Lighting supplier Hella is introducing the automotive industry’s first modular lighting system. Called MOLIS (MOdular LIghting System), the modular concept allows vehicle lighting to function through a network of individual, light-emitting diode (LED) mini-lamps that can be grouped to meet special design needs. “With MOLIS, Hella now leads the industry in the development of modular lighting systems,” said Joe Borruso, president and CEO of Hella North America. “Lighting often is a signature vehicle-design feature and MOLIS provides engineers with additional flexibility in designing both exterior and interior lighting systems.” In the system, LED mini-lamps can be positioned in strips of different lengths or contours to create a distinctive appearance. Each Hella mini-lamp is 44 mm long by 10 mm wide by 20 mm deep and is available in a variety of shapes. Hella’s LED lamps direct light through a series of special geometric structures that deflect the light to micro lenses at the rear surface of the lamp element. The micro-lenses beam light outward in the desired direction. The mini-lamp’s array of reflecting structures, called a Total Internal Reflection (TIR), creates an indirect lighting system that conceals lamp componentry that often is visible to consumers. Designers are turning to indirect lighting to enhance the overall appearance of their lighting systems. “Light intensity in a MOLIS system is determined by the type of LED and the number of lamps used in the configuration,” Jason Bonin, Hella North America’s vice president of Lighting Technology, explained. “MOLIS LEDs are able to generate the same intensity with fewer LEDs than comparable lamps that use conventional LED technology, making them more energy efficient as well.” The 20 mm depth of the MOLIS mini-lamp also helps reduce or eliminate the need to cut deep openings in a vehicle’s sheet metal, reducing sheet-metal manufacturing costs and increasing structural rigidity. Borruso noted that MOLIS lights already have been designed and successfully tested as center high-mounted brake lights and as combination rear lights. The systems also are being considered for interior lighting and are expected to debut on production vehicles in 2003.