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17 May, 2006 - 12:44 By Staff Reporter

Dialight targets European assault

Dialight, a pioneer in advanced lighting technology for transport and industry, is ramping up manufacturing from an upgraded Newmarket facility to exploit massive potential across Europe.

The company has switched manufacturing from Germany to Newmarket to cash in on European opportunities for long-lasting and durable LED-based traffic lights, rail signals and hazard lights.

LEDs (light emitting diodes) are light sources that offer huge advantages over traditional bulbs in terms of energy efficiency, brightness, durability and flexibility.

Dialight is already a world leader but new business in the relatively untapped European market could see the company achieve impressive global scale. Order books are already reflecting strong growth.

CEO Roy Burton said Dialight had developed new LED traffic lights in direct dialogue with top OEMs and tailored the product to the various standards required by different European countries.

Burton said it was logical for Dialight to build up the Newmarket facility, which had all the ingredients for increasing manufacturing volume from the UK based on market-leading quality credentials.

“Newmarket is an exceptionally attractive, well run manufacturing facility and benefits from both industry leading qualifications and outstanding staff. Exceptional quality is a major differentiator for our business,” said Burton.

“Also, we are serving a European marketplace. A lot of companies opt to manufacture in China but that is an awful long way away from our European markets. Even the United States is a long way away; Newmarket is at the heart of what we are doing in Europe.”

Currently, Dialight emp-loys 140 people on-site in Newmarket, a dozen or so working directly on the traffic lights assembly line. As other models are developed within the new product range, headcount will grow.

Dialight is set up to produce 500 sets of traffic lights a day. The company already makes millions of systems for the US market from its Mexico factory.

European countries all have different legal and environmental requirements determining light brightness levels and interface with controllers.

Dialight therefore spends a lot of time researching and learning the individual markets to deliver a bespoke product.

Cutting edge innovation is leading to a continuing evolution of the product. Dialight’s traffic lights typically include three LEDs but originally contained 300 and are saving buyers millions in energy costs and maintenance.

A typical Dialight traffic light will last five years.

Burton said: “In the traffic lights market, there has been very little adoption to date in the European market and the UK has hardly any LED lights, so the potential is vast. It is up to us to drive that adoption.

“But there are also major opportunities for us in the rail signal market where LED adoption is also in its infancy and in hazard/obstruction lights – the red lights on tall buildings that alert pilots not to fly into them!

“When a building is 500 feet tall you can hardly shin up to change a bulb every time one goes – our LEDs only need changing once every five years. There is also a large demand for hazard lights for the oil & petrochemical market. Our lights are rugged – there is no filament to fail – and low voltage so are ideal for these environments. Our LEDs are also rigorously tested.

“The energy efficiences are enormous: Traditional US traffic lights used 150 watt bulbs; our LEDs are 6-10 watts in the US – maximum 50 watts in Europe – so buyers get their money back very quickly.”

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