A light beacon is an electronic device designed to send safety signals and provide guidance in low-light or low-visibility conditions. They’re a common sight in industries including aviation, construction, manufacturing, and traffic control.
In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of warning light beacons and their applications. This information will help you make an informed choice when purchasing light beacons for your business, keeping your workplace safe.
Light beacon colour coding
Light beacons come in an array of lens colours, each with a special meaning. It’s crucial to choose the right colour to ensure you send the correct message to anyone within the hazardous (or potentially hazardous) area.
In Australia, the four light beacon colours are:
- Red, indicating immediate danger and action,
- Amber, indicating an imminently dangerous condition or situation requiring human intervention or monitoring,
- Blue, indicating a change in safety conditions requiring a defined operator action, i.e., machinery powering down,
- Green, indicating normal conditions.
Different industries may use safety light beacons in various ways, but the light colours have the same general meaning.
Types of warning beacons
There are several different types of warning beacons across these colour categories. Some of the most common types are:
- LED beacons, which contain a semiconductor device known as a light-emitting diode. They illuminate as an electric current passes through them.
- Static beacons, which emit a steady light when the beacon is energised.
- Flashing beacons, which continually cycle on and off thanks to specialised internal circuitry.
- Rotating beacons, which offer a powerful, 360-degree beacon range. A motor-driven reflection continually revolves around the bulb to create a ‘rotating’ light effect.
- Xenon beacons, which produce a bright flash of light thanks to an internal discharge capacitor operating through a converter circuit.
The type of warning beacon you choose will depend on your specific application. For example, flashing amber beacons are often used as hazard warning lights on vehicles and machinery.
Light beacon applications
Along with warning people about potential and ongoing hazards, light beacons have other safety applications.
One popular application of light beacons is navigation. In low-visibility conditions, beacons can help guide vehicles safely to their destination—such as lighthouses that help guide ships sailing through the night.
Beacons can also help with road navigation in harsh or foggy weather, or even for leading pedestrians down a predetermined safe path.
Factories often use warning beacons to notify workers of potential dangers and errors, or even simply to indicate that machinery is working correctly. In some cases, the beacon may be combined with a warning siren to emphasise the need for immediate action.
Light beacons have critical safety applications across industries including traffic control, aviation, construction, engineering, and many more. The diverse types and colours available allow operators to send clear signals to indicate safety conditions, such as imminent hazards.
Make sure to research light beacons thoroughly before making a purchase for your business—this way, you’ll make sure to buy beacons that meet safety regulations and laws while meeting your organisation’s specific needs.