Seeing is Believing: New LED Technology To Save Money & Manpower


New Lighting Technology offers bright ideas for better interior and exterior lighting that saves money, manpower, reports Marine Link.

US Navy opts Solid State Lighting

The U.S. Navy is leaving traditional lighting behind for Solid State Lighting (SSL) with very long-life solid-state light-emitting diode (LED) lighting.

Technology has illuminated new ways to light ships that are safer, more efficient and more affordable. Taking advantage of the new technology has its challenges, such as finding cost effective lighting that is rugged enough to meet current Navy requirements and military specifications.

Lighting on Navy ships must deal with the harsh conditions of salt spray, dust, vibration and temperature extremes, power surges, and potentially shock and battle damage. While consumers have taken a shine to LED lighting in homes and offices, military and maritime lighting installations must be evaluated and certified.

Advantages of the LED technology

Ben Hatch, in-service engineering subject matter expert at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division, said new technologies are making many of the old lighting requirements and specifications obsolete.

Hatch said the Navy is trying to balance the importance of the existing specifications with the flexibility that new technologies like LED provide. “We don’t need to have the same size light fixtures anymore. We can make an LED array any size we want,” he said, citing one example.

Over the years we have pretty much standardized on a two-foot fluorescent lamp for overhead lighting. The fixtures, bulbs, starters and ballasts were interchangeable. But we’re basically limited by the variations of size and number of bulbs.

Glass incandescent and fluorescent bulbs haven’t changed much in the last 50 or 60 years. They’re fragile, and they shatter. New LED lights are sturdier.

There’s a real balance between trying to figure out which of the old ways of lighting are worth keeping and which of the new ones we should adopt. We’re trying to open it up for companies to show us new and different ways of lighting.

We’ve proven that we can use LED on ships—they’ll survive, and they’ll work. Now we have to figure out how we want to do things differently than we have been doing with these options.”

Catching up with technology

There are specific requirements for shipboard lighting, to include applicable industry standards and those issued by classification societies like ABS.

You can’t just put any light fixture or light on board a ship,” said Christopher Nemarich, engineering manager for shipboard electrical systems- lighting and instrumentation (NAVSEA 05Z33).

He added, “All general purpose and task lighting that goes onboard a Navy ship must meet the requirements of MIL DTL 16377J, which was issued in 2014 and has its latest amendment in 2019, which covers fluorescent, incandescent and solid-state LED lighting, luminaires and parts used for general illumination on naval ships and submarines. The specifications don’t tell industry how to make the lights; they specify what attributes those lights have to have. If they make a light that meets the requirements then maybe we’ll buy it.”

However, the specifications need to catch up with the state of technology. During the energy crisis in the 1970s the Navy replaced many incandescent lights with more efficient fluorescent tubes, so those specifications are now at least 40 years old. LED technology is evolving faster than the documentation can keep up with it.

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Source: Marine Link


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