Utility safety: Optronics International presented its new LampLock Anti-Theft Lighting System during a press conference at the 2015 Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC). Integrated into four-inch round stop/tail/turn lamps and three-quarter-inch marker lamps, the anti-theft design makes the lamps impossible to steal without destroying them.
The magnitude and impact of vehicle lighting theft was vividly highlighted during an April 2014 presentation by the Lighting Theft and Avoidance Task Force of the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA). The IANA task force was formed to address member concerns about the costs associated with lamp replacement, repairs, vehicle downtime and related CSA violations. The task force also observed that theft issues have caused fleets and operators to retain outmoded incandescent lighting and prevented them from realizing the many benefits associated with LED lamps, including higher reliability, lower operating costs and reduced downtime.
During its preliminary report to IANA members, the task force disclosed that a poll of four intermodal equipment provider fleets revealed they had collectively spent $13.5 million in 2013 to replace missing, broken or burned-out lighting on vehicle chassis. In short, more than a million stop/tail/turn and marker lamps were replaced at an average cost of $13 each (including labor and parts) and a significant percentage of those replacements were attributed to issues of missing lamps.
“It’s clear that vanishing lights is a big problem for intermodal carriers, and this issue has plagued fleets and owner-operators within the shipping industry for years,” Brett Johnson, president and CEO of Optronics International, said. “We set out to solve the problem by designing an LED-based anti-theft lighting system that’s both easy to use and price competitive.”
The LampLock Anti-Theft Lighting System is simple and easily replaces missing four-inch round stop/tail/turn lamps and three-quarter-inch marker lamps by precisely fitting into the holes they leave behind. The system is comprised of a specially designed single-diode LED lamp, an integrated anti-theft ring and a foam rubber gasket. In the case of the four-inch round lamp, an available locking PL-3 receptacle grips the connector plug body, increasing resistance to detachment due to shock and vibration. The lamps easily snap into position and once installed, are impossible to remove without being destroyed. “We were apprised of the IANA Lighting Theft Task Force and its mission at the same time as others in the vehicle lighting industry,” Johnson said. “The difference is, we’ve used the ensuing nine months to develop and bring to market a completely viable system solution that is ready to save our industry money and headaches today.”
Theft resistance is also about stealth, and taking advantage of advancements in diode technology and reductions in LED pricing, Optronics engineered its new lighting solution to look virtually indistinguishable from incandescent lamps, thus making it less noticeable or attractive to thieves. However, Optronics’ new anti-theft LED lamps will last up to 50 times longer than their incandescent predecessors.
The four-inch round stop/tail/turn lamps and three-quarter-inch marker lamps that are part of the LampLock Anti-Theft Lighting System will be competitively priced. Both four-inch round and three-quarter-inch lamps are expected to sell for about the same price as other LED lamps, but include the extra value of their integrated anti-theft feature. The lamps are expected to begin shipping on or about March 31, 2015.
The four-inch round stop/tail/turn lamps will be available with either PL-3 or weather-tight connectors. The three-quarter-inch marker lamps will feature 0.180 molded bullet connectors. The new lamps meet all FMVSS 108 photometric requirements for visibility and safety. Each lamp comes with a lifetime LED warranty, and lenses and housings are made of tough polycarbonate material that is sonically welded. The lamps employ a solid-state, surface-mount device (SMD) design that protects their electronics against moisture, shock and vibration. Optronics products are available in the U.S. and Canada through the company’s extensive distribution network of more than 12,000 convenient distribution locations. Users can access individual Optronics distributor websites by simply clicking on their logo icons.