The automotive lighting market in India is pegged at over Rs 1,700 crore, and is estimated to touch Rs 3,100 crore by 2015-16. In this highly competitive and growing market, the Aurangabad-based Varroc is working to grab a fair share with new offerings. The company, which is a key supplier to all leading two- and three-wheeler OEMs in India and abroad, is currently developing a new set of automotive lighting solutions. One of them is the Variable Intensity Brake Lighting System which is aimed at increasing safety. The system is equipped to convey a variation in brake light intensity. The idea behind such a system is to catch the attention of the driver who is following the vehicle, with a change in intensity due to a change in braking deceleration. Control circuitry is adapted to allow the brake lights to emit light with different intensity which is a function of the amount of deceleration. A microcontroller-based control circuit is used to drive the LEDs.
The variable intensity brake lighting system is currently in the concept development phase. It may go into production in the next couple of years after proto-testing and validation. “Since there is a cost impact in such type of products, we may have to discuss with the OEM for adopting the same in its new models,” says the spokesperson. Varroc says its team is consistently exploring innovative, energy efficient and brighter LED headlamps and blinkers with in-house optical, electronics and mechanical expertise.
Is LED the future?
During the 1990s, high-intensity discharge (HID) Xenon headlamps significantly increased the power of forward lighting. By the turn of the century, light-emitting diode (LED) technology began to make rapid inroads into the automotive lighting segment. Along with concerns to improve road safety, the market for new automotive lighting technologies is also being stimulated by the quest for improved energy efficiency solutions. As of now, there is no progress of alternate to LEDs but there is a significant progress in adoption of bio-LEDs for display application.
New high-lumen output LED sources now make front and rear lighting more flexible and feasible. LEDs are solid-state light sources designed to efficiently produce light. “By incorporating this unique light source into a headlamp, tail-lamp, or direction lights, Varroc is able to deliver solutions that provide opportunities for styling differentiation and modularity while optimising mechanical and electrical efficiency along with energy saving,” says the spokesperson.
There are multiple benefits of LEDs:
Being a small light source, they offer packaging flexibility, both for differentiation and opportunity for depth reduction (up to 60-65 percent), compared to incandescent bulb solutions.
Flexibility in carrying out cost-effective styling differentiation due to variations in packaging and lenses available.
Reduce power consumption compared to traditional sources.
Being mercury-free, offer customers an environmentally responsible solution.
Enable modular solutions across vehicle platforms via a traditional light source.
Energy efficient: A halogen bulb-equipped (HS1) headlamp of 35/35W can be substituted by a 10/10W LED-equipped headlamp giving better quality of daylight brightness and luminence.
LED lights were chosen because of the quality and features of the light that it delivers. Aside from an enormous energy saving scheme, LED lights are designed to last for a very long service life. The constant wear and tear experienced by a consumer in incandescent lamps is totally eliminated in this technology. It is designed to last for around 10,000 to 100,000 hours, depending on the frequency and application. Moreover, LED lights do not emit a substantial amount of thermal energy that will likely to end up as thermal pollution (except for LED glow lights).
LED headlight for motorcycles
Varroc, which launched the first fully functional two-wheeler LED tail-lamp in the Bajaj Pulsar five years ago, is now working on an LED headlight for bikes. It had showcased a prototype at the 2010 Auto Expo.
“It could not be commercialised since the product is expensive and discussions are going on with an OEM. Currently, the high-intensity LED used in this headlight is expensive due to new technology which incurs innovation cost, which we expect to come down soon. The OEM has shown interest in this and further talks are going on since they are planning to introduce the same in one of their next-generation models during 2014-15,” reveals the company spokesperson.
Varroc is bullish on its prospects in the automotive lighting space which has other established players like Lumax, Hella, India Japan Lighting, Neolite, Fiem and Autolite, among others.
“With the huge initial development cost and infrastructure requirements, limited accessibility to new technology and soaring competition creates barriers to enter the automotive lighting sector,” says the company spokesperson. Strong competition notwithstanding, investment in technology by producers to keep pace with OEM demands will ensure competitiveness of lighting solution manufacturers.