Total recall

Shanghai, 7th February 2010

It is a wintery and rainy Sunday in Shanghai today. The streets seem unusually quiet, possibly because people have started to return to their home towns to celebrate Chinese New Year with their families later in the week. I will return to Australia in a few days too.

With a pun to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie I am referring today’s blog heading to Toyota’s dramatic recall of millions of their cars. Which led me to think whether such thing would be imaginable in lighting? Has any lighting manufacturer ever recalled light fixtures that are deemed unsafe? Not to my knowledge, but please let me know if that has ever happened!

As lighting designers (and manufacturers) we have generally a whole punch list of reasons to explain to a client why a light fitting is failing and most of the time the finger points to installation issues whether electrical, physical or other. While there are obviously sub standard light fittings around (the so called “Chinese” copies, used here generically), unsafe or failing light fittings also happen because of wrong specifications in the first place. And this comes right back to us as lighting designers! I am not ashamed to say I have been guilty of that. Of course I have excuses, wrong briefing, changed conditions, etc, etc, but still it is my responsibility!

In one project we had specified outdoor in-ground LED marker lights in an area believed to be pedestrian or light vehicle traffic only. But soon after installation complaints started coming in about glass covers cracking and breaking. Thinking first of product failures the supplier replaced the broken light fixtures, but it kept happening. It was later found that heavy traffic, including busses, were using the area. Further investigation also found improper installation, but key really was wrong specification. The supplier/ manufacturer subsequently graciously agreed to replace the lights (a “total recall”) with a higher specification…

07. February 2010 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting design | Leave a comment

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