What is Tower Lamp? – Light Tower in Industrial Automation

In this post, we will learn the use of a light tower or tower lamp in industrial automation.

Tower lamps are an integral part of industrial automation. You must have seen electrical panels or HMI console boxes on which this lamp is mounted.

Basically, visual representation is always a great sign for operators to see the state of the machine. Audio hooters will only sound when there is an alarm or warning, but these lamps show different states of the machine.

This helps the operator to see even from far the system condition. In this post, we will see the use of tower lamps or light tower in industrial automation.

What is Tower Lamp?

Tower Lamp is a columnar structure of lights stacked upon each other. Normally, they are comprised of four to five lights of different colors.

The most common ones used are red, amber, yellow, and green. Each individual lamp can be considered as a relay that is turned on or off by PLC or other such controllers. According to the logic written, these lamps are controlled by the program.

Light Tower in Industrial Automation

If you see the colors used, let us understand the purpose of each color. The red color glows when there is an alarm in the system.

The yellow color glows when there is any initial warning in the system. Amber color glows when the system is in stop condition, without any alarms in the system.

The green color glows when the system is running.

Some tower lamps also come with an audio buzzer. This buzzer is also controlled by the PLC program. It is turned on when there is an alarm in the system.

Industrial Tower Lamp PLC program

Refer to the below image for developing a PLC program related to the tower lamp.

Industrial Tower Lamp PLC program

Advantages of Tower Lamp

Some of the advantages of tower lamp are as follows:

  • Due to multiple states, the operator can understand the current state of the machine by viewing the color and taking the action accordingly. Also, if the buzzer is there, then it additionally helps in reminding the operator that there is an alarm in the system. These features help in troubleshooting and maintaining the system in a great way.
  • As they are controlled by PLC or any other controller, the lamp can glow either stable or blinking. This allows flexibility for the operator in maintenance.

Selection Criteria of Tower Lamp

Follow the below key points for the selection of a tower lamp for industrial automation systems.

  • Environment – Check for temperature, exposure to direct sunlight or heat, vibrations, moisture, and exposure to the hazardous environment.
  • Size – Depending on the requirement or the size of the console box / electrical panel, select the best one.
  • Material – Select upon polycarbonate or metal shell housing. Both the materials provide different factors like durability, luminous intensity, connectivity, and ease of installation. So, choose accordingly.
  • Mechanical ratings – Check for performance under various criteria like vibrations, shocks, and bumps.
  • Illumination sources – Choose between LED’s, xenon-type strobes, or incandescent.
  • Environmental protection – Choose between types 1, 2, 3, 3R, 4, 4X, 12, 13 and IP65.
  • Electrical ratings – Choose between DC or AC power supply, power rating of the light, and flashing rate of the light.
  • Control – Choose between PLC, DCS, PC Control systems, or hardwired machine controls.
  • Wiring – Choose between flying leads, jacketed multi-color cables, or integrated wiring.

In this way, we understand the concept of tower lamps in industrial automation.

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