Road vehicles account for a substantial proportion of UK greenhouse gas emissions. Alongside the adoption of electric vehicles, there are significant gains to be made through the careful selection of the ancillary equipment to be fitted to the vehicle. Indeed, with the increasing uptake of electric vehicle technology, opportunities to save energy become all the more valuable in order to reduce battery drain. Yorkshire-based manufacturer of emergency vehicle warning equipment, Haztec International, believes it can help fleet managers through the innovative design and quality of its products.
Haztec International offers a comprehensive range of audible and visual vehicle warning systems. The UK business has been at the forefront of vehicle warning equipment design and build since its formation in 2001, and supplies to the emergency, recovery and utility services worldwide.
The company’s customised approach to manufacturing allows end users to specify how many LED modules they require in their lightbars, allowing lighting levels and resulting power consumption to be matched to the vehicle application. In-house manufacture allows customisation to be achieved easily and without impacting on lead times.
Full light coverage
Innovative modules, like Haztec’s XEM range, combine LEDs with mirrors to redirect otherwise wasted light. This allows lightbars to achieve full light coverage with fewer LEDs and therefore a lighter weight, lower power consumption and lower overall cost.
Over the course of a shift, an emergency vehicle can be used in many different scenarios – from high speed response to being stationary ‘at scene’ – and in conditions ranging from bright day light to night-time, making fast, adaptive switching an important requirement.
Haztec can offer a wide range of UN ECE R65 Class 2 certified products, which incorporate two easily selectable brightness settings for day, or lower power, night use when required.
Additionally, many modules are available with ‘split’ functionality, allowing them to be operated with all LEDs lit, or with some LEDs switched off, conserving power in situations where maximum warning is not needed.
The vehicle’s warning equipment can be easily adapted to the situation at the press of a single button using the manufacturer’s EuroSmart switching systems. For example, full response mode can activate siren and lights at maximum power, while another button press will switch to ‘at scene’ mode, which can be pre-programmed for any combination of lighting to be dimmed, reduced or switched off entirely. It can also activate supplementary lighting, such as flashing rear red lights.
Haztec’s attention to detail also extends to siren and speaker design. An example is the manufacturer’s 8-82613 Class D compact siren amplifier. The 10-200W variable output of the siren is programmable to match the quantity, impedance and power of the speaker(s). Output will automatically compensate for fluctuations in supply voltage, optimising speaker performance and preserving speaker life. This, coupled with other design features such as overheat protection, reverse polarity protection (which safeguards against incorrect power connection), and speaker short circuit/overload protection, are all designed to preserve the life of the system over many years.
Haztec also offers a range of EuroSmart compact sirens. A fraction of the size and weight of a traditional siren, these compact units will deliver the same, or more volume, but at potentially less than half the power. When combined with one or two 50W 4Ohm compact lightweight speakers, they help by contributing to an incremental overall reduction in the weight of the equipped vehicle but, with a powerful output of 118dBA at 2m with one speaker and 123dBA with two speakers, they don’t compromise on warning capability.
The cutting edge design of the EuroSmart compact range also eliminates the need for voltage conversion within the siren amplifier. This saves significant amounts of physical space and weight and also means the siren generates negligible heat, even when running continuously at full power. As a result, the unit is much more efficient than traditional siren designs and consumes considerably less power.
Trouble-free service life
In addition to designing products for maximum operating efficiency, Haztec also ensures products offer a long, trouble-free service life, reducing waste. Not only does this play a part in carbon reduction for the benefit of the planet but it also makes good budgetary sense, delivering value for money and reducing whole life costs for fleet managers while ensuring products deliver the best possible user experience and warning power.
This focus on quality starts with the design of the product and choice of materials and components used in its manufacture. Haztec lightbar, beacon and directional warning light lenses are typically made of UV stabilised, high impact polycarbonate. The stabilisation process ensures that lenses retain their original colours (an inherent part of their warning capability) for many years, and the strengthened polycarbonate minimises the risk of damage when out on the road, particularly when vehicles are travelling at high speed.
Aluminium provides a lightweight but high strength and durable material for lightbar bases ensuring that, even at long lightbar lengths, bases retain their form and resist buckling so preserving both performance and lifespan. These key components, and many more, are locally sourced, reducing carbon footprint and helping support the local economy.
Latest generation LEDs
Most Haztec lighting products feature Generation 3 3W LEDs. Latest generation LEDs provide very high levels of efficiency, maximising light output, and therefore warning power, with minimum power consumption. Lighting products are also designed with optimum heat-sinking properties – this reduces heat generated during operation, ensuring LED life is maximised. Decades of experience in lightbar design allow Haztec to produce lightbars that offer exceptional ingress protection but can still be opened for maintenance if needed.
Thanks to extensive stocks of both current and older lightbar and other components in its Leeds facility, Haztec can quickly despatch a genuine replacement saving on the need to replace the entire lightbar.
Bryn Tennant, Haztec’s Founder and CEO, sums it up, saying, “We have always believed that quality counts because it delivers the best value for money for fleet managers. In fact we were one of the first manufacturers to offer a full five-year warranty on many of our lighting products, a reflection of the quality we believe our range offers to the market. We have always focused a great deal of effort on designing and engineering our products in order to maximise their life cycle. I still see many of our lightbars and other lights out on the road, doing their job perfectly effectively many years after they were first purchased.
“With every new product in the development programme, our electronics and mechanical engineering design teams take into account many different factors. As with any design, there’s always a balance to be struck. Products have to deliver maximum warning power for the safety of the vehicle occupants and other road users, so performance and functionality are key, but we also work hard to keep the size and weight to a minimum, as well as factoring in the need for reliability and long service life with the capability of being recycled at the end of a product’s useful life.”
Haztec Xpert SL and Xpert SLX lightbars are a great example of this balanced approach. With their low profile designs, they’re ideally suited for high speed pursuit vehicles. Their aerodynamic profile and lightweight design, combined with their high light output, mean they minimise wind resistance without compromising on warning power.
Assembly and manufacturing are also important elements of quality. Robust ISO 9001:2015 certified quality management systems and Conformity of Production methodology are applied throughout sub-assembly and production to ensure the final product is finished to the highest standards.
Evidence of quality is provided through the rigorous testing and certification that Haztec products undergo, including third party UN ECE R65 certification for light intensity and colour, flash frequency and water ingress protection.
The manufacturer’s in-house R&D centre includes a range of test apparatus designed to replicate operation under the toughest of road and environmental conditions. Facilities include a salt fog test chamber to verify corrosion resistance and an environmental chamber, which subjects products to a wide range of constant and varying heat and humidity conditions. Water ingress protection is also validated using an in-house IPX5/IPX6 chamber. A vibration test bed simulates the long-term effects of vehicle-mounted vibration under varying road conditions such as turbulence, inclines/declines and turning, ensuring products will withstand extended use over the roughest of terrains.
Haztec also conducts extensive endurance testing of its sirens and speakers. In addition, the company’s in-house anechoic chamber is used to provide accurate detailed performance data for their wide range of speakers and many different worldwide tones. The chamber is also used for random production audit testing to ensure supplied products consistently meet or exceed all performance claims.
Alongside magnetic mount lightbars and beacons, and adhesive or suction mount internal warning lights, Haztec also constantly looks at ways to preserve vehicle bodywork. One recent Haztec innovation is the universal, hook-on lightbar mount kit. The kit can be simply hooked onto the vehicle roof, saving the need to drill holes in the bodywork, while ensuring the lightbar’s light output can be very precisely positioned to compensate for roof curvature and slope.
The commitment to minimising waste extends beyond the service life of the product , Haztec has also recently completely redesigned its packaging for lightbars in order to reduce waste while improving protection during shipment. Recyclable and biodegradable packaging is also now used where possible.