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Spoilt for choice with beacons and sounders

Spoilt for choice with beacons and sounders

With so many different styles of beacons and sounders to select from, what are the selection criteria for the right choice of product? Simon Adams of Werma offers some selection guidance and tips.

Shopping for beacons and sounders can be a little like shopping for clothes where often the most basic criteria are colour/size and design. The basic decisions to be made are voltage, colour of light, type of light (permanent, flash, blink or rotate), basic design (for example stack light or stand-alone beacon) and, when it comes to sounders, volume output and tone type.

Manufacturers such as Werma sort products into groups in their printed and online catalogues that lead the customer through these basic selection decisions quickly and simply. Further, online selection tools for products such as modular signal towers and traffic light systems allow the customer to build the product by selecting from the available list of modular options. Audible products are often not only volume adjustable but also have a multitone selection. It can be of great help where online selection tools enable all of the tones to be sampled by looking up the part number using a sound playback function.

A further consideration is often the IP protection rating required. An IP65 rating makes products suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications. A few products are also available with a rating of IP67/69K making them safe for use in clean rooms or applications where they might be subjected to high pressure jet cleaning.

Where the requirement is just to employ a warning light to signal just one status then a basic 'dome shaped' beacon will be most suitable. Here again though there is a wide range of sizes, designs, colours to choose from. By far the most common type of signal light system used nowadays is often referred to as a 'traffic light'. This type of light will be used when the operator wants to signal multiple status conditions in the operation or on the machine being guarded.

Werma increases flexibility by offering modular signal tower families which offer up to seven different light colours, a variety of light effects, optional sound, as well as a wide range of other features including USB connectivity and wireless transmission of status change, as well as a comprehensive range of mounting accessories.

Another widely used application for signal towers is access control, where a traffic light is used in the classic definition of the phrase - green equals safe to go, amber equals proceed with caution and red equals stop.  Nowadays most products are supplied with bright long life LEDs and in outdoor applications even in the UK operators can often be faced with bright sunlight impairing the visibility of traffic lights. Werma solves this by using clear lenses with bright coloured LEDs so that there is unequivocal signalling, even in bright sunlight.

An aesthetically pleasing design is also a consideration. Many designers and operators today want signal lights that blend in well with the design of the machine or the environment in which the lights will be located. The wide range of modern design traffic light systems on offer mean that users can always find an appropriate product.

Catalogues and online selection tools are always a good place to start, but it is always worth emphasising that in many cases the best solution will be to call a reputable supplier who can offer expert advice.
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