ALSTOM Aerospace – Airports has supplied 100 of the ZA216L, a new taxiway-edge light that utilises Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology and will provide a quantum leap in performance.

The ALSTOM ZA216L exhibits many new features and concepts when compared to the existing incandescent-based technology. The three high-power luxeon LEDs developed by Lumidrives Ltd can produce enough light from 3W, whereas the existing technology would need at least 30W per light. For airport operators, a 90% reduction in power will provide considerable savings in infrastructure and operating costs for their visual aid lighting.

Also, the projected life of the ALSTOM ZA216L is expected to be in excess of 50,000 hours. The interval between maintenance times thus increases to eight years. When compared to the existing technology, the LED product will provide a considerable saving in resource to the airport operator.

The ALSTOM ZA216L project also represents a partnership between a number of different suppliers. ALSTOM Kidsgrove has devised a dedicated power convertor that will enable the LED airfield light to operate from the airfield circuit power infrastructure. The ZA216L will match the response performance of the existing technology and create the different intensity levels that are specified by international airfield standards.

The technology also has the potential for being introduced in inset fixtures that are embedded into the taxiway structure such as the ZA280LED fixture. As a stop bar fixture, which provides an essential light barrier between the taxiway and a live runway, the additional life of the LEDs provides additional reassurance to the airfield maintenance teams, who are mandated to keep adjacent lights operational at all times.

The power convertors also feature an external inhibit-enable function that, when inter-locked with other lights, provides a fail-safe method for ensuring operations about the stop bar without needing to control the complete power circuit. It is envisaged that the electronic power convertor will provide functions and applications that are not currently feasible with the existing technology.

The component suppliers have developed a number of unique innovations within the product. Gillinder Glass Inc, the US technical glass specialist, has devised a refractor mix that will match the wavelength of the LEDs and reduce the thermal absorption of the airfield light. Also, to aid airfield inspectors, the glass colour will exhibit the colour of the airfield light when the circuit is not operating.

The release of the ZA216L is timely as the Civil Aviation Authority have recently issued a NOTAL that will allow UK airports to implement LED technology on their taxiways after consultation and trials with industry working groups.

The ZA216L taxiway-edge light created significant interest from an international customer base when exhibited at InterAirport trade show in Munich and the by its US partner, FlightLight Inc at the FAA Airport Conference Hershey, Pennsylvania earlier this year.

Manchester International Airport and Oxford (Kidlington) Airport have installed 80 of the new ZA216L taxiway-edge lights, and pilots have already reported an improvement.

Due to the initial success of the ZA216L taxiway-edge LED fixture, ALSTOM will offer more products towards the end of the year and currently are finalising approvals for taxiway products for the US market, where there has been significant up-take of this technology.

The ALSTOM ZA216L airfield taxiway edge light is a success and shows that, by a combination of working with the licensing authorities, design innovation and co-ordination of an international supplier base, a Midland firm can market a successful product for both home and international markets.