Outdoor Lighting: Maxlite announces LED roadway fixtures; New SSL installations

Dec. 3, 2012
Maxlite has launched the new Merak series of LED Roadway lights for replacement of 70-500W HPS lights, while outdoor SSL installations from convenience store to San Antonio roadways make news.

Maxlite has introduced its first LED-based roadway lighting product in the Merak series of luminaires that can deliver 2250-23,300 lm and a variety of beam distributions. Cree announced a new solid-state lighting (SSL) project with the Sheetz convenience store chain. The small town of Mora, MN is installing LEDs lights, while a major SSL roadway project in San Antonio, TX is being impacted by rain-induced failure of luminaires.

Maxlite Merak series

Maxlite luminaires light snowy roadway

The new Merak series of LED roadway lights from MaxLite cover a broad spectrum of applications with models delivering as much as 23,300 lm and ranging in power consumption from 30W to 240W. Maxlite said that the series includes products suitable for replacing legacy cobrahead luminaires such as high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights that consumed 70W to 500W.

Like the majority of LED-based street lights on the market, the Merak series uses total-internal reflection (TIR) lenses on each LED. The polycarbonate lenses perform dual functions both shaping the beam pattern and protecting the LEDs from water and dust ingress. Maxlite is offering models that deliver Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) Type 1, 2, and 3 beam patterns as standard products and will support other distributions on a custom-order basis.

Maxlite achieves the broad range of light output in the series, staring at 2550 lm, using modular LED light engines, with the brightest offerings using four modules. The company says that each light engine is individually cooled via a dedicated heat sink for maximum reliability.

The Merak luminaire with four LED modules

Merak represents Maxlite's first foray into the SSL roadway marketplace. Bill Fenimore, director of outdoor lighting, said "Our inaugural series of Merak LED Roadway Street Lighting fixtures has opened up an entirely new market segment for MaxLite."

The Merak design includes additional features, beyond the lumen-output range, that will allow Maxlite to support applications from residential to freeways. The mechanical design, for instance, includes the ability to pivot the fixture in two directions allowing for precise aiming. Fenimore added, "These LED fixtures can match the photometrics of standard high-pressure sodium cobra head fixtures, while operating at a lower wattage, and meet or exceed the lumens produced by the incumbent technology."

Outdoor SSL – Cree and Sheetz

LED-based lighting continues to surge in outdoor applications ranging from roadways to area and parking lighting. Let's consider some recent projects.

Cree Lighting just announced that 131 Sheetz convenience stores and gas stations upgraded their outdoor lighting, with some doing indoor upgrades as well. Outdoors, the chain chose to install Cree Edge area and flood luminaires and 227 Series canopy luminaires in place of metal halide (MH) lights.

The chain said the outdoor lighting is delivering 50% to 55% in energy savings, combined with lower maintenance costs enabled by products with 50,000 hrs of rated life. "We collectively determined that the conventional, antiquated lighting that we were using at Sheetz needed to be upgraded," said Doug Knisely, director of building and petroleum construction at Sheetz. "High-quality lighting is an imperative to our business and is extremely vital to our customers that choose Sheetz to refuel their cars and refresh their bodies."

For more information on the Sheetz project see more coverage at our sister publication site Illumination in Focus - a site dedicated to general illumination.

MN and TX roadway news

Back to the roadway application we have a new LED street-light project in Kanabec County, MN and reported rain-related problems with a San Antonio, TX installation.

The Kanabec County Times reported that the city of Mora will install LED street lights along a stretch of Hwy 65/23. The Mora project is part of an increasing trend where relatively small municipalities are finding SSL to be a good investment.

Killmer Electric will perform the installation at a cost of $115,964. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is paying for the project that was needed to replace old lights, although the department is requiring the city to pay the incremental cost of using LED-based lights rather than conventional sources.

Rain-related failures

Most of our roadway lighting coverage has been extremely positive, especially in the past year as the technology has matured. Certainly there are cost obstacles, but quality concerns have largely disappeared. But San Antonio, TX has run into a rash of LED-lighting failures that are being attributed to rain, according to local TV station WOAI.

San Antonio was 2000 lights into a 25,000-light upgrade when the problem was discovered. Apparently a mechanical-design issue with a gasket allowed water into the luminaires causing the failure.

The lights in question come from the partnership of Greenstar Products and Toshiba, which was announced earlier this year. Greenstar designs and manufactures the fixtures that are then sold under Toshiba's brand. The partners are modifying the problematic design and will have to repair and/or upgrade the fixtures shipped to San Antonio.