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Forecourt Feature Lighting

BP Service Stations, Nationwide

Towards the end of the 1990s, manufacturers such as Nichia and Osram began perfecting the technology required to produce blue, green and white light emitting diodes (LEDs).

The new techniques and processes, based on InGan semiconductor materials, allowed much brighter and cheaper LEDs in this colour range to be produced. It was at this point that some of the founding members of Visive recognised that replacing cold-cathode tubes (neon)* with a more energy efficient and reliable alternative was now possible. With this in mind we approached BP with the proposition of replacing the tubes used on their petrol forecourt canopies with an LED alternative.

As a forward thinking and innovative business, BP were receptive to the idea and agreed to conduct a trial at a site in Milton Keynes, UK, in January 2000. Although not yet fully formed or incorporated as a limited company, the team set about designing and producing a suitable product. Hi-Lite™ was born.

The trial was a success and when later in 2000, BP decided to embark on a full-scale petrol forecourt rebranding exercise, hilite was a central part of the image. It has remained so ever since through three contract renewals, the most recent being in 2009. During this time Visive has supplied hilite contour lighting to over 1000 BP stations across 15 countries. Hilite was orignally projected to have a useful life of seven years. Many sites have now passed this milestone and are still going strong.

*Though cold-cathode tubes are commonly referred to as neon tubes, in the case of BP and green tubes, the gas used was usually argon not neon, with a phosphor coating on the inside of the glass. Replacing neon or argon tube lighting with LED tube lighting delivers the same benefits in cost savings through reduced energy and lower maintenance. See Hilite contour lighting.

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