Whelen Engineering produces goods for the automotive safety lighting industry with a focus on technology and safety. The company has created a family of product series such as beacons, traffic advisors, and lightbars that satisfy a broad range of needs, including aviation and mass notification.

What difference is there between SAE classes 1, 2 and 3?

These classes refer to the Society of Automotive Engineers intensity categories. The SAE has a standardized system of categorizing warning lights. When buying a Whelen warning light, you should understand what these classes mean and how they affect the functionality of a particular product.

  • Class 3 – This category of amber warning illumination is the dimmest as it is 40% of the minimum light intensity produced by class 2 products. These products are designed for indoor use where there is lack of ambient light. A forklift strobe light is one example.
  • Class 2 – Products generate a minimum light intensity that is about 2.5 times more than that produced by a Class 3 product. They are suitable for roadside work equipment and utility vehicles.
  • Class 1 – The brightest group of products, this class has an intensity that is quadruple the minimum of Class 2. You will find this class of products in emergency automobiles such as ambulance, police, and fire services.

Some areas have set Class 2 as the regulation for amber safety lighting for primary response vehicles, but others demand Class 1; therefore, check the requirement in specific jurisdictions.

Does the color matter when buying safety lighting?

Whether you are buying Whelen Engineering light products for aviation, automotive or mass notification applications, you should learn if the colors make a difference. Does a siren with a red flashing lightbar serve the same purpose as an orange one?

  • Amber/yellow – A slow-moving or stationary vehicle can be fitted with amber warning light when it is being used in public areas. These colors are used for warning purposes in airports as well.
  • Red – This color signals an emergency and, therefore, is fitted on primary response automotive such as those used by police and firefighters. A red beacon is also suitable when indicating hazardous conditions in a particular region.
  • Blue – Used by law enforcement in many regions, other jurisdictions allow this color for EMTs and firefighters.
  • White/clear – This color is usually included in a lightbar as a secondary indicator, and so does not have many restrictions.
What should you prioritize when buying Whelen safety lights?

The light technology used is a crucial factor when deciding which series of product to focus on. LED is one technology that Whelen Engineering uses for its safety products. LED offers more energy efficiency than its halogen or strobe alternatives. Halogens are the more conventional type and generate a warm light that does not blind. Strobes are designed as tubes and used for safety because they are extremely bright. The specific application is another requirement because it will determine the color, bulb and installation mechanism. If you are replacing a part, you have to know the exact specifications to get the right one.

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