Street Lighting is a technology with evolving demands. It is not only about bringing light to a certain place anymore, it is also about considering the challenges of our customers and anticipate tomorrow's needs.
Think outside the box – that is his mantra. Bernhard combines the rigor of scientific work with a deep interest in innovation. He is a Doctor of Engineering who uses his experience to help customers and provide solutions that anticipate and fit their needs. As he sees it, interdisciplinary teamwork has great value as we all have different backgrounds that, when shared, can elevate our perspective. Bernhard is product manager for Street Lighting since 2001. Today he also leads a group of product managers and development engineers with mechanical, electrical, and chemical backgrounds, that is responsible for resin joints, insulating materials and gel products.
What are your customer’s challenges today?
In most places around the world, one of the key energy consumers is lighting – in public buildings as well as outdoors. The financial resources of city administrations are quite limited, and the reduction of the carbon footprint is a must for everyone, everywhere.
That is the reason why city administrations and operators of public lighting share the same targets:
- Reduce the cost of maintenance
- Reduce the energy cost
- Maintain and improve the safety standards
- Retrofit with lowest replacement cost
How is LED technology changing our world?
LED technology appears to be a good solution for the reduction of the costs of maintenance and energy. Indeed, it provides up to ten times longer operating life than other lighting technologies. Fast innovation cycles of LED technologies are also pushing efficiency towards the physical limits. With easy dimming and control, further savings can be achieved and that is changing our world.
What are the next innovations in Street Lighting that will affect us in the coming years?
More and more street lighting poles are not seen as the fixture for luminaires, but as an outlet for electrical energy which can be used for other purposes such as:
- Charging electric vehicles
- Operating WLAN routers and video cameras
- Hosting sensors for free/occupied parking space
This will cause operational challenges as the cables need to be energized during daylight hours. In addition, legal questions of who owns and who may access or work in and on poles and related equipment add complexity.
Long term, it might be possible to change the street lighting network to low voltage direct current (LVDC), as LEDs and most electronic devices are operating with LVDC. First standardization groups are meeting to discuss pros and cons of this potential major change.
Why did you became an engineer? What influenced you?
I always knew I wanted to become an engineer. I made the decision of which profession to enter in the very early days of my life: by watching my father. He was a skilled tool maker and design engineer, doing all the necessary repairs at home and with the car. He owned all kinds of tools and machines, even those you need to repair a car’s gear case! He took care of all electrical installations, and repairing radios was no secret for him.
This made me curious. I was interested in all kind of technical things and was always busy repairing my bike, building radios and other gadgets. My father definitely influenced me.