The Origins of Vega

Vega was established in 1972 to develop an innovative design for a sector light which provided far greater resolution of sector boundaries than had previously been possible. 

This design was originally developed by Norman Rumsey, Head of Optics at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) in New Zealand. The name “PEL” originally came from the DSIR Physics and Engineering Laboratory, but has come to be used in the industry to mean “Port Entry Light” (although it can do far more than that…) Vega successfully refined and enhanced the original design concept and developed a commercially viable PEL sector light product.

The first PEL light was designed to mark the entrance to Paremata Harbour, north of Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. A tall cliff at Goat Point meant that there was insufficient resolution for a traditional 2-station leading light system. This early PEL light (see illustration) was a very modest device compared to today’s sophisticated instruments, but it did the job and remained in service for more than 30 years before eventually being upgraded to a modern PEL-3.

PEL Sector Lights gained acceptance in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Denmark, and gradually spread to other countries as the benefits were understood. For example, Sydney International Airport required a marine light to operate day and night but, because of the proximity to the airport runway, all stray vertical light had to be eliminated. Vega achieved this by using an anamorphic lens, thereby reducing the vertical divergence of the beam and at the same time achieving the desired horizontal divergence needed for navigation of the channel.

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Vega continued to grow as a company and developed a reputation for innovative products through ongoing investment in research and development.

In 1992 Vega recognised that its products had to be introduced to a wider customer base and be marketed effectively on an international basis. Vega delivered the first VRB-25 Rotating Beacon to the United States Coast Guard in 1993, starting a strong relationship which continues to this day.

Vega now has a global network of channel partners who represent our products and support our clients around the world.