Vehicle lighting continues to make giant strides as auto designers try to turn night into day in an attempt to make driving safer and easier – and as often happens, motor racing is at the forefront of fast-tracking the latest technology. John Oxley reports.
It’s not long ago that I was criticised for placing great emphasis on LED headlights as a main focus in one of my articles, on the basis that these had not been proven and would only be found on top-end cars.
That’s history now, though, and LEDs are now very much a part of the mainstream, in some cases displacing gas discharge (halogen and xenon-HID) bulbs in an attempt to get longer life and better reliability, and some manufacturers are now starting to move into the world of laser for their inspiration.
And what greater showcase for the latest lighting technology can there be than the Le Mans 24 Hour race, with cars hitting speeds of more than 300 km/h on the famous Mulsanne Straight, and good vision an essence of staying alive!
Audi in particular has spent considerable energy in developing its lights to the maximum, and this year it paid off yet again, with its matrix LED headlights – with laser diodes – helping the company to a one-two victory in its R18 e-tron hybrid cars.
“The use of laser light at Le Mans is yet another example that underscores Audi’s leading role in the development of new technologies and the importance of motorsport for the company,” says head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich.
“Le Mans again serves as a tough test bed for a new technology
that’ll soon be launched in production at Audi and in which the four rings are again a crucial step ahead of the competition. The close cooperation between Audi Sport and production development is exemplary and unique.”
It’s the last paragraph that’s most important, a suggestion that it won’t be long before we find these laser lights on ordinary production cars.
Meanwhile LEDs are not just used on car headlights, and in fact play a leading role in mobile lighting as well as improving lighting life in offices and in the home, and recent developments see them being used more and more in workshops, where their combination of “daylight” brilliance with low running costs and long life are proving particularly attractive.
The only Australian company that derives its income solely from LED products, LED Autolamps is represented in New Zealand by Automotive Supplies Ltd , and is a company with global vision that pushes the boundaries of LED technologies to successfully compete with industry giants from around the world.
Seven years in operation, the company has seen a tremendous development in LED products, and since its first designed square series lamp has designed, developed and manufactured more than 60 different new product lines.
These, added to the existing range, now provide more than 100 different LED products, ranging from stop/tail, indicator, reverse and their combinations, marker lamps, interior to marine lamps, work, emergency and daytime running lamps.
Its products are made in Taiwan under ISO 9001 to our strict instructions, with certain products also manufactured n Australia.
“We actively defend our products and designs against low quality imitations to safeguard our integrity and that of the Australian automotive industry and proudly distribute our Australian designed products throughout Europe,” says LED Technologies managing director Tony Ottobre.
“The quality and innovative features of our LED products are tested and trusted by Australian manufacturing companies that incorporate our LED brand into their product designs. Our clients put our auto lights through some of the toughest conditions before they are used to ensure that their own customers are receiving the best product on the market that will not fail.” He says LED Autolamps offer guarantees on their products in excess of the market ,and is the only company in Australia to offer LED auto lamp products with a lifetime guarantee.
To date LED Autolamps have registered more than 25 patents and designs that have been successfully used in the market place.
However, there is still a demand for incandescent and halogen bulbs, especially among more-traditional buyers, so to this end Narva has broadened its range of Premium Incandescent and halogen globes in New Zealand to include new long-life options that offer increased reliability and reduce the need for regular replacement.
The new long-life options are expected to be of special interest to commercial operators such as taxi and transport drivers, who travel frequently at night, as the new globes will reduce maintenance costs and the inconvenience of vehicle downtime.
The long-life globes have been developed by Narva because standard bulbs fitted to the headlamps of many modern vehicles suffer from reduced operating life as they have shrunk in size, in line with latest design trends, as well as being subjected to increases in alternator charging voltage.
“Long-life globes are becoming more popular as globe life has shortened significantly with smaller bulbs such as the H7 being fitted, plus the increases in alternator charging voltage, which causes them to break down quicker,” says Tim Paterson, national sales manager for Narva New Zealand.
“Long-life globes also save the consumer on hefty labour charges as late model vehicles tend to require much more time for globe replacement.”
Long-life versions of the Premium Incandescent range are available in the most popular globe types and feature reinforced filaments and argon filler gas. This allows them to last approximately twice as long as their standard counterparts.
Similarly, Narva’s halogen long-life globes are also expected to deliver twice the performance life than a standard globe, and are suitable for direct replacement and use in modern vehicles with polycarbonate headlamps with no wiring upgrade required, as there is no increase in heat.
Long-life Premium Halogen globes are available in H1, H4 and H7 globe types, and the range is fully ADR approved, so drivers can upgrade their lighting with confidence.
The longer-life characteristics of both the Premium Incandescent and Halogen Globes also results in them being a more environmentally sensitive choice for drivers, since they reduce waste, as well as lowering the overall maintenance costs of a vehicle.
The full range of Narva’s Premium Incandescent and Halogen globes are now available from leading automotive outlets throughout New Zealand, in striking all-new single blister packaging, clearly identifying the globes which are long life.
The Premium Incandescent globes are also available in a pack of 10 by purchasing a trade box.
More information and part numbers www.narva.co.nz.