converting lumens into useful light

“Lumens are nothing without control”

Ritelite’s R&D team have been designing portable and mobile lighting products for over 34 years. We know that our customers need products that light up their work tasks fantastically, effectively and with as much power efficiency as possible.

We have been lighting designers through every lighting technological advancement from incandescent to halogen, to fluorescent, and now to LED lighting.

Incandescent To LED

At Ritelite our philosophy is: “To provide the highest level of “useable light” to the widest range of work task situations.”

We understand our customers lighting requirements for a wide range of applications: from sports to industry to construction – where efficient, reliable, ultra-bright light is required.

We especially understand LED lighting technology and have developed our Beam Control concept to enable us to offer our customers the most efficient, light controlled range of portable and mobile LED lighting available.

Explaining the “Lumens myth” – what are lumens and why are they not so important?

More lumens = more light = better product?

WRONG! And this is why 

Any lighting manufacturer will normally state how many lumens their product produces; essentially being how bright it is. Indeed lighting legislation worldwide requires manufacturers to give customers this information.

The dictionary definition of Lumens (symbol: lm) is the International System of Units (SI) derived unit of luminous flux, equal to the amount of light emitted per second in a unit solid angle of one steradian from a uniform source of one candela – in simple terms the light power emitted by a light source.

A product can produce on paper a lot of lumens, for example a laser which is very bright but has a very tightly controlled beam. This is great if you want to illuminate 1 square mm at 5km distance, but if you want to use it for other applications then it would be totally useless.

It is therefore important not only to look at how many lumens (how much light) a product produces but also how much light arrives on a working area – this is measured in lux.

The dictionary definition of Lux (symbol: lx) is the International System of Units (SI) derived unit of illuminance, measuring luminous flux per unit area. It is the amount of illumination provided when one lumen is evenly distributed over an area of one square metre – in simple terms how much light is hitting a surface over a square metre area.

Ritelite calls this “Useful light”

  • A laboratory is required to measure lumens accurately which makes it hard to check manufacturers information and, in our experience, data given can often be incorrect. Lux, on the other hand, can be calculated much easier using a simple lux meter in any application, making it a lot easier for users to compare one product against another.
Surface illumination

As lumens describe only the light emitted from the light source in any direction and also do not consider any losses in light due to lenses, diffusers etc, lumens are not relevant in terms of describing the level of illumination arriving on a work area of a given size and distance from the light source.

It is far more important to understand how much useful light (lux) a product gives a user; indeed international standards for safe illumination of working areas are only specified in lux.

Understanding how much lux a product illuminates, and thus how much light actually hits the ground to light up the area where the user is working or playing sport, or carrying out any other work activity, is therefore crucial for customers to identify the best product to meet their lighting requirements.

Beam Control

How does Ritelite Beam Control work?

Lumens, whilst a rough guide depending on manufacturer, are therefore not as useful as lux in understanding the right product for your application.

Controlling the light to ensure that you will have enough light for the length of time that you need it for to get maximum use and benefit from a product for your application is ultimately more important.

Ritelite’s Beam Control concept is based on controlling the light a product produces. This is unique to each product range, but the key elements are:

Benerfits of Beam Control

Example comparison between:

Beam Control - Comparison

Beam Control ensures all the light is directed towards the required surface offering uniform light for training or working.

Quad Pod MK5 pitch beam graphic
Example of beam control for sports
Quad Pod - No Light Polution

Equivalent Lumens

For some products where it is likely that one of Ritelite’s products will be compared against competitors in terms of lumens we have given a value of “Equivalent lumens”.

This is a comparison of what the equivalent lumens of the product would be if the beam was not controlled to direct all the lumens to the floor / work surface. Whilst the actual lumens might be less than a competitors claim, all the light from the Ritelite product is focused on the required surface with none being wasted into the sky or creating light pollution to the surrounding area.

Ritelite Beam Control Helps Increase Energy Savings For All Applications

The above text explains the benefits of using a Ritelite beam controlled product to ensure all the light is directed where it is needed, preventing light pollution to the surrounding area and reducing glare to anyone in the vicinity of the light. An added benefit of Ritelite’s beam control concept is that for many applications if you are directing all the light at the work surface you don’t need as high a power product to achieve the required lux figure for the application.

How many Lux are required?

General Site Use

Different tasks will require different levels of light. The HSE Lighting at work (hse.gov.uk) guidance recommends the following levels. Note as per the above text, lux is the measurement of useful light and the most useful measurement to look at when identifying light requirements for an application

From HSE guidelines  View PDF Here

Activity Typical locations/types of work Average illuminance (lux) 1x Minimum measured illuminance (lux) 1x
Movement of people, machines and vehicles(a) Lorry park, corridors, circulation routes 20 5
Movement of people, machines and vehicles in hazardous areas; rough work not requiring any perception of detail Construction site clearance, excavation and soil work, loading bays, bottling and canning plant 50 20
Work requiring limited perception of detail(b) Kitchens, factories assembling large components, potteries 100 50
Work requiring perception of detail(c) Offices, sheet metal work, bookbinding 200 100
Work requiring perception of fine detail(d) Drawing offices, factories assembling electronic components, textile production 500 200

(a) Only safety has been considered, because no perception of detail is needed and visual fatigue is unlikely. However, where it is necessary to see detail to recognise a hazard or where error in performing the task could put someone else at risk, for safety purposes as well as to avoid visual fatigue, the figure needs to be increased to that for work requiring the perception of detail. The CIBSE Code for lighting 4 gives more information and recommendations based on scientific knowledge, practical experience, technical feasibility and economic reality.
(b) The purpose is to avoid visual fatigue; the illuminances will be adequate for safety purposes
(c) The purpose is to avoid visual fatigue; the illuminances will be adequate for safety purposes
(d) The purpose is to avoid visual fatigue; the illuminances will be adequate for safety purposes

The CIBSE Code for Lighting goes even further:

Activity Minimum maintained mean illuminance (1x) illuminance uniformity (minimum/average) Typical applications
Safe pedestrian movement in low risk areas 5 0.25 Industrial storage areas with only occasional traffic
Safe movement of slow vehicles 10 0.4 Open storage areas served by forklift trucks
Safe movement in medium risk areas 20 0.4 Vehicle storage areas, caontainer terminales with frequent traffic
Normal traffic 20 0.4 Road lighting in container terminals, marshalling yards
Very rough work 20 0.25 Excavation and site clearance
Rough work 50 0.25 Handling timber
Safe movement in high risk areas 50 0.4 Critical area within chemical plants, oil refineries etc
Normal work 100 0.5 Brick laying, carpentry
Fine work 200 0.5 Painting, electrical work

Table 24.1 Illuminance recommendations for exterior workplaces. Source: The SLL Lighting Handbook, 2018

Sports Lighting

Different sports have difference lux guidance depending on levels of play. This will vary by country but the below figures can be used as a general guide.

Football Association Guidance for Lighting

The following table shows the lux level guidance given by the Football Association for different levels of play.

Ground Grade / Step League Level Eave Emin Emin / Emax Requires Testing
Grade A (Step 1) Conference 250 lux 100 lux 0.25 Every two years
Grade B (Step 2) Conference N & S 180 lux 100 lux 0.25 Every two years 8 x Quad Pod units = 200 lux Eave
Grade C (Step 3) 120 lux / 180 lux new* n/a 0.25  Every two years
Grade D (Step 4) 120 lux / 180 lux new*  n/a 0.25 Every two years
Grade E (Step 5-4) 120 lux / 180 lux new*  n/a 0.25 Within 6 months of application
Grade F (Step 5) 120 lux / 180 lux new*  n/a 0.25 Every two years
Grade G (Step 6) 120 lux / 180 lux new*  n/a 0.25 Every two years

RFU Regulations & Guidance for Lighting

The RFU Regulations for floodlight matches and recommendations for floodlit training activity are shown in the table below. RFU minimum requirements conform to CIBSE (Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers) Lighting Guide 4.

Level 2-5 Level 6-12
Matches Training Matches  Training
Maintained Illuminance 200 lux 100 lux 100 lux  100 lux
Uniformity 0.6 0.5 0.5 0.5
Glare <50 <55 <55 <55
Colour >60 >20 >20 >20

The Ritelite Product DNA

When you purchase a Ritelite Beam Control LED Light you are buying into Ritelite’s specific design philosophy behind every product.

We manufacture products that are:-

An Area Lighting Solution for Every Application

Ritelite’s product range includes solutions for every Area Floodlighting application.
Approximate 20 lux average comparison figures of our key products are below to give some guidance for customers as to which product will be best for their application.

Beam Control - Graph


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