With the passing of the summer heat, comes a new set of challenges for fleets in the region. While months of good weather lie ahead, drivers can often be caught by a change in conditions. The days are getting shorter and a seemingly clear day on-site or on the road can be severely disrupted by a sudden downpour or storm turning tracks and roads treacherous. Good visibility inside the cab can quickly be ruined by dust and rain; testing even the best drivers to the limit.
OSRAM’s Beacon Light webinar, then, was a timely reminder of the importance of drivers and their trucks being able to see and be seen as we head towards the winter months.
OSRAM’s family of 360° rotating, amber LED rotating beacons have recently received its launch in the region. Able to be quickly mounted onto a vehicle – or any heavy-duty equipment for that matter – Beacon Lights could be a vital solution to ensuring that drivers and other road users and site workers keep safe in whatever weather conditions are thrown at them. Joining the discussion was Thomas Edelmann, founder, RoadSafety UAE, and he said his organisation has launched 60 safety deep dives on its platform, including its ‘See and Be Seen’ programme, since the site was introduced to “help reduce the number of road traffic accidents and fatalities” in the UAE.
“Is light important?” He began. “Yes, absolutely. It’s very important that when we are manoeuvring and steering our vehicles that we see well. Equally, it is very important that we are visible to other traffic when we are tending to a broken down vehicle. To see and be seen is vital to road safety.”
To emphasise how important light safety is as a topic, Edelmann said that during a truck safety conference hosted by RoadSafety UAE, that one of the speakers representing a truck maintenance business said that 82% of common defects found in trucks were related to lights. Could good visibility be a major problem hiding in plain sight?
“Surprise, surprise, the number one defect was the lighting system by a big margin. It just underlines how important it is to bring the topic of lighting systems when we’re talking about commercial vehicle safety,” he emphasised.
Should your lights fail – and they probably will – having a beacon on-board could save yours or another driver’s life.
“Every time we’re talking about lights, we are talking about using beacons,” remarked Edelman, adding that if you do need to use one, you need to be assured it will work. “We must be sure that these devices are durable. They are high-quality and they create the proper light output that we need.”
Under ‘See and Be Seen’, RoadSafety UAE has given road users an extensive guide to how to do visibility right. Open to all road users, OSRAM has become the flag bearer for the platform of the messaging to commercial operators in the UAE, explained Edelmann, adding: “OSRAM talks about the responsibility and the importance of See and be Seen in the context of commercial transportation.”
“We are really proud of the partnership with RoadSafety UAE. Our partnership goes a back a long time back and we are really proud of this partnership. This reflects our values globally, this reflects our commitment to the community for better road safety,” replied OSRAM sales director Anas Ahmad Mosleh.
As part of this commitment, OSRAM has set itself the difficult task of producing the highest quality, lighting products to allow drivers to enjoy optimal visibility up to 75m and the ability to see traffic even as far as 100m ahead of their vehicle.
“It’s not just about the power,” Mosleh stressed. “It’s also how the light is uniformly distributed so you can see an obstacle early. If you have good illumination, you can see vehicles in good time and you can also give no dazzle, so you don’t disturb upcoming traffic.”
OSRAM has been providing a wide range of lamps for more than 110 years. Today the emphasis is very much on safety: “Not only for seeing on the roads but also for being seen.”
OSRAM produces a range of warning and safety lights for the region, including morning and safety lights (“We are continuously developing more products to enhance the safety in the roads”). The Beacon Light family itself is arriving with two major products using two different technologies: LED and halogen. Mosleh said that the lighting systems are needed to help people in public places to be aware of their surroundings and possible danger:
“Beacons are purposely made to attract and give attention and notify people in certain locations.”
As most readers will be aware, beacons installed on vehicles typically consist of amber flashing or rotating lights. They are commonly seen on top of emergency or utility vehicles like ambulances, fire trucks, agriculture machines, commercial vehicles or on airport utility vehicles.
“Beacons are used to alert people and other vehicles on the streets to be careful and give away for this emergency or utility vehicles,” he explained. “Why the yellow amber colour?
The yellow amber colour reminds people to slow down, to be aware, and to be cautious.
“Yellow beacons are often used to warn the vehicles to move slowly. It’s also used in airports and construction sites to promote awareness and caution.”
The LED version of the Beacon Light comes rated at 1,200 Lumens and 1,900 Kelvin. The halogen version meanwhile is certified to 1,900 Lumens and 2,200 Kelvin. According to Mosleh, they ensure improved visibility, and therefore, increased safety day or night. They are also not just bright but durable too.
“Thanks to non-slip shock-absorbing rubber base, the warning lights from OSRAM have particularly high vibration insensitivity. In addition, the robust shatterproof housing withstands even heavier loads,” he remarked. “To reduce and prevent dirt from accumulating, the beacons use a smooth surface on the housing; preventing the signal effect being impaired by dirt.”
Installing beacon lights is now mandatory in many GCC countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. Mosleh said that that fleets should avoid opting for a low-quality option merely to meet regulations, particularly as you need to trust they will work when you need them the most: “Any commercial vehicle or any truck driving in the streets without a beacon light will get fined. Therefore, most of the trucks here in the Gulf need to look for quality because they don’t want to risk getting products which are low quality and break after one use,” added Mosleh.
“Owners have to rely on the quality of the beacon lights and with the two years warranty, we guarantee that all of the people who will buy this, they will be sure that they get the highest quality.”
He explained that the beacon lights come with a two-year warranty and comply with ECR 10 and IP65 guidelines allowing them to be used in road traffic and have endured laboratory testing to prove they will survive in extreme environments in terms of water, dust, heat and cold.
“If you look at our beacon lights, it’s fully sealed. So no dust can come in. Also, as you know in the Gulf, we have a really high temperatures and humidity. So we made sure that these have been tested in very difficult environments. We know that in the streets there is a lot of dust while you are driving. Also on construction sites, there is a lot of dust and also it is very humid and it’s also high temperature.”
Petra Maya Wilhelm, senior product manager and portfolio manager, Osram, said the testing was both necessary and mandatory ahead of the launch.
“With that our end-consumer are permitted to use them in road traffic; to make their journey safer. Over the past 20 years, we have built, improved and shaped our unique competence and that you will not find anywhere else. We don’t rely on others. We only trust our own in-house expertise. All of our machines are fully accredited after the so important, DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 Lab Accreditation.”
Testing for OSRAM’s lighting systems is conducted at its central laboratory in Herbrechtingen, Germany, Wilhelm explained.
“There we perform the broad variety of temperature and climate tests. And these include a salt spray test, thermal shock test, IP protection class dust and resistant tests. Then there are various mechanical tests, like vibration testing, drop testing, analytic tests, electrical tests and geometric tests.”
Attaining a IP65 rating means that the new Beacon Lights are fully protected from total dust ingress and water, she added: “And no matter how dangerous the traffic situation, or how heavy the rain or dust is, you can trust and 100% rely on our OSRAM quality to save your life when you most need it.”