Jo Harding, Sales Development Director for Anolis UK discusses the importance of partnering with a lighting integrator on complex projects, some of the pitfalls and challenges to be aware of when you don't and our integrator training offering which is now live.
Mistakes to avoid in installation of DMX architectural lighting and why it’s essential to partner with a lighting integrator on complex projects.
I’m sure Anolis Lighting are not the only manufacturer of DMX architectural lighting who has occasionally fallen into the trap of presuming that installers will both read our installation manuals and also believing them when they tell us they ‘know how to install this type of lighting’…
It happens rarely but when products are installed incorrectly and it goes wrong- it’s a messy business to rectify and causes some grief to all parties involved-including ourselves. Confusing stories unfold as we try to unravel what is happening onsite, against the backdrop of an ever looming handover deadline.
Here are some examples:
- Ethernet cable is used instead of DMX. Not wrong in principle but Ethernet cable is a poor substitute in some external environments.
- Data cables are not protected by suitable containment to protect against damage.
- Cable runs are too close to high voltage mains causing interference.
- Data cables are not sufficiently terminated at the end of line causing flickering and control problems.
- Wrong choice of DMX controller which results in limited system configuration and user control.
- Long DMX cable lengths which cause intermittent drop outs of luminaires.
- Over complicated DMX data infrastructures which means it can be difficult to fault find any problems.
- Incorrect wiring where voltage is applied to the DMX (control) cabling -this can result in damage of DMX boards.
The answer to these problems lies in training. If we can persuade contractors that this is essential for installing complex DMX lighting equipment then we find that site tends to run much more smoothly. We recently worked with contractors who installed our Divine 160 LED floodlights to light the facades at Nottingham castle. We had extensive online discussions on the control system, cable types and cable distances. A DMX splitter was installed to split cabling on the 4 facades North, South East and West and ensure protection against potential damage. Our Project Manager also attended site before installation to discuss any final issues and the upfront work and preparation saves many hours of troubleshooting and potential damage of lighting equipment.
When we get involved in designing the lighting and controls for more complex structures or buildings we will introduce an Integrator partner to the project. Lighting structures such as Rhyl Skytower present many installation challenges which fall outside our lighting supply remit. We appointed specialist integrators LTP to overcome some of these challenges at Rhyl. Special manufacture of equipment was needed to accommodate fixing luminaires onto the outside of the structure and services within the tower. There were also many physical challenges with installation at great height and within restricted space in the Tower. LTP’s installation team had to use harnessing equipment to navigate up the structure.
Being unable to fix luminaires directly to the structure, LTP designed and manufactured stainless steel rings to which the Anolis fittings are rigged. Mobile elevated work platforms and harnessing equipment were used for the external installation using suitably trained engineers. These engineers also needed to work around and be acutely aware of a radiation exclusion zone, due to the mobile phone mast at the top of the structure. Because of the considerable cable lengths involved, control equipment was housed in waterproof enclosures inside the Sky Tower. Internal space restrictions, including counterweights and a narrow ladder, made this task particularly difficult.
LTP worked in close collaboration with our Anolis team and together we delivered a successful project in the rejuvenation of the 76m tall tower, now evenly and elegantly illuminated. The Sky Tower is highly visible when lit and symbolic of the confidence and success that has returned to Rhyl with their ambitious urban renewal masterplan.
As manufacturers we understand the value these specialist integrators can bring. A successful partnership still requires in-depth training on the Anolis range on a regular basis to avoid any of the pitfalls mentioned earlier. We are currently running a series of online training events for integrators and contractors and would be interested in talking to companies keen to pursue this type of partnership.
Please email me if you would like to discuss this further or if you would like to book on one of our integrator training courses, on email@example.com