Why We Don’t Recommend Using Rotating Lights as Visual Warning Signals

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Way back before xenon strobe lights were invented, we signaling manufacturers only had incandescent warning lights to offer – either on/off flashing, or steady-burn with a rotating reflector that created a sweeping motion that drew your attention to the light.

These worked well enough – at least until the introduction of the xenon strobe lamp, and later on LED’s.  Then the shortcomings of the incandescent or halogen based lights became obvious.  Those of us who have observed first-hand either on the factory floor or on a forklift truck a warning light with a working reflector, rotating around a burned out light bulb, or a non-rotating reflector and a steady-on light bulb – neither getting anyone’s attention; can attest to the superiority of a flashing xenon strobe or LED warning signal.

Warning lights, especially those that come on infrequently are not usually targeted for pre-emptive maintenance.  Chances are good that the time you realize it is not working is when you need it the most.  To minimize failures and to assure that the light will work when and as needed, you want the most advanced light source possible.  Today your options are either xenon strobe tube or LED.

Another important consideration is to minimize or totally eliminate mechanical parts and fragile filaments.  You want to look for a visual signal with neither an electromechanical motor or a light-bulb type filament.

Consider that any vibration will in time weaken the filament to such an extent that once it is powered the likelihood of it failing is greatly increased.  I think most of us have experienced coming home with a brand new package of 60 or 100 watt light bulbs, installing them in a floor or ceiling lamp, turning on the switch and…nothing.  Sure enough, the jostling that package took from the light bulb manufacturer to the store was enough to weaken the filament enough that when it started to heat up it failed instead.

And as for the electric motor that is used to rotate the reflector, it of course contains many moving parts.  All these parts are prone to failure when exposed to normal vibrations found in manufacturing or process facilities.

Warning lights are installed for the sole purpose of getting someone’s attention.  A critical situation, whether life-safety or equipment related, needs an immediate response.  A warning light is the preferred method of quickly notifying workers – especially in high noise areas.  The type of warning light used is critical.  With its rapid-fire flash and penetrating intensity, a strobe signal will reflect off surfaces and structures, so even if the worker is facing away from the light source or is otherwise engaged, there is an increased chance of getting his or her attention.  Similarly, an LED light source will give you the peace of mind that the signal will function when it is supposed to.

Tomar Electronics has been in the industry for over 40 years, manufacturing high-quality emergency warning products. We engineer, design, and manufacture the system components you need to keep your workers safe, focusing on research and development that will continue to promote emergency preparedness in innovative ways.

Tomar is pleased to work with industrial businesses of all types to provide the visual and audible equipment needed for health and safety standards. Connect with us by calling 800-338-3133, or emailing sales@tomar.com. Our products are here to alert, protect, and keep your shop floor safe.

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