An interview with Dr. Thomas Reiners, Part 2: The advantages of NIGHT BREAKER PLUS

Checking your own products, watching the market and trying to achieve better results with a new product. Something that sounds so simple needs a whole bunch of know-how and passion in its implementation, together with a pronounced sense of what’s possible – as visualized by Dr. Thomas Reiners in the second part of the interview (link to Part 1) concerning the development of the NIGHT BREAKER PLUS.

The Director for Application Engineering in the Business Unit Specialty Lighting at OSRAM describes the properties of the NIGHT BREAKER PLUS that make it one of the most powerful halogen lamps for automobile headlights: in comparison with its predecessor, up to 50 percent longer lifespan, in comparison with standard halogen lamps, 90 percent more light on the road, a light cone up to 35 meters longer and up to 10 percent whiter light.


How much light is sensible?

More light is always sensible, particularly with the background of demographic change. Since most people’s sight deteriorates as they grow older, particularly at night, but who are otherwise fit to drive, the fulfillment of the aspect „good and adequate sight“ increases in importance.

However, with halogen lamps we are bound by physical limits, so that we need to use sophisticated tricks to generate even more quality for the end-user.

When do headlights glare?

Light actually glares only if it is scattered into regions above the light-dark boundary of the headlight. It can then enter the eye of the other motorists which is why there are in Europe, for example, strict regulations for the avoidance of these so-called glare values.

That works quite well, in fact – except on wet roads, because light that was initially intended for lighting the road is now being reflected upwards. Some modern headlights, that are mostly based on Xenon discharge lamps, therefore have a bad weather function that restricts the light reflected in the direction of the oncoming traffic within the headlight.

What tricks can we generate whiter light, for example?

We can generate whiter light in various different ways. The higher the efficiency of the lamp, the whiter will be the light (same link as above). For this reason we provide additional partial filtration of the light on the NIGHT BREAKER PLUS with a coating on the bulb to reinforce the blue and white components. The trick is to design the coating in such a way that the performance of the lamp is not reduced at the points that are important for the range. The quality and accuracy of the coating is therefore vital.

And how do we achieve 90 percent more light, technically?

We are not talking about 90 percent more light in all areas, but rather just where it matters to achieve a greater range. The lamps are, of course, legally restricted so that we cannot generate as much light as we want. The aspiration is therefore to direct the light to the most important areas in the distance ….

… and we are at 35 meters, where the light cone of the NIGHT BREAKER PLUS extends further than standard halogen lamps?

Precisely. The lamps need to be optimized for the areas beyond 50 meters. This means that: Providing as much light as possible in these areas. To achieve this, the tungsten filaments in the lamps are optimized to give maximum performance – the technical term for this is the radiation density or luminance of the light source.

In parallel to this, as already indicated, we remove a small amount of light in the corners that are illustrated in foreground (in front of the fender) using the blue coating. The result: The driver is subject to less glare from the otherwise too bright road section directly in front of the vehicle.

At the same time, the impression of the light is whiter. This provides more light for the greater distances and the driver’s eyes can more easily adjust to this area.

In conclusion we need to mention „durability“. Will there be more development in this area?

Only slightly, unfortunately. Physics presents restrictions in this regard. We need to prioritize – and more performance does mean a slightly reduced lifespan, if everything else remains the same. The remedy for this is the use of heavier inert gases, for example, such as Xenon instead of Argon. Higher pressures in the lamps are also an alternative which obviously increases the requirements on the other materials, so that not only the filament but the entire product needs to be perfectly matched.

In the end, we are in an area where the most various of influences and requirements take effect. This means that the NIGHT BREAKER PLUS is consistently optimized to the range PLUS maximum visibility AND the safety of the user.

Nobody wants to make compromises where safety is concerned, do they?

Dr. Reiners, many thanks for talking to us.

Part 1 of the interview: Background to the development of the NIGHT BREAKER PLUS.

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