When is a streetlight not a streetlight? 

When is a street light not a street light image

Perhaps not such a daft question. Nowadays it’s probably better to consider these as a potential national resource, with an evolving requirement. 

I am not talking about the familiar uses, as a convenient fixing point for public road signs, or even a canine public convenience. I would prefer to focusing on more technical matters.

Streetlights nowadays are considerably smarter and hugely more efficient than their old sodium bulb predecessors. The light source is now generally LED based giving much cleaner and brighter illumination with all the safety benefits this brings, with significant improvement in reliability and reduced servicing costs. Also, they now have sophisticated control mechanisms allowing variable/programmable start and stop times with dimming facility also results in much reduced operational costs and ecological benefits. These control units are called Nema’s or light nodes, usually visible as a small protrusion on the top of the light.

Moving on from the improvements in the street light unit itself, this kerb-based pole is seeing new opportunities for multifunctionality.

How many of us have had the conversation about the UK’s ongoing conversion to fully electric vehicles? 

Considering the current price increases in conventional fuels, I expect it’s becoming more widely discussed.  This inevitably includes a debate, about how people who don’t have a driveway, are expected to charge their vehicle in the street. How do we avoid millions of extensions leads crossing pavements with the ensuing trip hazard claims? What’s needed a national grid of street-based charging points. To consider this as a “new” dedicated infra-structure would make the HS2 investment seem reasonably priced. 

Ultimately, what’s needed is an existing curbside matrix of places to plug your EV into. Now you see where this is going. Companies are already working on methods of adapting the current lamp-post access doors to take an EV connection point, with trials taking place in various council districts.

The next offering to highlight in support of an increasing need to enhance public and vehicular safety, or for the more skeptical among us another step forward to an Orwellian state. This being the integration of CCTV systems within the actual light unit or as an independent unit using the elevation and power source to its benefit.

The one thing, virtually all of the above evolution has in common, is the need to keep the weather from the increasing complex electronics and electrical supply within. As you can imaging the connecting interfaces of these parts, can be complex 3D profiles. Also with component designers need to make things as aesthetically pleasing as possible; even more capability is needed from the material and process used to ensure the seal and longevity of this assemblies. 

Robafoam’s robotic foam sealing process is already widely used on the light unit with diffusers, covers/body’s and nema components within the traditional lighting requirements. However, being at the forefront of high IP rated seals, the Contract Gasketing service Robafoam offers in the UK, as well selling the foam systems we use. We offer a real resource into the increasing evolution of the not-so humble street-light. For more information visit www.robafoam.com