A common question asked by customer is, “How do I decide if I need a tower light or a beacon?” To simply answer this question, a general rule is that you should use a beacon to signal emergencies or highlight dangerous areas, and use a tower light to show varying degrees of operational uptime. Today, however, there are many different types and colors of beacons, and trends are moving away from old-fashioned incandescent lights with rotating reflectors in favor of LED modules with flash patterns. Normally, beacons they are between 60mm and 130mm in diameter and come with or without audible alarms. They can be used in the following situations:
- Moving vehicle alert
- Moving door alert
- Dangerous atmosphere alert
- Situational awareness
Just like with beacons, tower lights are undergoing a move from incandescent to LED lighting. They range is sizes from 30mm in diameter to 100mm in diameter and can have anywhere from one to five different colored levels. These systems are also available with or without audible alarms. For additional notification the levels, non-flashing, flashing and strobe lighting features are available. Tower lights can be wired for different types of machine events and are normally controlled by PLCs. There is no industry standard for use of specific colors to be used for specific events, and many machine builders assign colors to many different types of alerts:
- Red normally indicates a critical issue that requires shutdown.
- Yellow may indicate that there is something wrong with the system that does not require shutdown.
- Green typically specifies that the system is healthy and running well.
- Blue may mean that the system requires a material to be reloaded to continue operating.
Tower lights also come in several mounting configurations:
- Base mounting (mounts to the machine)
- Pole mounting
- 24VDC power and 120VDC power
- Preassembled and modular design
- IP55 to IP69K ratings
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