add unacceptable amounts of time to the length of the job. Further problems are encountered by job locations that hinder any inclusion of dedicated lighting equipment. Lack of available road shoulders, narrow roadways and lanes, and inclines and uneven grades can oftentimes make setting up auxiliary lighting impossible. Because of these factors, equipment lighting has become even more important as nighttime construction operations continue to increase in frequency and scale.
Since adequate illumination cannot be foregone in nighttime construction, and various factors may limit the ability of contractors to implement auxiliary lighting equipment, lighting mounted to the equipment used in operations becomes the obvious next option. This brings into play some special considerations when mounting this lighting to equipment. Any lighting that is to be mounted to construction equipment must be mounted so that it does not interfere with the operation of the equipment. Glare is another concern both for those who will be working around the equipment and traffic that may be present near the work area. The light must be mounted and directed so that during operations that light created is effectively shown on the work area and does not impact the vision of drivers who may be traveling near or through the construction area.
Further concern is created by the limited power availability of construction equipment. Although most large pieces of heavy equipment carry large batteries and heavy duty alternators, they also use considerable electricity in powering their own operating systems. Lighting equipment chosen for installation on equipment must thusly be properly evaluated not only for the effective illumination it will create but the strain it will place on the electrical systems of equipment as well. Of extra concern are the vibrations and operating conditions associated with operating heavy equipment. Heavy equipment is frequently operated in areas where impacts and uneven surfaces can create severe shocks and impacts. The operation of the machinery itself produces sustained vibration which can cause serious problems for poorly chosen lighting equipment. Lighting equipment which uses incandescent bulbs with tungsten filaments for example is highly susceptible to damage from vibration as the movement caused by vibrations can cause the filament to literally shake apart or break. Another concern is the need to direct light effectively and to that end any lighting attached to equipment should at the very least be capable of being directed independent of the equipments movement.
Viable alternatives exist in the lighting industry which can address all of these concerns with low economic impact. The Larson Electronics 35 watt HID Light w/ Adjustable Magnetic Base is a good example of the options available for contractors seeking a robust light that is versatile yet powerful. Rated at 35 watts, this light is constructed with a magnetic base and adjustable capability. This allows the light to be mounted in any position on equipment and still be directed precisely where light is needed. The magnetic base allows the light to be moved from one piece of machinery to another without the need to make any major changes in wiring or mounted hardware.
The lamp’s 35 watt draw and HID bulb combine to produce 3,200 lumens of light yet the light draws only 3.3 amps of power once the light is fully operational after a sixty second warm up period. This low amperage draw is attractive for applications requiring intense light yet utilizing smaller pieces of equipment. Durability is improved over traditional incandescent bulbs through the use of the HID lamp in the unit’s construction. HID bulbs have no filament in their design. Light is produced by creating an arc between two contacts that ignites gases and salts within the lamp to produce a plasma reaction which in turn produces brilliant white light.
Versatility is also improved by the capability to be connected through several different means. Cables utilizing standard lighter plugs or battery clamps are available which allow the lamp to be easily transferred from one piece or equipment to another while still another allows operation of two lights in tandem. Resistance to the elements is also addressed by weather proof housings which also resist contamination from dirt and dust. The housing itself is rugged aluminum and the lens is a borosilicate glass that resists damage from scratches and impacts.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of HID lamps like this is their ability to produce such brilliant light with such a low current draw. This lamp in particular produces light that has a color temperature of 7000k, or the same as the sun! This means that this lamp produces light that is a natural white in color and excellent for rendering colors and details accurately. In construction applications that involve close work this is a valuable feature and excellent for jobs that involve working with wiring or specialized materials or small parts.
Although performing construction work during nighttime hours presents some special challenges, they are not insurmountable. Even in situations where temporary or portable lighting systems cannot be implemented, contractors have effective alternatives available. Judicious selection and proper operation guarantee that no matter the application, a mobile source of illumination is possible if heavy equipment is present.