There are a few inventions that we often take for granted. The indicator light is a perfect example of an unsung hero in the engineering world. Though it’s a simple little component it performs a role we simply couldn’t do without and is used in countless applications. The indicator light is our gateway to understanding the state of the machinery we interact with day in day out; it’s essential for condition monitoring and health and safety, and for that reason it seems it’s about time it got a bit of recognition for the essential work it does!
LED Indicator Lights
The most common form of indicator light these days is the LED indicator light, although more traditional incandescent light indicators are still used and available. LEDs were first developed as replacement indicator lights for incandescent and neon indicator lamps. LEDs were developed in 1962 by Nick Holonyak Jr who is widely considered to be the father of the LED. Originally LEDs were expensive to manufacture, costing around $200 per unit so had very little application, but by 1968 the lights had been developed so that LEDS could start to be widely used. They were installed in various pieces of equipment as indicator lights.
The technology which led to cheaper LED lights being developed has now advanced so that LED lights can be used for everyday lighting as well as in machinery. LEDs are set to be the next big thing in public and domestic lighting in the next couple of decades.
Why We Couldn’t Live Without Indicator Lights
Indicator lights let us know what’s going on inside equipment and this equipment can be as trivial as a games console or as important as an aeroplane. If the indicator lights fail on your favourite console nobody is going to die, but in a plane or car it could be different story. We rely on these little lights to warn us if our brake fluid is low or to let our pilot know the plane has sufficient fuel. In industry we use indicator lights to let us monitor the state of our machinery so we can decrease downtime and increase efficiency. In the office an indicator light can monitor our energy use and help us become more eco-friendly.
Indeed, CMD offer a new ‘footprint system’ which helps offices monitor energy use and this relies heavily on the indicator light. Indicator lights let us know when something is wrong and when everything’s going right and without them the world would be far less efficient place.
So next time your indicator light flashes up take a second to value its role in our work and daily lives, it really is something we couldn’t live without.
Written by Ed from CMD Ltd. A leading supplier of power distribution units and power management systems online.
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