Author: <span class="vcard">Harsh Conditions</span>

FAA Regulations for Obstruction Lighting on Industrial Wind Turbines

Tall industrial structures, from cranes to temporary towers, are closely regulated by the FAA. The agency asserts guidelines for visual safety, ensuring that proper lighting is available for detection. Aircraft pilots rely on obstruction lighting to evade the structures at night.

For wind turbines, the FAA provides several recommendations in relation to the type of lights, flashing efficiency rates and spacing during installation.

FAA Regulations and Wind Turbines

The application of obstruction lighting in wind farms is governed in FAA Advisory Circular AC 70/7460-1K (Chapter 13).  When a group of wind turbines is used to form a ‘farm’ the agency asserts that only three turbines exceeding 200 feet (from ground level) can be utilized.

Interestingly, not all of the units require obstruction lighting.

According to the FAA, operators must carefully install the lights, so that spacing does not exceed ½ statute mile. By definition, a statute mile is equivalent to 5,280 feet or 1,609.34 meters.

Flashing and Durability

The FAA cited Type L-864 red flashing luminaries as the standard for illumination at night. In most cases, these are strobe lights (with flashing capabilities), which are used for visual notification. When multiple flashing lights are applied in a wind turbine farm, the luminaries must have simultaneous flashing patterns.

As for materials used, the FAA recommends the use of aluminum (under IFH-1710). At high altitudes, the units are exposed to devastating winds, rough weather and debris. Because of this, ease of maintenance is prioritized by the FAA.

Field-repairable features are required to streamline access and reduce complex maintenance tasks. For obstruction lights on wind turbines, this includes an accessible hinged door that can be locked and secured for protection. To reduce frequency of maintenance, LED lights can be utilized. The luminaries offer 50,000+ hours of illumination and support compatibility with low voltage (DC) sources and photocell sensors.

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Improving Lighting Enclosures Designs for the IoT Era

The Internet-of-Things (IoT) sector is heating up with advancements in connected technology reaching a myriad of industrial products, such as lights, sensors and lighting enclosures. The cutting-edge trend is here to stay, forcing manufacturers to rethink traditional enclosure designs for their products.

How will new enclosure designs cater to IoT-powered lighting systems? Find out below!

Boosting Exposure and Security

A set of smart lamps connected via a secure network is typically equipped with sensors that gather data about the surrounding environment in real-time. To improve effectiveness, the fixtures (along with their sensors) must be installed within the target location. This allows the sensors to operate optimally, with minimal obstructions.

Such installation requirements would make the lamps more susceptible to tampering. To discourage unwanted interference, the enclosure of the fixture should include physical locks.

Alternatively, it would also be possible to install an additional sensor in the enclosure that notifies the controller or supervisor, in the event the unit was opened or compromised.

For rugged, extreme work sites, it is common practice to utilize a NEMA-rated enclosure that is designed to prevent the ingress of destructive compounds for lights. This requirement will likely become more widespread and important for IoT-powered luminaries, especially in hazardous locations.

Modularity and Scalable Lighting Solutions

Industrial facilities are large consumers of heavy-duty lamps and custom-built solutions for demanding projects. The ability to expand lighting capacity – quickly and efficiently – is a huge advantage for fast-moving businesses. Improving the modularity of lighting enclosures for fixtures is a great way to promote expansion. For instance, a modular enclosure may include increased power management features to cater to custom, dense lighting configurations.

Additionally, the units should be modifiable to serve custom cable connections and space-saving requirements. For seamless access to the enclosure during inspections or maintenance, it is also recommended for the doors or openings to be reversible.

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Non-sparking vs Anti-static Equipment For Industrial Work Sites

For hazardous locations, mitigating sparks and static is a critical part of reducing unwanted ignitions of flammable compounds. To address such issues, industrial equipment manufacturers utilize non-sparking materials, such as plastic, aluminum and wood. While anti-static equipment mostly relies on specific practices to reduce the buildup of charged elements.

What’s the difference between non-sparking and anti-static tools? Find out below!

Non-sparking Materials

Non-sparking materials are commonly applied to explosion proof equipment, such as lights, power distribution stations, fans and etc. Furthermore, facilities that handle flammable substances on a regular basis, such as oil and gas, refineries and chemical processing plants, are known to rely on non-sparking tools for safety.

This type of material may also be used to decrease hazards related to combustible dust, mostly found in Class II, Division 1 & 2 work sites. Powdered milk, flour and cornstarch are examples of volatile dust.

The term “non-sparking” simply refers to materials that do not contain ferrous metals, such as steel and iron. Generally speaking, manufacturers may select non-sparking materials for their products based on strength (in addition to the ability to reduce sparks), as the range between extremely durable, non-sparking materials, such as copper-aluminum alloys, and weak options, such as leather, is very wide.

Anti-static Surfaces and Practices

Anti-static materials are effective against electrostatic-related elements around sensitive electronics. However, in classified work sites, static can ignite flammable compounds in the atmosphere.

In some cases, reducing the risk of static is achieved through the observation of safety guidelines in the workplace. For example, to avoid the creation of static, workers and affected materials should be grounded.

A facility may also use tools made out of specially-engineered plastics to address static build up. Such materials must have low surface resistivity rates, in order to decrease hazardous interactions with nearby surfaces. Additionally, temperature and humidity levels should be managed to support anti-static equipment.

This content is sponsored by Larson Electronics TX manufacturer of non-sparking and anti static lighting.

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Light for Commercial Work Sites- Natural vs Artificial

Light for Commercial Work Sites

Light is vital to sustaining business operations and employee productivity rates in commercial sites. However, not all light sources are equal. At a very basic level, illumination can be implemented over the work area using natural sunlight or artificial lighting systems. OSHA has also set standard for work site lighting.

Improving Moods and Energy Consumption

Natural lighting comes from the sun. This form of illumination can be maximized by installing large windows and sky-lighting systems at the ceiling. For daytime operations, natural sunlight is directly connected to an increase in productivity, mood and motivation. It also contributes to vitamin D, for individuals who are lacking the vitamin.

Drawbacks related to natural lighting includes the generation of heat. Sitting next to a big window with the sun beaming directly at the computer or one’s face can be frustrating, due to heat generated by the beams. Additionally, natural light could also cause unsightly glare and may be difficult to control without the right equipment. It is only possible to direct sunlight to general locations of the facility. For task lighting, it is almost impossible to efficiently “funnel” sunlight beams to a dark part of the office. Furthermore, natural sunlight isn’t always available, as cloudy and nighttime conditions could affect the amount of natural light entering the building.

Task Lighting and Accurate Illumination

Artificial light sources include lamps, permanent lighting systems, handheld lights and more. They are incredibly useful for illumination in rooms without access to natural sunlight, such as laboratories, classified facilities, underground storage centers and projector rooms. In some cases, even with natural sunlight available, artificial lighting is preferred because it can easily be controlled to suit the needs of the facility.

Artificial lighting is also very reliable. As long as power is available and the lighting system is operational, illumination can remain constant. From a cost perspective, natural sunlight is free and artificial lighting comes at a price. This doesn’t usually affect the adoption of artificial lights, as such equipment is considered to be essential to maintaining commercial operations.

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