‘Let there be light’ could be the clarion call of South African industry as it currently faces the challenges of both scheduled load shedding and unplanned power outages, difficulties that will not be overcome any time soon.
The show, however, must go on as businesses urgently seek alternative sources of power and illumination to remain productive.
The range of TowerLight lighting towers produced in Italy by Generac Towerlights the world’s largest producer of lighting towers and imported by local crushing and screening specialist Pilot Crushtec International, provides powerful lighting solutions for commerce and industry independent from the national grid.
The principle is both simple and effective.
TowerLight systems contain on-board diesel generators that produce sufficient electricity to power a battery of four or more metal halide flood lights mounted on telescopic towers. The telescopic tower mast completely eliminates the safety hazard associated with scissor type masts. Depending on the model, these telescopic masts are either hydraulically elevated or elevated by means of a hand winch. They are easily transportable and have the option to be fitted to a locally manufactured trailer to be towed on public roads, allowing operators to react rapidly to power outages when and where they occur.
“The introduction of the range has proven to be a far sighted marketing decision appearing as a classic case of having the right product at the right time,” explains Pilot Crushtec International CEO Sandro Scherf.
“When we originally introduced the range, our intention was to help our customers grow their businesses by making it possible for them to work around the clock. In industries like mining, where the critical denominator is cost per tonne, the extra hours gained gives users a significant competitive advantage. However with the current irregularity in power supply, these products have become indispensable to the sustainable operation of their businesses.”
Scherf explains that operators in the mining and construction industries had traditionally been opposed to working two or three-shift operations owing to concerns over the physical safety of their employees as well as potential damage to essential and costly equipment. However these barriers have been removed.
“When lighting of this intensity is available, it immediately removes another major concern around the operational health of equipment. Under darkness it is very difficult to spot an operational problem, however with lighting of this quality, working conditions are virtually the same as in daylight hours,” he says.
A number of Pilot Crushtec International’s customers have discovered that TowerLights can be used to render an additional service. Many site offices utilise its generators not only for lighting but also to power computers, air conditioners and refrigerators, a real boon when operating in remote areas.
It is not surprising that interest in the TowerLight concept has been intense and Scherf reports that sales have grown by 30% year on year since their South African launch in 2012.
“The mining sector immediately embraced the concept owing to its direct effect on productivity. Quarry operators, civils and construction contractors have also swelled our customer base and at the same time we are reaching a wider market. Property developers, organisers of outdoor events and hire companies view the product as not only adding an additional dimension to their services but as an insurance policy against unscheduled outages.”
The TowerLight range currently extends to six products:
TF 5.5 – Tripod-mounted, free-standing telescopic tower with a maximum height of 5.5 metres supporting four 500W halogen flood lights. Can be powered by mains supply or genset.
ML 5 – Telescopic lighting tower mounted on a person movable wheeled chassis. Maximum height is 5.5 metres supporting four 400W metal halide floodlights. Powered by a Yanmar diesel engine with 20 litre tank. Stable in winds of up to 80kph.
High Towers street legal for towing purposes
VT Hybrid LED – Trailer-mounted telescopic lighting tower with a maximum height of 9 metres. Supports four 150W high efficiency LED floodlights. Can be operated using rechargeable batteries or by using generator power. Generator allows battery to be charged while lights are in operation. Silent operation, making it ideal for functions, entertainment and presentations.
VT1A – Trailer-mounted 9 metre lighting tower with hydraulic lifting system. Provides support for four 1,500W metal halide flood lights and certified stable in winds of up to 80kph. Integrated genset mounted into braked axle trailer.
VT8 – Trailer mounted 8 metre telescopic lighting tower. Four 1000W metal halide floodlights. Manual winch with auto braking system and certified stable in winds of up to 80kph. Equipped with five adjustable galvanised stabilisers. Long range fuel tank supplied as standard. Well regarded as the lighting system of choice for the mining industry.
VT8000-FH –Top of the range tower capable of hoisting four 2,000W metal halide floodlights to a height of 9 metres. Equipped with fully hydraulic lifting system for legs, mast and lamp adjustments and is certified stable at wind speeds of up to 110kph. A single unit is capable of illuminating an area of 24,500m². Equipped with a rotating beacon light, this product is purpose built to suit the needs of opencast mining operations.