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ATEX and IEC Ex Flame-proof Explosion Proof Lighting & Equipment
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09/04/13 Basic Properties of High Power Light Towers

Article- Sept, 2013 By Larson

Mega Light Tower 2,400,000 Lumens

Larson Electronics Mega Light Tower 2,400,000 Lumens

Light towers represent an integral part of many industrial and commercial businesses, particularly those within the construction, demolition, mining and utilities industries. High power light towers provide the ability to continue operations after sundown, and provide the illumination needed to maintain a high level of production while also maintaining the safety of the workers on site. Light towers come in a wide variety of types and designs, and no single tower design represents a one size fits all lighting solution. Factors such as site size, operating time, the type of work being performed, and job site fluidity can all play a large role in deciding which light tower is right for the job at hand. To get a better idea of what light tower will work best for your needs, it helps to understand a little about them. The following provides some basics on light tower types and what you can expect from them.

There are really two main types of light towers, the portable light tower and the mobile light tower. Although the names sound similar, they really are two different designs with different intended applications. In the case of portable light towers, these are generally smaller units that can be easily transported, deployed and set up by one person. These comprise tripods and extendable towers usually not exceeding 10 feet or so in height, and they rely on external power sources to run their lights. These towers can usually be broken down and loaded into the back of a car or truck, and then transported and quickly set up wherever illumination is needed. Although these are smaller designs, they can be quite powerful due to the advanced types of lighting fixtures and systems which can be installed on them.

Mobile light towers are generally complete self contained lighting systems capable of illuminating very large areas for extended periods of time. These mobile towers contain their own power generation systems in the form of diesel engines and generators or foldable solar arrays and battery banks, extendable booms that can be raised to heights over 25 feet, large lamp arrays with up to 12 or more fixtures, and everything is mounted to a towable trailer platform that allows the system to be pulled behind vehicles. These mobile towers are commonly used on large constructions sites, emergency scenes, and outdoor events where two or more acres of area needs to be illuminated for extended periods.

Light towers both portable and mobile can be fitted with a wide array of lighting assemblies. The most common lamp types used on portable towers are halogen lamps of 500 to 1,000 watts.  Portable towers can also be fitted with metal halide lamps, but this necessitates the inclusion of ballast assemblies as well, increasing the towers weight and complexity somewhat. LED lamps have recently become quite popular on portable towers due to their smaller size, high output and efficiency, and extreme durability, and are often a very good choice for operators who want a tower as compact and light weight as possible.

Mobile light tower systems overwhelmingly utilize metal halide lamp assemblies. These metal halide lamps are preferred on the larger mobile towers due to their extreme high output and good efficiency and when arranged in multiple rows atop a very tall tower are capable of easily illuminating over 5 acres. Metal halide lamps also offer very good light quality and high color rendering indexes, making them well suited to construction sites where safety, close work, and good detail rendering is important to maintaining productivity.

Getting a little more in depth with lighting assemblies, the type of lights used can have a significant effect on the overall performance of a tower. While most people generally assume that light is light, and the brighter the better, this is not the case. Different types of tower lighting assemblies have distinctly different operating properties, and understanding these properties can help make choosing a tower more simplified and effective.

Metal halide lamps are an established lighting technology that has been in use for over 40 years. These are known as HID (High Intensity Discharge) lamps, and produce illumination by creating an arc which ignites gases and salts within the bulb to produce an intense output of light. Some operating properties of metal halide lamps include the following.

High efficiency, producing 100-115 lumens per watt.
Very good color temperature and color rendering, producing clean white light.
Long lamp life approaching 10,000 to 15,000 hours on average.
Slow warmup times, requiring several minutes to warm up to full output.
Slow restart times, requiring 10-15 minutes between shutdown and restart.
Erratic operation as bulb reaches end of life, and distinct color shifting as bulb ages.

LED lamps have become very popular with light tower operators over the last several years due in large part to the major advances in LED design that have been taking place. Although not yet quite as powerful as HID lamps, LEDs still produce on the order of 60 to 90 lumens per watt, making them the second most efficient type of lighting behind metal halide. LEDs do have some distinct advantages over most other forms of lighting. Although not a fully developed technology as yet, they are more than capable of serving very effectively in tower applications.

High Efficiency, producing 60 to 90 lumens per watt.
Good color rendering and color index. Good contrasting.
Instant on, no warmup required.
No delay between on and off cycles. LEDs can be switched on and off with no cool down or warmup period.
Extreme long life. LEDs on average provide 50,000 hour of operation, longer than any other type of lamp. Greatly reduces relamping costs.
High durability. Not affected by cold temperatures and highly resistant to damage from vibration or impacts.
Good lumen and color quality maintenance as the LED ages.

The type of tower you choose depends greatly on the characteristics of the area to be illuminated. Very large sites tend to require the power and coverage of metal halide mobile light towers. Slightly smaller sites can be effectively illuminated with LED mobile towers as well. For sites requiring the highest possible light quality, metal halide should be considered. Portable LED and metal halide towers are ideal for small to moderately sized sites up to and acre or so in size. These towers are ideal for sites where the work site is fluid and operators may be working in one area, then need to shift operations to another part of the site. LED towers are also the best choice for operators looking to maximize tower efficiency as well as cost effectiveness over the long term as their low power requirements and high durability and longevity keep maintenance costs as low as possible.

Related Categories/Products
Category/Product (click on link below for more information)
Light Towers
LED Light Towers
Pneumatic Light Masts
Three Stage Light Masts
Hazardous Area Light - 400 Watt Metal Halide - Extendible Tower w/ Wheels - Class 1 Division 2
Portable Infrared LED Light Tower -Extends 3.5' to 10'- 24 Watts - 1440 Lumens - 9-42VDC - 850 or 94
2, 40-Watt LED Flood Lights on Telescoping Tripod - Extends 3.5' to 10' - 120VAC - 25' SOOW Cord
Larson Electronics Mega Light Tower - 16 X 1500W MH - 2,400,000 Lumens- 50' Height - Trailer Mounted
HID Work Light - Tripod Mount - 1 X 70 Watt HID - 6,300 Lumen - Extends 3.5'-10' - 12/24VDC - 120/27
Hazardous Area Light LED Tripod - Work Area - 300 Watts - 24 LEDS - 100 ft cord - 35,000 Lumens
4000 Watt Metal Halide Light Tower on 12 Foot Single Axle Trailer with wheels - 25 Foot Three Stage
600 Watt High Intensity LED Light Tower - Three Stage Light Mast - Extends up to 25 Feet
Thirty Foot Telescoping Light Mast - 14-30' Fold Over Three Stage Light Tower - 360° Rotating Boom
Portable Telescoping LED Light Tower - 144 Watts - 120-277VAC - Extends 3.5' - 10' - 8,640 Lumen
Single Head LED Telescoping Light Tripod - 3.5 to 10 feet - 120 Watts - Adjustable U-Bracket
Battery Operated Ultraviolet Paint Curing LED Light Cart Dolly - 395NM - Four Adjustable Locking
300 Watt Pneumatic Light Tower - Extends to 18 Feet - Two 150W High Output LED Light Heads
750 Watt LED Light Tower with Solar Power Generator - Pneumatic Mast - 64800 Lumens
16 Foot Telescoping Light Mast - 10' to 16' L- For Lights, Antennas or Other Devices Stationary Mast
Five Stage Light Mast - Extends up to 55 Feet - Mount LED, HID, Halogen, Metal Halide Fixtures
300 Watt Hazardous Location LED Light Tower - 7-12' Telescoping Pole - 20' SOOW Cord - 29,580 Lumen
70 Watt LED Explosion Proof Quadpod - Aluminum Light Tower - 100 foot cord - 5800 Lumens
600 Watt Crank Up Light Tower - Four 150 Watt LED Light Heads - 5'-9' Light Tower - Rotating Base
5 Stage Pneumatic Light Mast - Extends to 15 Feet - 600lb Payload - 4.5' to 15'
750 Watt Five Stage Pneumatic Light Tower - Extends to 15 Feet - (5) 150W LED Light Heads
2000 Watt Pneumatic Light Tower - Extends to 18 Feet - 500W Halogens - Individually Controlled
Pneumatic Light Mast - Extends to 7.2 Feet - Air Powered Mini Telescoping Boom
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