Lighting for construction

Lighting and lighting levels are very personal to individual operators. There are so many different opinions on how to light a work area effectively. However, there are recommended guidelines to follow; such as that the difference in light between the brightest spot and the area around it should be no more than 30%. These recommendations intend to guide operators to the best solution.

The key to effective lighting is evenness. Nothing tires the eye more than glare and uneven lighting; this is something which is more noticeable as operators increase in age. The eye deteriorates with time, taking longer to adjust between dark and bright spots.

For construction machines, there are other factors that come into play as well. Glare from hydraulic cylinders, buckets and arms of the machine, all needs to be taken into consideration when designing lighting for a machine.

The environment where the machine operates also plays its role; dusty, foggy and snowy conditions require a warmer light colour which has a longer wavelength, this helps to penetrate the conditions better. We refer to this as colour temperature and it is measured in degrees known as Kelvin.

Many LED work lights are around 6000 – 6500 K, however, TYRI work lights have a range which go as low as 3000 K, however standard work lights are 5700 K. The bluer the light – the colder the temperature. For context, a sunny day is around 5700 K and a halogen light is 3200 K.

TYRI have identified that a greenish light sometimes works well for tunnelling and mining operations. This colour temperature show contours of the rock clearer than a white light.

In some cases, when a machine operator requires a clearer view to determine the quality of the material, the need for a work light with a high colour rendering index (CRI) is apparent. A high CRI (over 90%) works well here as it shows the material at a closer proximity to how it is seen in sunlight. Normally, LEDs are in the region of 70-75% and do not show the true colour of a material.

Another issue for construction machinery is the variety of situations that the machine will be operating in. The change from working in isolation to that of working in highly populated areas with many colleagues working around the machine can happen daily. This has become more of an issue as lights have become more powerful. Using all the lighting power the machine has to offer in isolated areas is no problem but with people around the machine, the same lighting can become blinding for on ground operators.

This is an issue that is solved with INTELLilight. This system allows you to dim lights or change colour temperature of all or individual lights according to your needs. These settings can be saved in a personal profile, so it makes changing between weather conditions or from isolated to populated areas easy.