3 Things to Consider When Choosing an Intelligent Emergency Luminaire


26 July 2018

Emergency Ex lighting plays an important role in maintaining the safety of hazardous area locations, and the well-being of those who work in them, by providing back-up illumination when the primary power source fails. In this article we take a closer look at how the latest ‘intelligent’ emergency luminaires can improve performance of emergency systems, ultimately increasing safety and reducing risk on-site.

What Is an Intelligent Emergency Luminaire?

‘Intelligent’ emergency luminaires feature a built-in microprocessor which automatically cycles the emergency batteries, checks the health status of the luminaire and communicates it via an LED indicator. The entire process is automated, unlike conventional emergency luminaires where checks and battery cycling are a manual process.

For more detailed information about the functionality of an intelligent emergency luminaire, you can read another of our articles here.

Why Do I Need an Intelligent Emergency Luminaire?

To operate effectively (by providing optimum levels of light and duration in emergency scenarios), an emergency luminaire’s battery must be regularly checked and tested to ensure there is no degradation in its capacity. Further conditioning is also required to maintain its optimum performance.

Given that conventional emergency luminaires rely on human intervention in the process of routinely monitoring, checking and testing, there is an associated risk of human error or neglect. If the luminaire is not properly tested and maintained there could be serious implications on the performance of the luminaire when an emergency scenario occurs. Automating the process by introducing intelligent emergency luminaires effectively eliminates this risk, increasing reliability of the emergency network and improving overall site safety. A reduction in the time and cost of maintenance is another associated benefit.

3 Things to Consider When Choosing an Intelligent Emergency Luminaire

1. What level of light output will your intelligent emergency luminaire provide once an automatic test begins?

This is an important consideration. If the luminaire can only operate at a reduced output during testing procedures or battery cycling, parts of the site could unexpectedly lose significant levels of light, albeit for a temporary period. If this occurs at a critical moment it could cause disruption or create a serious safety risk. In contrast, a luminaire capable of maintaining 100% light output during testing will continue to provide the same constant level of performance.

2. When will the automatic testing occur? 

As batteries are cycled, their charge is drained and then recharged to ensure they are operating at full capacity. It is important to consider when and how these cycles will occur, and the impact the timing of them could have.

If all luminaires on-site were to enter a testing cycle at roughly the same time, performance of the entire network would be compromised if an emergency scenario occurred while this was ongoing; with battery charge levels depleted, output duration is stunted.

An intelligent emergency luminaire should therefore conduct testing randomly to ensure there is never a significant proportion of luminaires undergoing a testing cycle at one time. This will help to avoid any unexpected duration shortages should an emergency scenario occur.

3. What happens if an emergency scenario occurs when a test is taking place?

Even if testing does occur randomly, having even one luminaire on-site which is completely discharged could present a safety risk. Allowing a battery to discharge completely presents a risk of total light loss if an emergency scenario occurs at the end of a discharge cycle; with no charge in the battery, there is no power to the luminaire in emergency mode.

Crucially, if some reserve capacity is retained, and the batteries are only discharged to around a third of their capacity, at worst the luminaire will still be able to provide around one hour of light in emergency mode (depending on the power / % output). Opting for a luminaire which retains reserve capacity during testing is therefore an important consideration.

The Raytec Performance Advantage

The new range of SPARTAN intelligent emergency luminaires incorporate all the key features which you need to consider when upgrading to an intelligent system. 100% light output is maintained during all testing procedures, while discharge cycles occur randomly every 3 months and always retain around a third of the battery’s charge, so you’re never left with a total loss of light.

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