Standard for active illumination developed in Europe

Published On: November 16, 2020

In a session at ATA Virtual Expo 2020, “Smart Textiles Standardization, Active Illumination,”

Dr. Jan Beringer, senior scientific expert Hohenstein Group, explained the new standard for active illumination that will soon be implemented in European Union countries. 

Organizations worked together to develop the standards. It is notable, he said that both textile and electronics industries were represented. This is important because, “Textile people don’t know much about electronics, and electronics people don’t know much about textiles,” he said. Working together made it possible to use some standards that already exist for electronic devices, for example. 

The standard, labeled DIN SPEC (PAS), sets requirements for actively illuminated, high-visibility garments, meant to “signal the presence of a person in conditions, such as at night, when retroreflective elements are ineffective.”  

Because active illumination wearable applications are considered personal protective equipment (PPE), definitions are important. The “Active Illumination Device” is a high-vis garment with integrated active illumination, which is electrically powered visible light. These may be a steady light, pulsing, or flashing. “With intended use, 360-degree visibility must be ensured,” he said. 

Many other considerations had to be addressed, including cleaning/laundering, use scenarios, including environmental conditions and changes, the appropriate brightness of the device, and color, which is impacted by the prevailing practices concerning color indicators in each country. 

The standard will be released for comments this year and published in the second quarter of 2021. The plan is to implement this standard in a future revision of ISO 20471. It remains to be seen if this standard, designed to address the needs of Germany and other EU countries, will also be used in the U.S. “It’s up to you guys in the U.S,” he said.