Zero glare getting drivers through the dark

Driving lights have come a long way in the mining industry, with a range of developments to enhance the productivity of nightshift and underground workforces. 

Naturally, we all want to see where we are going. It's essential to ensuring safe work in a dark workplace, but what kind of light do we really need? 

Hella have been developing their range of mining specific LED lights with a special focus on heavy machinery for several years, having moved beyond conventional halogen lighting which historically dominated the market, and the short-lived preference for High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps. 

Hella's head of product management Ian Campbell said that as mining companies and machine manufacturers looked for more light on the subject, they have moved from halogen to HID to LED. 

"The feedback we've had from a whole bunch of mines, because traditionally equipment would have had halogen lighting on it, 20 years ago they moved to HID, and they're always looking for more and more light which has brought them to LED," he said. 

Without a system for dipping headlights in heavy mining vehicles, but high demand for more brightness, Hella have developed the traditional lighting pack to include some new features. 

At the most AIMEX convention the company released the details of their new line of RokLUME Zeroglare LED lights. 

The RokLUME 380 and RokLUME 280 Zeroglare lights feature unparalled brightnessesof 7000 and 3800 lumens respectively, and also come in five different light distributions. 

However perhaps the most important feature of the Zeroglare range is a sharp horizontal physical cutoff of unwanted disability glare.  

Disability glare, the term we use to refer to unwanted light that dazzles driv­ers and "disables" their vision, is a major problem for drivers expected to maintain their concentration throughout a long shift. 

Campbell says the main distraction for drivers struck by disability glare is the pain influence caused by unwanted headlight glare. 

"If you need to squint or look away, that's the same reflex as pain, and that's the danger, if you've got a 400 tonne haul truck doing 60 kilometres per hour, you want the operator looking at the road, not looking away," he said. 

Hence the focus on ensuring that disability glare is removed from the top section of the beam, and that the line of brightness has a sharp physical cutoff to ensure full brightness all the way to the uppermost edge of the light beam. 

The other major new feature is a move to a different colour temperature, designed to enhance worker productivity. 

Traditionally lighting companies have cited a 6700 Kelvin as a suitable colour temperature. However, this is quite a blue light, which has a particular psychological effect on people. 

The 6700k temperature is the kind of light put out by most LEDs on the market today, but the blue light is very similar to the kind of light put out by the midday sun. 

That type of light is quite stimulating when perceived by humans, who react with more psychological activity than at other times of the day. 

While this might seem like an ideal situation for ensuring workers remain alert, after more than two hours this can actually have the effect of keeping workers overstimulated for too long, resulting an attention deficit and fatigue. 

Conversely, yellow, warmer light colours, such as those put out by halogen lights, can simulate the light of sunset, which has the effect of letting workers subconsciously know that nightfall is imminent, and it's time to go to sleep.  

Hella has spent some time working with researchers in Sweden in order to determine the correct colour temperature to keep drivers alert and aware, which Campbell says is around 5000k, fractionally lower than the full daylight of 5500k. 

Zeroglare also comes in 1800k colour temperature for minimal back scatter in snow or fog use. 
Hella produces the Zeroglare feature in their RokLUME range, which is also complimented by their ability to take severe punishment in the form of vibration. 

With high-quality manufacturing materials considered during the development stage of the RokLUME worklights, features include a high impact resistant hardened polycarbonate compound lens, stainless steel bracket and premium grade anti-corrosion aluminium housing.