Along with their sizeable improvements in bulb life and efficiency, LEDs are offering advanced, even health- and business-enhancing capabilities in trucking. Heavy-duty LED vehicle lighting manufacturer Optronics International adds a new wrinkle with its LED-based decontaminating/ sanitizing lights, the Purilite Light-Shield line, being showcased next week at the 2019 NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.
These truck LED lights can reduce particulate matter, pathogens and bacteria to decontaminate and sanitize the air, according to the company, while producing light that approximates sunlight to support optimal vision. Optronics said the products improve hygiene, air quality and worker safety and are especially well-suited for trucks, which often are used not only for transport but as drivers' living quarters over the road.
"Sleeper cabs, vehicles with multiple users, and dry bulk and refrigerated food transportation haulers may be at greater risk of exposure" to harmful pollution and contaminants, noted Brett Johnson, the company's president and CEO. The climate where a vehicle operates can also be a factor in collecting and growing pathogens.
Any workers regularly around vehicles are exposed to microscopic airborne pollutants that can penetrate into the body and damage organs and tissue, Optronics noted, and it's worse for truck drivers. Particle pollution you'll find around trucks includes many types of mold and bacteria — particularly trucks transporting food — as well as soot emitted by diesel engines and diesel-fired APUs.
How it works
Optronics' Purilite Light-Shield LEDs have a special coating that generates a constant stream of negative ions, according to the company. The lamps decontaminate and sanitize the air while producing light that approaches the color temperature of natural sunlight, which Optronics noted is "optimal light quality for human vision."
The company further explained that the new LEDs sanitize by both physical and biological means.
First, the physical: Negative ions that the LEDs produce bind to lightweight airborne particulate matter, adding mass and essentially "fattening them up" so gravity will cause them to float safely to the ground.
The negative ions also combine with positive molecules in mold spores and bacterial proteins, which destroys them and causes them to decompose. What's left of the pathogens also falls inertly to the ground, Optronics said, and is rendered essentially sterile.
The LEDs work whenever activated. "When the lights are on, they are doing their job—it's deceptively simple," Johnson said. "A sleeper cab driver can flip on these lights and go grab a bite, and when they return, the cab environment will be significantly cleaner."
"If they prefer, drivers can remain in the cab while the lights are working," he added. "It's perfectly safe just to leave them on."
Optronics said it has seen some significant results with its preliminary tests of the LEDs' ability to sanitize. With one hour of the Purilite Light-Shield LED being on in a controlled environment, the company said it measured a 77% reduction in PM2.5, which is fine inhalable solid particles and liquid droplet matter with a diameter generally 2.5 micrometers or less.
The LEDs also were able to reduce E. coli bacteria by 65%, according to the company.
The LEDs can help food supply chain and cold chain shipping companies comply with stricter requirements for sanitary food transport under the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Optronics pointed out.
"Until today, surface cleaning procedures and bacteria-resistant surface treatments were the only methods available to fleets required to adhere to FSMA guidelines," Johnson said. He added the Purilite Light-Shield LEDs "transcend simple surface-oriented decontamination methods and move toward cleansing the entire interior environment of a vehicle, including the air."
But with various sizes and mounting possibilities — and again, given the nature of a truck with heightened exposure to particulate matter and pollution and often the vehicle's use as office and living quarters — the products could also find uses inside the cab or in various trailers that could benefit from their properties as well.
LEDs lend themselves well to commercial lighting applications and are gaining notice and use in trucking for a range of benefits, including more powerful lighting, reduced current draw, extremely long service life, and advancing technological capabilities as these from Optronics demonstrate.