FAQ - Lighting Technology

Here you can find detailed information about the technology of our lighting systems

Lighting basics

Sun simulations and IR radiation systems are mainly used at test stands in the automotive, military, photovoltaic and sun collector area. But sun simulations is also used in other application areas, e.g. to test the influences of sun light independently from outside weathering under laboratory conditions.

Testing areas:

- building material 

- acade cladding

- functional clothing

- plants

- outside furniture

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Measurement Technique

Pyranometer for irradiation power measurement  and temperature sensors (also in black-body design) will be integrated in the control system.

With it reachable functionality varies from simply data protocol to the realization of regulation functions (irradiation power and/or temperature), e.g. zone regulation with closed loop regulation.

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Lighting systems for high-speed filming and crash lighting

BFE-Engineering produces lighting systems for test applications with high speed filming.

The lighting systems of BFE are characterized by high light output, light power stability and highest flexibility. The application spectrum varies from lighting of airbag test stands up to the realization of lighting systems for real and sled crash systems.

The luminaries of BFE are equipped with HMI lamps, which guarantee a high light efficiency, day light spectrum and a constant light quality.
The luminaries are available with different lamp power classes (1200W, 2500W, 4000W), additionally the 1200 W and 4000 W lamps can be supplied with BOOST-Power for power doubling (200 %) for approx. 20 seconds.

For a flexible and optimized illumination, the lighting systems can be equipped with varied mechanical movement possibilities. An individual designing and planning of light and movement functionality of your application is mandatory.

  • Luminaries in robust and service-friendly design in 1200W, 2500W and 4000W lamp power with HMI lamps
  • The lamps are equipped with special reflector systems for an optimized light efficiency and homogenously illumination of the lighting scenario
  • Colour temperature: 6000 K
  • Electronic power supplies with a power stability of ± 1% and light instability < 1%
  • Electronic power supplies for 1200W and 4000 W with BOOST-Power to double the power to 2500W, respectively 8000 W for approx. 20 seconds
  • Individual mechanical design of lamp frames or tripods
  • Individual equipment of the lighting system with movements, e.g. height movement for parking position, angle position and x-y movements for a flexible illumination of the crash scenarios
  • Special design of luminaries for illumination at low temperature range (down to – 40°C)
  • Possibility of luminaries equipped with motorised shutter, to avoid radiation heat on the test object before crash
  • System control via manual control unit, touch screen or PC
  • Integration of the lighting system in facility control system
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Solar simulation systems with global radiation

Sun simulation systems of BF-Engineering will be used for very different applications, such as aging tests, material tests, air conditioning tests or for emission test stands. The radiation source guarantees the replication of the natural sunlight according to CIE 20 and CIE 85.

BF-Engineering provides sun simulation systems in standard versions, as well as in individual customer design.


  • In compliance with standards and regulations (e.g. DIN 75220, IEC 68, US-SFTP, MIL-STD 810)
  • Adaption of the light spectrum to the desired application realized by different radiation sources and filter systems
  • Realizing of irradiation volumes (Uniformity in x – y – z enlargement)
  • Design for specific ambient conditions (e.g. temperature, climate, wind, acoustics)
  • Adaption of the luminaries to different mounting conditions
  • Special lamp design (e.g. lamps with cooling system)
  • Conversion of lighting functionalities: tunnel simulation, cloud simulation, day cycle simulation
  • Lamp frame equipment with special mechanical functionalities: height movement, X-Y movements, angle irradiation (front, rear, lateral)
  • Sun simulation control via manual control unit, touch screen or PC
  • Operating software with standard and special functions (reproduction of irradiation scenarios, irradiation cycles, contour adaption, zone regulation)
  • Integration of measurement technique (pyranometer, black-body temperature sensors) with closed loop regulation of irradiation power and temperature
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Solar simulation systems for photovoltaic / solar panels

Steady State sun simulators of BF-Engineering are designed for light soaking and hotspot tests in the photovoltaic field according to EC 61215 und IEC 61646. The sun simulators are available as autarkic test systems, in mobile design or integrated in climate chambers.

  • For tests according to IEC 61215 / IEC 61646 und EN 12975
  • Simulator class from C/C/C to B/B/A (according to IEC 60904-9)
  • Irradiation power of 600 – 1200 W/m², irradiation power of 200 W/m² with additional dimming grids (motorized or manual)
  • Individual design of the sun simulator to the required size of the irradiation area
  • Mobile frames or frames for fixed installation are available for lamp mounting
  • Fixtures for solar modules can be integrated in the lamp frames
  • Sun simulator control via manual control unit, touch screen or PC
  • Optionally equipped with shutter system, to allow access during lamp operation
  • UV-lamps for UV preconditioning with an irradiation power of 250 W/m² in the UV range
  • Accessories: automatic measurement system (x-y movement) for irradiation area measurement, e.g. with reference cell
  • Special equipment for solar collector tests: lamp frames with angle adjustment and height movement, lamp bank with integrated „cold sky“, special radiation sources according to the collimation criteria
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Mechanics / Movement systems

Lamps, lamp groups and lamp banks for sun simulation systems, irradiation systems and lighting systems are mechanically fixed in lamp frames. The lamp frames are designed for the respective temperature, climatic and air flow conditions.

The lamp frames can be equipped with varied mechanical systems or movement possibilities. The design and performance are depending on the desired test scenarios and the flexibility. The movements can be equipped with absolute decoders for repositioning, also for extreme climatic and temperature conditions in the test stands.

Sun simulation systems and irradiation systems:

Height movement of the lamp banks
Horizontal moving of the lamp banks
Tilting of complete or partly lamp banks
Extensive moving system for day cycle simulation

Shutter system for tunnel simulation
Mesh-shutter system for cloud simulation or spectral neutral dimming

Lighting systems for high-speed-filming:

Moving systems for lamp banks in crash facilities (real crash and sled crash), for optimized and flexible illumination with repositioning possibility

Mechanical adjustments for single lamps and lamp groups (manual and motorized)

Shutter systems for single lamps and lamp groups to avoid thermal stress on the test object during starting time (e.g. Dummies, Airbags)

Lamps and shutter systems for low temperatures (down to – 40°C)

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Control system

Irradiation systems and lighting systems of BF-Engineering are equipped with PLC control systems. The operating will be done at a touch panel or PC.

Operating software is especially developed for sun simulations and lighting systems and provides user-oriented operating and aligned design for regulation cycles.

Special software, e.g. contour irradiation, or reproduction of outdoor exposure results can be designed according to the individual customer requirements.

Small systems or basic applications can be delivered with manual control system via control unit.

Integration of the lighting system in facility control system.

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Electronic power supply units (EPS)

Electronic power supplies are used for the supplying of the luminaries with metal-halide lamps. The EPS is provided with a permanent regulation function of the output power.

The chosen irradiation power will be stabilized by a permanent regulation of lamp voltage and lamp current. Thus, power stability better than ± 1 % will be reached.

Due to the constant power and the square wave operation of the lamp an increase of the lifetime can be reached compared with sinus operation (conventional power supply).

EPS with BOOST-Power

Für Anwendungen im High-Speed-Bereich werden Vorschaltgeräte mit BOOST-Power eingesetzt. Die Vorschaltgeräte ermöglichen eine Verdoppelung der Lampenleistung für ca. 15 Sekunden.

EPS with BOOST-Power will be used for applications in the high-speed-filming field. The electronic power supplies allow a doubling of the lamp power for approx. 20 seconds. Due to the short filming duration while a crash or airbag test, BOOST-Power is an economical alternative to reach high illumination levels. Lifetime of lamps will be not influenced negatively by boosting.

EPS with BOOST-Power are available with following power class:

Day light lamp with 575 W        →      Boost to 1200 W (200%)
Day light lamp with 1200 W      →      Boost to 2500 W (200%)
Day light lamp with 4000 W      →      Boost to 8000 W (200%)

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For the operating of metal-halide lamps, igniters with high voltage are necessary. The igniters are integrated in the luminaries, because the distance between igniter and lamp must be as short as possible. The luminaries can be equipped by igniters with cold or hot ignition.

The needed ignition voltage for hot ignition is much higher as for cold ignition. Luminaries with hot ignition will be manufactured in a special preparation, to eliminate problems caused by high ignition voltage.

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Cold ignition

After switching off the lamp a waiting time of 5 – 10 min is necessary, before the lamp can be started again.

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Hot ignition

After switching off the lamp an immediately restart is possible.

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The basic components of the luminarie in a sun simulations or high-speed lighting systems are illuminant (bulb), reflector system and filter glass.

Metal halide lamps will be used as bulbs in the luminaries. The lamps are available in varied power classes and as single or double ended version. Regarding the spectral distribution, illuminants with different quality are available. The lifetime of illuminants with global radiation is approx. 1000 h or approx. 1600 starts. A significant higher lifetime will be provided by illuminants with global-similar radiation.

The reflector systems of the luminaries are calculated for best possible efficiency and concerning directional characteristics for optimized uniformity of irradiation power.
Different reflector systems are available which take into consideration individual requirements, especially different irradiation distances.
For lighting systems in the field of high-speed-filming special reflectors are available, which guarantees a high illumination level and an optimized homogenously illumination of test scenarios.

The luminaries can be equipped with varied filter glasses, which guarantee the required spectral distribution in combination with the used illuminants.
The filter glasses can be changed fasten and easily, which allows the using of the illuminants for different test requirements.

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Uniformity is defined by the maximum +/- deviations from the set value of the irradiation power in the irradiation area. For sun simulations with irradiation volume, the uniformity is defined by the maximum +/- deviations from the set value of the irradiation power in the total test volume.

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Radiation distance

Irradiation distance is the defined distance between the lamps and irradiation area.
For sun simulations with irradiation volume, the definition of the irradiation distance is the distance between lamps and reference area; the reference area is the centre area in the test volume.

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Radiation area

Irradiation area of a sun simulation system specifies the area, in which the parameter irradiation power and uniformity will be reached within the defined tolerance limits.
The size of the irradiation area complies with the maximum dimensions of the test object, which has to be irradiated.  A typical size for a complete vehicle irradiation is e.g. 6 m x 2 m.

Irradiation areas can be defined as body surfaces; at vehicles e.g. roof, bonnet, trunk and lateral surface. The specifications for irradiation power and uniformity will be reached here in all varied surfaces with the same quality.

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AM (Air Mass)

AM means „Air Mass“ and describes the reduction of the natural sun light at different irradiation angles, caused by the path through earth atmosphere. AM 1 means no reduction and describes the direct, perpendicular path (90°) through the atmosphere. At AM 1.5 the irradiation angle is 48°; at this an irradiation power of 1000 W/m² will be reached.

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Global radiation (spectral distribution)

Regulations for sun simulation systems with global radiation concerning spectral distribution, based on the CIE publication No. 85, table 4. Spectral ranges (e.g. UVB, UVA, VIS, IR) are specified in the regulations with its part on the total radiation.

Sun simulations are provided with two quality standards concerning the spectral distribution:

GSH: with global radiation        (equivalent class A/B according to IEC 60904-9)
GSS: with global-similar radiation    (equivalent class C according to IEC 60904-9)

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Radiation power

Irradiation power is the definition for the total power of the incoming electromagnetic energy, which is impacting on a surface, in relation to the size of the surface. It will be measured in W/m².
Irradiation power values for sun simulation are specified in the corresponding regulations and standards (e.g. DIN 75220, MILSTD 810). Typical values for the irradiation power are between 850 to 1200 W/m². An important standard value is 1000 W /m², which is equivalent to the global radiation power at AM 1.5.

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BF Engineering GmbH
Wallensteinstraße 5
D-82538 Geretsried

Please call us or send an email: 

Phone: +49-8171-3447-60
Fax: +49-8171-3447-69


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