A study by Global Market Insights, Inc., reveals that the global mobile light tower market size may exceed USD 2 billion by 2026, driven by the rise in the number of smart city developments.

Light sources have been used by humans for generations, even before the discovery of electricity. From the use of fire by primitive humans for protection and illumination during the night, to the use of oil-based lamps to light up the streets in previous centuries, to the modern electricity-based solutions of the current times; lighting has been an integral part of human life.

Industrial lighting has come a long way since the time of candles used on hardhats. Although the technologies may have changed, the need for the well-being and safety of workers, alongside workspace protection in low lit conditions has been consistent throughout the ages.

This need for illumination in light challenged work environments has thus contributed to the rise of many lighting solutions, including mobile light towers. In the modern era, light towers are commonplace in various applications, such as along highways.
Mobile light towers can provide light in many challenging, and potentially dangerous situations across the industrial landscape. The global mobile light tower market is increasingly becoming a major contributor to various applications including sporting events, demolition worksites, fuel refineries, indoor applications, and more in order to ensure safety and deter risks of vandalism or theft.

Overview of mobile light towers

Mobile light towers or portable light towers generally consist of three main components; a generator that powers the lamps, a mast, and one or more electric high-intensity lamps. The mobility for the units is usually achieved by the addition of wheels, or trailer hitches. Conventional light tower solutions make use of electricity for power, as well as incandescent lighting and metal halide for illumination. However, recent years have marked the emergence of newer alternatives for power supply such as battery, hydrogen, or solar power, in addition to the integration of more efficient LED lighting solutions.

“mobile light towers can provide light in many challenging and potentially dangerous situations across the industrial landscape”

The application scope for mobile light towers is vast and spans across various industries.

These include:

  • Construction lighting, which involves the use of these light towers in urban construction pipelines, engineering construction, road maintenance, road paving, etc.
  • War preparation, such as rescues, camping, distributing, field training, and emergency preparedness drills
  • Emergency, such as earthquake preparedness, firefighting, disaster relief, flood prevention, and rescue and emergency rescues, as well as for electricity, transportation, gas, construction, and telecommunication applications, among others
  • Mine lighting, including mine tunnel lighting, distributed storage and transportation, open-pit mining, and more
  • Mobile lighting for film and TV shooting, sports events, railway power, and airport backups, etc.

Construction industry portable lighting towers

Safety is a primary concern on any construction site. This applies not just to worker safety, but also to the well-being of motorists or pedestrians in or around the site, as well as to the worksite itself.

Although mobile lighting towers can be used yearlong, the need for the solutions arises largely in the winter months, owing to shorter days and a lack of natural light from the sun. In the modern era, most construction sites also tend to be more active during the night time, in order to avoid inconvenience to motorists and other daily activities during the day. In such cases, light towers are especially important, as workers require a well-illuminated work environment in order to carry out their tasks efficiently and safely.

There are various benefits associated with the use of industrial light towers in the construction domain.

Strong illumination

The most prominent of these is the ability of mobile light towers to provide strong illumination to the worksite, which facilitates work execution even after dark. The integration of these light sources on the site can therefore allow an extension of the workday, thereby contributing to enhanced productivity at the worksite and faster completion of the projects.

Safety

In addition to the workday extension, light towers also play an important role in increasing the safety of the construction sites. While used conventionally during night time construction activities, some companies  also use the systems in the daytime, for indoor or covered work sites. This allows workers to gain better visualisation of their tools and work, in turn reducing risks of injuries and accidents on the job.

Protection

Mobile light towers also help keep the worksite well protected during idle times when there are no workers present. Dark or unlit construction sites are a prime target for vandalism or theft. Keeping the site well illuminated can therefore curb potential criminal activity and keep the site secure. Furthermore, adequate lighting at worksites located close to main roads or public sidewalks can also help make sure that pedestrians are able to cross the site more safely.

“light towers allow workers to gain better visualisation of their tools and work, reducing risks of injuries”

There are four main criteria that are crucial to the selection of appropriate mobile lighting solutions for companies. These include the following areas.

Illumination capacity

Since providing additional light is the main purpose of light towers, their illumination capacity is a core consideration. This parameter is important in order to adjust and position the lights correctly, so as to avoid the creation of a glare that may impair the workers’ vision and compromise motorist and pedestrian safety.

Independent power source

For construction sites that are located in rural development areas, or locations where additional lighting may be required for hard to reach areas such as mine shafts, having an independent power source with robust fuel capacity is of great importance for mobile light towers. This helps ensure that the safety of the workspace and staff is not influenced by any acts of nature or power outages.

Portability

Although the variety of industrial light tower solutions on the market is vast, the majority of industries prefer to use mobile light towers that give them the benefits of portability, allowing them to be deployed or moved around myriad locations. Since these towers are used across a range of locations, the manoeuvrability and height adjustability are important parameters to consider for optimum illumination.

Durability

Construction sites often face many rugged conditions such as extreme weather, which increases the need for highly durable and robust industrial light tower solutions suitable for deployment in rough conditions.

Shifting trends

Next we look at shifting trends in mobile lighting, in particular, the rise of LEDs.

Historically, industrial facilities have been largely dependent on high-intensity discharge sources as well as incandescent lighting sources for their illumination needs. Studies suggest that in the US, almost 80-90% of the 150 million lighting units fitted in industrial facilities are reliant mainly on HID (HighIntensity Discharge) sources such as mercury vapour, metal halide, and highpressure sodium lights. Recent years, however, have seen a significant rise in awareness regarding the detriments of these lighting sources on the environment, spurring the development of more sustainable alternatives.

To that end, LED lighting has emerged as a promising and cost-effective lighting solution for industrial applications over the past decades, facilitating a massive reduction of long-term environmental impacts and minimising the burden of high electricity costs. In fact, estimates from the DoE (Department of Energy) suggest that LED lighting could bring about savings of almost 190 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, an equivalent of nearly $15 billion.

The shift from metal halide lamps to LED lights is an especially prominent trend in the mobile light tower industry in the modern era. While the shift towards light towers with LED bulbs has been initially slow, recent years have seen a considerable rise in interest towards these solutions, given the rising awareness regarding their many benefits.

In addition to financial benefits, the advantages of LED luminaires are vast. According to reports, LED lights are nearly 80% more efficient than their traditional counterparts like metal halide and high-pressure sodium, as they convert 95% of the energy into light and only 5% into heat. The instant-on capability of LED lights also contributes greatly to energy-savings in industrial applications, especially conditions which require around-the-clock lighting.

“mobile light towers can provide light in many challenging and potentially dangerous situations across the industrial landscape”

Owing to their lower energy consumption, LED luminaries account for the least amount of CO2 emitted into the air, as compared to other lighting sources. For instance, the use of conventional incandescent bulbs can result in emissions of over 4,500 pounds of carbon dioxide each year, whereas LEDs are responsible for only around 451 pounds of CO2 emissions per year.

LED light towers are also longer lasting than their counterparts as LED bulbs have a life cycle of more than 50,000 hours. Also, since LED luminaires do not involve the use of fragile bulbs that are susceptible to wear or breakage, they also involve significantly lower maintenance costs and downtimes than metal halide lamps.

According to some studies, less than 10% of the power from incandescent lamps is converted into visual light, with a major chunk of the power being converted into radiated heat or infrared (IR). This excessive heat and UV radiation can give rise to burn risks for people and materials alike, especially in industrial environments that contain advanced machinery, hazardous chemicals, etc. LED lighting solutions are considered to be a cleaner and healthier source of lighting in this case, as they emit little to no UV or IR. This makes them ideal for conditions where materials sensitive to UV light are stored, such as museums.

The push for LED lighting solutions is prevalent in the mobile light tower industry as well, with myriad manufacturers making persistent efforts to integrate the solution into their products.

The next sustainability trend

Are solar-powered light towers the next sustainability trend in the mobile light tower industry?

Rising environmental concerns worldwide, alongside increasingly stringent emission regulations, are urging manufacturers to make a switch to green technologies, especially in equipment design. This shift has been noticed most prominently in Switzerland, Germany, Austria as well as in Scandinavian countries. The United States too has marked a significant rise in green technology development, including the West Coast and
surrounding states such as Washington, Oregon, and California, among others.

The burgeoning interest in LED, engine technology evolutions supported by the onset of Stage V, the emergence of Lithium-Ion solutions in hybrid models and the rising demand for zero-carbon solutions has triggered a massive shift in mobile light tower industry trends towards a more customer-centric and sustainable model.

In keeping with this evolving trend, key industry players have initiated targeted efforts towards developing more sustainable industrial light tower solutions, with LED lights and lowerpowered engines. The proliferating demand for clean, energy-saving, and super-silent mobile lighting equipment has therefore spurred massive interest in solar-powered portable light towers in recent years.

According to industry analysts, solarpowered mobile lighting solutions are well suited for myriad industrial applications, especially those in remote areas that are hard to reach for refuelling purposes. Since solar panels are able to not just capture but store energy from the sun, solar-powered mobile light towers are able to keep going for much longer times than their conventional electricity-based counterparts, without relying on fuel tricks for oil changes or maintenance. Solar-powered light towers are operated mainly by photocells, which refer to sensors that can detect light and allow the towers to switch off and on autonomously.

“hybrid mobile lighting units are gaining rapid traction in recent years, featuring solar panels as well as back up diesel generatorsˮ

This is beneficial for industrial applications, as solar towers can be left to their own devices for the most part, with little to no need for an operator to physically turn the systems on or off.

In addition to the burgeoning interest in solar-powered mobile light towers, the focus of environmentally conscious
industrial players is also shifting towards other sustainable alternatives like batterypowered or hybrid light tower systems.

Hybrid mobile lighting units have gained rapid traction in recent years. These systems feature solar panels as well as back up diesel generators. This ensures that even if the battery runs out of its stored solar energy, the tower will continue to function on the backup generator. This, in turn, provides the light tower the required energy for powering the lamps, whilst recharging the battery pack at the same time.

You can find out more here: https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/mobile-light-tower-market