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06/01/12 Mobile Light Towers for Large Scale Scene and Event Illumination

Article- May 2012 By Larson

Larson Electronics Mega Tower 24000 - 2,400,000 Lumens

Larson Electronics Mega Tower 24000 - 2,400,000 Lumens

Illuminating large areas effectively, particularly in outdoor locations, can present a difficult and demanding challenge. In most cases, the mere need for large scale outdoor illumination indicates an operation that requires either around the clock productivity, or operations conducted during evening hours when the impact of activities on the surrounding area is at its lowest. Other possible situations include emergency scenes such as relief stations after earthquakes or natural disasters, or large scale events where illumination is critical for successful operations. In every case, the common thread is the need for powerful and effective illumination that can cover large areas for extended periods, preferably without having to rely on the local power grid. For applications such as these, self contained mobile high power light tower systems are the most effective solution.

Many construction operations are being moved to the evening hours now as a result of operators wishing to avoid impacting the normal flow of vehicle and pedestrian traffic as well as reduce the effects of construction on local business. Studies have shown that moving construction activities towards early and late evening hours reduces its impact on traffic patterns, and causes less interruption of the normal process of commerce in the surrounding areas. These are beneficial factors that also provide returns for construction crews as they can perform their operations with less interference from the public and less resources needed for management of traffic. The downside is of course the loss of ambient light normally provided by the sun during daylight hours.


Emergency situations pose different problems and challenges in that there is usually little time to prepare, there is no readily available source of electricity, the scale of the area to be illuminated can be quite large, and the chosen location may be difficult to access. In these applications the illumination provided must be capable of covering two to five acres and operated continuously for over 12 hours. It must be easily transported and deployed and able to withstand poor weather conditions such as heavy rain and wind if necessary. Large scale illumination in emergency conditions is usually used to provide light for search and rescue, medical operations, supplies distribution, setup and maintenance of temporary shelter, and basic scene command and management functions.

Event lighting includes carnivals, fairs, concerts and similar activities where the event is temporary yet encompasses several acres. Although electrical power may be available, the cost and practicality of connecting to the local grid may be prohibitive. As with construction and emergency scenes, the illumination provided must be easily transported, durable, and able to run for extended periods. Since event lighting generally includes recreational and sporting activities, the illumination produced must be of good quality and of high enough intensity to maintain the safety and good visibility throughout the entire illuminated area.


Regardless of the type of location or situation, all large scale outdoor lighting applications share the same characteristics of a large area to be illuminated, the practicality or lack thereof of connecting to the local grid, the need for maintain illumination for long periods, and easy transport and deployment of the lighting equipment to be used. For large scale applications, there are few alternatives better than self contained mobile light tower systems. Usually comprised of a towable trailer, generator, control center, extendable boom, and lighting assemblies, mobile light towers provide extreme high power illumination in a system that is fully self contained and mobile. These systems can be towed by vehicles or heavy equipment to the desired location and once in position prepared for operation, extended, and then switched on, usually in a matter of minutes.


Mobile light towers provide solutions for almost every challenge encountered with providing large scale illumination in outdoor applications. To provide power in locations where grip power is unavailable or impractical, most of these light tower systems incorporate a dedicated generator that runs off of either diesel fuel or gasoline. These generators normally provide more than enough electrical power for a multi-fixture tower, and also provide the ability to tap other equipment and devices into their electrical output, providing added benefit to the operator of the tower. Generators powered by diesel fuel are the most common, and these units can operate anywhere from 12 to 36 hours on a single tank of fuel, and can often be fitted with additional tanks for even longer run times.


These towers provide large scale illumination through the inclusion of multiple lamps attached to the end of an extendible boom. The usual lamp types used are metal halide due to their very high output and efficiency, and it is not uncommon to see towers with anywhere from 2 to 6 metal halide fixtures. The tower assembly itself is normally extendible to anywhere from 12 to 36 feet in height. Towers are usually raised and lowered either with hand winches or electric winches. By raising the lamp assemblies far above the area to be illuminated, maximum coverage with minimal obtrusive glare is achieved. Metal halide light towers reaching 30+ feet in height are commonly capable of covering up to 7 acres with bright light that produces illumination at ground level comparable to that found in an everyday grocery store.


With mobile light towers including everything from the generator to lights mounted onto a towable trailer, their versatility and ease of deployment is unrivaled by any other type of temporary large scale lighting systems. A mobile light tower system can literally be deployed by a single person and ready to operate in a matter of minutes. They can be deployed to just about any area accessible to a car or truck, and can provide illumination over large areas far more effectively than any ground based lighting system. Since construction and emergency scenes typically are not easily powered by the local power grid, the self contained generators in mobile tower systems provide the ability to power vital emergency equipment and power tools as well as provide illumination, thus helping to reduce the need for additional power sources.

Regardless of the location or type of application, for illuminating very large areas quickly, safely, and reliably, high power mobile light towers are the single most practical and effective solution available.

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