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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ on Photoluminescent Safety Products and Safety Bumper Guards.

If you have additional questions on our services or photoluminescent products and safety bumper guards, please contact us: Tel: 1-888-737-6254 or via E-Mail.


How many hours do photoluminescent products glow?

American Permalight®, Inc. offers photoluminescent safety markings that range from 8 hours to several days in glow performance, depending on the grade of performance that you select.

We measure the luminance of our products using calibrated photometers in our in-house laboratories. For these comparison tests, the products get activated by 1000 Lux = 93 foot-candles of Xenon Lighting for 5 minutes, in compliance with ASTM E2072-04 Standard, ASTM E2073-02 Test Method and DIN67510 Part 1. Following this activation, the emitted luminance gets measured at 10, 60 and at 120 minutes in full darkness. The luminance decline gets calculated down to 0.3 milli candela per square meter (mcd/m²).

  • PERMALIGHT standard photoluminescent safety grade markings are typically photometer-measurable for 8 to 10 hours in the dark.
  • PERMALIGHT power 150/22 photoluminescent markings are typically photometer-measurable for 35 hours in the dark.
  • PERMALIGHT power 450/60 and higher performing photoluminescent markings are photometer-measurable for several days.
What is the life expectancy of photoluminescence?

Per UL924 Standard for Emergency Lighting, photoluminescent exit signs do NOT come with an expiration date. If properly used indoors in compliance with the installation instructions, the typical life expectancy of the photoluminescence is easily 25 years.

How quickly do photoluminescent products charge?

A few minutes of bright lighting may be enough for an initial quick activation but for a full saturation at the place of installation, the charging of the glow-in-the-dark products takes about one hour.

Cool light sources, such as fluorescent, daylight / sunlight, LED (Light Emitting Diode), Mercury Vapor and Metal Halide are ideal activating light sources.

How much light do photoluminescent products need to glow?

Illuminance is the ambient light that shines onto a photoluminescent marking. Per IBC/IFC codes, photoluminescent floor proximity egress path markings need to get activated by a minimum of 1 foot candle which equals 10.8 lux illuminance. Photoluminescent UL924 listed EXIT signs need to get activated by a minimum of 5 foot candles (54 Lux).

The more activating light you offer, the brighter the photoluminescent marking will glow in darkness. The best way to test your ambient lighting at the installation location is to use an illuminance meter. Many building engineers and electricians already have such a light meter to measure the lighting levels in their corridors and office environments.

Are photoluminescent products radioactive?

No. The photoluminescent effect is accomplished by incorporating NON-radioactive, NON-toxic pigment powder into the various base materials that we use.

Other terms for photoluminescence are glow-in-the-dark, phosphorescent and self-illuminating.

A similar sounding term is self-luminous but that is a completely different technology to photoluminescence.

Self-luminous EXIT signs are radio-luminescent signs filled with radioactive Tritium-gas. Those self-luminous signs get sold with a Life Expectancy of 10 or 15 or 20 years. Each self-luminous sign must have its expiration date visible during installation for the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) to make sure the radioactive sign is not expired yet. Once the expiration date is reached, the self-luminous sign has to get shipped back to its manufacturer for radioactive ingredients recycling (recycling fee incurred).

Permalight products are NOT radioactive: they can be disposed in domestic waste.

Self-illuminating EXIT signs are photoluminescent, non-radioactive, non-toxic signs with no expiration date showing on the face of the sign. No special recycling necessary. This is what American Permalight®, Inc. supplies!

Can photoluminescent products be used outdoors?

Many Permalight® markings have successfully passed stringent UV-resistance tests. Over the years, our products have been successfully incorporated into hunting / hiking products and used for glowing graphics on custom signage in fully dark areas, to mention a few examples. Yet the most ideal application of photoluminescence is to guide occupants out of a darkened enclosed environment, like a building, railcar or ocean liner.

One important aspect has to be kept in mind regarding outdoor use: Photoluminescence becomes visible when the ambient lighting is less than the luminance emitted by the photoluminescent product. Street lighting, car headlights, retail window spotlights may be brighter in the middle of the night than the luminance emitted. If you envision a photoluminescent outdoor application, it has to be in a pitch dark environment and you should only use our high-performance or super high-performance products. Contact us for a consultation.

How long do floor installed photoluminescent products last?

It is important that you

  • select the right Permalight® marking for your intended application. Forklifts present in industrial settings, liquid spills, frequency of staircase use, foot traffic … just a few of the aspects to be considered. Contact us for a consultation.
  • only select floor suitable markings for floor use. American Permalight®, Inc. offers a wide range of floor markings from vinyl tape to metal products. Our easy peel-and-stick anti-skid dots and anti-slip tapes are ideal in light-wear environments. Metal products are designed for tougher floor environments. Check our IBC / IFC compliant product line: CC-AST, CC-ALU, CC-NOSING are all products that passed stringent UL410 floor-suitability compliance tests.
  • install the products on clean, dust-free, dry surfaces for years of durable performance. American Permalight®, Inc. has very detailed installation instructions and offers Installer Training for large projects.

If you follow these recommendations, you will get years of reliable service out of Permalight® photoluminescent safety markings.

What is your Warranty?

American Permalight®, Inc. warrants its products against manufacturing defects. If the recipient, upon receipt of Permalight® products, inspects the goods and notices a manufacturing defect, contact us and indicate your concerns. Failure of Permalight® material under this warranty must be solely the result of design or manufacturing defects in the product. Such failure shall NOT be the result of outside causes, such as improper converting, handling, installation or maintenance; use of inappropriate thinners or primers for installation; use of application procedures not recommended by Permalight®; applied to surfaces outside the recommended application temperatures; failure of surface applied to; exposure to chemicals, abrasion and other mechanical damages from fasteners used to mount the product; collisions, vandalism or malicious mischief.

We may have special warranties for particular products: contact us.

How well does the adhesive of the safety bumper guards stick?

The adhesive-backed types come with a strong, light- and aging resistant, modified, durable Acrylic Adhesive (Adhesive Strength: 25 Newton per Inch). Make sure the installation surface that the bumpers shall be applied to is clean, dust-free and dry. Adhesive-backed materials do not stick well on dirt, grime and grease. Contact us for our Installation Instructions.

How do you attach the Stainless Steel backed wall- and corner guards?

Each comes with 6 screws and 6 screw anchors, so you have the installation accessories right there inside the packing unit.

How well does Type B attach to I-beam shelves?

Type B foam guard was specifically designed to fit on I-beam shelves and most of our customers do not order the optional Contact Adhesive. They simply slide on the B foam guard and it fits. If in doubt, purchase the optional Adhesive 83-0789.

Do the wall- and corner guards come in other colors than black-yellow?

While black-yellow is the bestseller (well-suited for indoor and outdoor use), several types are available in photoluminescent glow-in-the-dark (indoor use only!) or even triple safe bright daylight fluorescent lemon-yellow/darkness glow-in-the-dark (indoor use only!).

All-white wall guards are ideal in hospitals, doctor’s offices, hotels and other elegant environments where the foam guard shall protect but not stand out.

All-black foam guards are a great alternative to alerting black-yellow.

Reflective is our most recent introduction and ideal in indoor and outdoor parking environments, loading dock areas and really anywhere you have a light source (like car headlights, flashlights, etc.).

Contact us to ask if your desired Type is available in a particular color or length.

How do you ship the 16-foot long foam guards?

Those 16 feet are rolled into a coil and are a very compact bundle, easy to ship using small parcel carriers like UPS or FedEx. We recommend you unroll the coil upon receipt and let it straighten overnight.

Can I cut the foamy safety bumper guards to size myself?

Yes, you may use a utility knife with a fresh blade. Use a ruler as your straight edge and slice through the polyurethane foam a couple of times until all cut through. Protect your hands with sturdy gloves and watch out for that sharp utility knife! For bigger projects, a saw will work too.

What is the temperature resistance of the safety bumper guard foam?

From -31 F to 176 F in normal dry conditions. Please consult our Product Data Sheet for further details.