Unipart Dorman introduced the first electric road lamp in the mid-1960s as a replacement for that staple of every student bedroom at the time, the paraffin roadworks lamp. By the time the ConeLITE was born in 1994 lighting had moved on from the tungsten bulb lit early lamps to LED light sources, which not only provide much greater battery life but aren’t susceptible to the failed filaments associated with vibration from passing traffic and the less than delicate handling which the lamps may be subjected to when trying to get a lane closure removed at 4am in the freezing rain.
As with all Unipart Dorman products the ConeLITE has not been one to rest on its laurels and from the original design, which introduced features considered innovative at the time such as photocell operation and automatic switching when the lamp is dropped onto the cone, the lamp has been developed to increase its efficiency as the quality of LEDs available has grown. The most notable development is the synchronised version which was developed to integrate seamlessly with the Unipart Dorman SynchroGUIDE, a lamp that has been proven to reduce roadworker death and injuries caused by taper incursions.
The ease and simplicity of deployment coupled with its robust design, meant that when road worker alert system innovator Intellicone decided on a product to integrate the impact detection sensor into their award winning worksite incursion warning system, the Unipart Dorman ConeLITE was the ideal solution.
As you sit in the traffic jam you may also have noticed different coloured ConeLITE lenses inside the workzone. Unipart Dorman has a long track record of meeting customer need and this close relationship with the highway maintenance industry identified that a large number of accidents occurred at worksite entries, mainly caused by delivery drivers not seeing the gap in the cone line until the very last minute and swerving to make the turning. If the driver misses the works access the only option available is to continue to the next junction and turn around then repeat at the junction preceding the access point. In some cases this added an extra 20 miles to a journey in already heavy traffic and caused some disruption and extra cost to the roadworks operators.
Green cones were initially used by contractors to augment the 7301/7302 red Works Access/Exit signage but were found to be ineffective at night, so Unipart Dorman produced a magenta coloured ConeLITE which is deployed on the green cone. This development was achieved and the customer took delivery of the new product in a very short timescale and the Magenta lamps have virtually eliminated drive-bys and last minute turn-ins.
One of the most dangerous activities at roadworks is maintaining the cone line – changing batteries and wiping lenses clean etc. As part of our commitment to increasing road worker safety by reducing the number of carriageway crossings, Unipart Dorman is working on future developments to include integrating new super-efficient LEDs into the lamp and tuned lens optics to maximise the light output, which in turn extends battery life. Studies are being undertaken to improve the lamps retro-reflective performance as a cost neutral method of greatly increasing the lamp’s effectiveness. We have set ourselves ambitious targets to maximise the efficiency of the lamp whilst maintaining its position as the market leading and most cost effective solution available.
So next time you sit in stationery traffic at road works, why not pause for a moment and take a little time to wish the Unipart Dorman ConeLITE next to you and its 1.7 million brothers and sisters produced since 1994 a happy 21st birthday.