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ANSI-PLATO FL-1 “Flashlight” Standard

Background

In late 2007, leaders in the flashlight industry decided to team together to develop an ANSI approved Industry Standard to measure basic flashlight performance. In years prior, each flashlight manufacturer used different standards, testing methods, and unique descriptive language. As a result, choosing the right product was difficult for distributors and end customers alike. In addition, the growth of LED technology in the flashlight industry bought with it a flood of goods that were cheap, inferior, and had widely misrepresented product performance claims. Industry leaders who were committed to quality and accuracy decided to work together to formulate a scientifically based standard which would help provide clarity and accountability to the industry as a whole. The standard was not intended to cover every potential application and measurement, but rather was to focus on basic performance measures that were applicable and of general interest to consumers across many classes of trade.

In years prior, each flashlight manufacturer used different standards, testing methods, and unique descriptive language. As a result, choosing the right product was difficult for distributors and end customers alike

Made up of flashlight industry leaders, the Flashlight Standards Committee (FSC) was established. NEMA (North American Electrical Manufacturers Association) was hired to facilitate meetings and develop the final paper that would be developed and submitted to ANSI.
Numerous meetings and teleconferences were held by members of the FSC to debate performance standards criteria, as well as to test procedures to support and verify these claims. Graphical icons to demonstrate the performance and results were developed and a vote was taken. On August 17, 2009, NEMA submitted the FSC Standards recommendation to ANSI for their review and approval. On August 18, 2009, the ANSI-NEMA FL1 Standard was approved and became an official document. Subsequently the founding members of the FSC including Dorcy International created the Portable Lights American Trade Organization (PLATO) which now owns and manages the FL-1 Standard. This is why the name has changed to ANSI-PLATO FL-1.

Made up of flashlight industry leaders, the Flashlight Standards Committee (FSC) was established. NEMA (North American Electrical Manufacturers Association) was hired to facilitate meetings and develop the final paper that would be developed and submitted to ANSI.

Numerous meetings and teleconferences were held by members of the FSC to debate performance standards criteria, as well as to test procedures to support and verify these claims. Graphical icons to demonstrate the performance and results were developed and a vote was taken. On August 17, 2009, NEMA submitted the FSC Standards recommendation to ANSI for their review and approval. On August 18, 2009, the ANSI-NEMA FL1 Standard was approved and became an official document. Subsequently the founding members of the FSC including Dorcy International created the Portable Lights American Trade Organization (PLATO) which now owns and manages the FL-1 Standard. This is why the name has changed to ANSI-PLATO FL-1.

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What the ANSI Specification Is –

The ANSI Specification is a series of basic flashlight tests and minimal performance criteria for general everyday flashlight use, as identified by and agreed to by the FSC. The specification is identified by specific icons that can be used for any products that meet the test and performance criteria as identified in the ANSI specification.

What the ANSI Specification Is NOT –
The ANSI Specification is not a legal control measure that limits anyone from selling flashlights. It is also not exclusive only to FSC members, nor is it a legal industry "watchdog" to control non-conforming products or claims. It does not us issue any type of official "certification."

What This Means for the Flashlight Consumer
The ANSI standard is designed to help consumers compare and contrast flashlight performance claims made by various manufacturers. The standard also helps to eliminate confusing and misleading marketing terms which were common before the standard’s implementation.

For example, consumers can now compare lumens, as opposed to comparing terms such as watt, candlepower, and LED flux. The bottom line is that a well-informed consumer is more likely to find the right product to meet his or her needs.

FL1 Testing Criteria
The FL1 Specification calls for test and measurement criteria for the following: beam distance, light output, impact resistance, run time, water resistance, waterproof capability, submersible capability, and peak beam intensity. Beam Distance is measured in meters and defined as the distance from the light where illuminance is equal to a full moon on a clear night. Light Output is measured in lumens and is a measurement of energy. Impact Resistance is measured in meters and is tested by dropping the light onto a concrete surface with all accessories and batteries installed, from a specified height. In order to pass the test the light must be 100% functional after the drops and be free of any cracks or breaks. Run Time, measured in hours, measures the amount of time until the flashlight’s output drops below 10%. Tests are conducted with the same batteries as come with the unit, or with the batteries suggested by the manufacturer to be used with the product. Water Resistance is represented by the IP rating. IPX4 weather resistance means the flashlight is water resistant and can survive water splashed on it from all directions. Waterproof is also measured using the IP rating system. IPX 7 means the light is waterproof and can be submersed in one meter of water for at least 30 minutes. Submersible is also measured using the IP rating. IPX8 means the light has been tested to be submersible at a specified depth for 4 hours. Peak Beam Intensity is measured in candelas and is a measurement of the intensity at the center of the flashlight beam.

Icons
A manufacturer can use the parameters’ respective icons if their product can pass any of the minimal performance testing criteria based on the parameters in the FL1 specification. There are also specifications on how these icons can be laid out on the packaging. Icons make it easy for consumers to quickly compare flashlight specs, not only across the same brand, but across multiple brands as well.

“The bottom line is that a well-informed consumer is more likely to find the right product to meet his or her needs.”

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