SCORE Journal


SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

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RIGID INDUSTRIES Founded In 2006 By Off-Road Enthusiasts For Enthusiasts By Larry Saavedra Photography Courtesy of RIGID Industries Fifteen years ago, three off-road enthusiasts came together and formed RIGID Industries, knowing that their hands-on attitude would serve their customers well. Today, the company resides in Gilbert, Arizona, and continues to shine in the fast-paced world of automotive lighting. According to company president, Aaron Richardson, at the time LED technology was just starting to gain ground on HID/halogen in the automotive space and they saw the opportunity in the off-road market. “We loved the industry and jumped at the chance to bring something unique and exciting to the market. We’ve been growing ever since, and have always been focused on innovative product concepts, quality, and off-road performance. I look at our industry-first products as our most meaningful milestones. We were first to market with the LED light-bar, first with the square LED pod, first with the curved light-bar, first to make a LED pod lamp with ‘side-shooter’ optics, first to integrate trail lighting into an aftermarket UTV mirror, and first at adaptive off-road lighting.” Like other well-known companies in off-road racing, RIGID has been influenced by participating in Baja racing, and they believe it’s a big part of what drives their brand designs. “We communicate directly with race teams and race vehicle builders to understand their needs,” said Richardson. “We also attend most major SCORE races every year. We design lamps for all sorts of uses and environments, but developing technology and designing for off-road racing is absolutely our favorite.” While many races and off-road fans use RIGID products, their line of LED lighting extends outside of racing, too. They manufacture lamps for OEM partners like Toyota, Ford, GM, Nissan, and Polaris. “These companies all have extremely aggressive design and testing requirements. For the most part, we have been able to pass their tests with existing products because we designed them for the most challenging environment and use case imaginable,” said Richardson. By interacting directly with end-users RIGID understands that consumers have challenges when selecting specific lights for different vehicles. “Like most elements of a race vehicle, lighting selection is about tradeoffs,” said Richardson. “The driver needs to consider the terrain and personal lighting preferences, then balance against their available power and weight limitations. If you intend to push the limit on top speed at night, then you will need high-intensity lamps for long-range visibility.” For slower speeds, Richardson suggests you will do better to spread your lighting power into a wide/driving pattern, and to think about light color, adding that yellow/amber light will provide better visibility and less glare in dusty environments. One familiar thread you see at RIGID is their desire to produce the highest lighting efficiency possible. Richardson put it this way, “We have focused much of our engineering attention on off-road lighting efficiency. This is where we differ from our competitors. It’s truly an obsession to create the most efficient possible lighting designs, applying every bit of available power to the optimal beam in that exact moment. We are achieving this with GPS-driven, autonomous lighting solutions. “ Richardson explained how this works. “When you’re going slow through turns or rough terrain, you want a wide, homogeneous beam of light. In that scenario, a high-intensity spot beam is not only useless, it actually works against you by creating glare and a hot spot in your field of vision. Conversely, when you’re going fast you have zero use for a wide beam. You need a high-intensity beam to extend your vision so you can safely react to whatever is in front of you.” This is one of the reasons why off-road racers have multiple lights on their vehicles, as they are not necessarily for more illumination, but each for a particular purpose. “Most racers use multiple lamps to get the best all-purpose beam they can,” said Richardson. “But this approach is inefficient, adding too much weight, pulling too much power, and ultimately providing an undesirable beam profile in most situations. RIGID adaptive lighting channels all available power to the optimal beam profile for the current vehicle speed. No wasted light in areas where you don’t need it.” In taking efficiency to the next level, Richardson explained how the company has developed power management software that senses the status of the power supply and pulls more/less power based on what is available. “We pull all available power (no more) and convert it into light in the best possible location, based on your speed. That’s our model for efficient off-road lighting.” SJ

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