When selecting an Airfield Ground Lighting provider there comes more into play than just price and past experience. An AGL light once installed will last for the next 15 years (on average) and that means you need to be sure about what solution(s) to implement and what is critical when selecting the right set of lights. We’ve listed some key elements customers told us they look at when selecting the lights they will implement on their approach, runway, or taxiway. 

Maintenance is a key part in every selection process, how easily can lights be maintained but also how many spare parts do I need to foresee? Every airside needs many lights that fulfill different functions, so foreseeing a special set of spare parts per light means more costs and thus more complexity that needs to be handled. Always check how easy lights can be maintained and what in terms of spare parts ROI (the fewer spares needed for all lights the higher the ROI). In many cases, entire parts of the light need to be replaced not just the broken components. Can I use the same dome for several lights, what about the electronic driver, how easy and fast can lights be opened or are they sealed and can they not be opened? What about the IP grade, can it be maintained after servicing the lights? These are all questions that give you a clear indication of where potential extra costs will arise. 

Safety. We all agree that working on the airside is not without dangers. Besides the working environment, we also need to understand how safe the products we work with are. What about the easiness to switch off the power, what with the surge protection or the internal fault detection, these are all elements to consider when selecting a light or any lights or an AGL supplier.​

Optics. The optics are a critical component, they need to guarantee that light output and brilliance are optimal in all circumstances, not to forget the 360° circular guidance on elevated lights needed for the pilots’ understanding of their position on the airfield. 

Electronics. The electronics are often seen as the weak spot of any light, they play a key role in assuring the light’s lifecycle but are also key to guarantee the safety of the light(s) whenever you need to replace components. Here it’s critical that lights adapt automatically to the frequency of the supply current​, that surge and overcurrent protection is provided in the electronics ​and that they are designed in such a way that they provide protection against indirect contacts​.

Water tightness. What is the IP grade of the lights, how can this IP grade be maintained after doing the maintenance? The use of gaskets and the way cables are placed inside the lights is key to keep the promised IP grade also after many maintenance intervals. Many lights, but also signs, lose their watertightness once maintenance has been affected and this can never be the idea.

Keeping all these key elements in mind when writing the specifications of any airfield ground lighting needs make good sense, it puts the tender into another perspective and goes beyond the pure price considerations a cheaper could mean much more expensive in the end.

Talk to any of our MULTI ELECTRIC colleagues to understand the importance of the technical approach to AGL but also a good validation and testing program. Contact us to get a more detailed presentation via sales@multielectric.com.