The Origins of Vega
Vega Industries Ltd was established in 1972 to further develop an innovative design for a Sector Light which provided far greater resolution of the sector boundaries than had previously been possible. This design was originally developed by Norman Rumsay, Head of Optics at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Physics and Engineering Laboratory (PEL) in New Zealand. Vega successfully refined and enhanced the design concept and developed a commercially viable sector light product.
The first light had been designed to mark the entrance to Paremata Harbour. A tall cliff at Goat Point meant that there was insufficient resolution for a traditional 2-station leading light system.
This light was a very modest device compared to today’s sophisticated instruments, but it did the job required. It remained in service for more than 30 years before eventually being upgraded to a modern PEL-3.
Many early PEL Sector Lights gained acceptance in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Denmark, and gradually spread to other countries as their benefits were realised. For example the 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 1970’s and 80’s Vega continued to grow as a company and develop new products, including a Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI), a projector optics system which provides precise glide-path information to aircraft on final approach. This was developed for Airways Corporation of New Zealand, and subsequently installed at Wellington International Airport, and other airports around New Zealand.
In 1992, Vega recognised that its products had to be introduced to a wider customer base and be marketed effectively on an international basis. Since then a network of agents or distributors have been appointed in 84 countries throughout the world.
1993 was a notable year in the history of the company following the delivery of the first VRB-25 Rotating Beacon to the United States Coast Guard. This was designed specifically for the USCG in response to their specification. The VRB-25 is now the standard issue Rotating Beacon for the US Coast Guard and has been sold to 15 countries throughout the world with more than 500 beacons in service.
In 1996, the former Maritime New Zealand introduced the concept of automated lighthouses that could be monitored remotely from a central control facility. They commissioned Vega to carry out the development of a Remote Monitoring and Control System. The result was VegaMAC, later developed into VegaTEL Monitoring System in 1998.
In 1996 Vega identified a need for an energy efficient LED Marine Lantern and began a prototype development project which resulted in the first Vega LED Beacon, the VLB-27. Throughout the ensuing years LED technology and improved optic design has seen the introduction of a new generation of products leading to the existing range of LED Beacons, including the VLB-44.
In 2004 the VLS-46 was introduced, an LED Sector Light with a maximum intensity of 3600cd from a single LED source. In the same year, Vega released the VLB-42 Beacon that utilised the same single high powered LED.
The development of LED beacons for marine aids to navigation continued and in 2006 Vega launched the VLB-36 Self Contained Beacons that were developed in response to a US Coast Guard specification. This resulted in Vega Industries Ltd being awarded contracts by the US Coast Guard for the supply of both the Buoy and Fixed-Aid versions. A third generation monitoring system, VegaWeb had been developed by Vega during 2006.
A long range, energy efficient 15NM LED beacon, VLB-61 was developed in 2008. For short range LED beacons covering 3-4NM at 0.74T, Vega continued its innovative technology and launched VLB-67 in 2009. The range of VLB-67 was increased to 5NM in 2011. In the same year, Vega’s first all around LED sector light VSL-73 was developed.
The new product development has continued and 2011 has seen the release of the 2NM VLB-2 beacon and the MEGA range prodcuts including the 20NM VLB-92 Omni-directional beacon and the VRL-91 range light capable of over 10NM range by day.