Christchurch Boys' High School implements ABB’s Emergency Lighting for wireless communication - Building NZ
Christchurch Boys' High School implements ABB’s Emergency Lighting for wireless communication

Christchurch Boys' High School implements ABB’s Emergency Lighting for wireless communication

For ABB, a global technology company with operations in New Zealand spanning eight decades, the mission for its emergency lighting is to bring good design, user-friendliness and compliance together into one coherent solution.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

Designed to be low-profile when not in use but exceedingly visible when needed, the ins and outs of emergency lighting can often be complex.

An absolute necessity for most commercial buildings, its implementation can often be a headache for architects if planning and design are sub-par — and with changing Building Code standards, ensuring compliance can often be an extra challenge for electricians and engineers.

But for ABB, a global technology company with operations in New Zealand spanning eight decades, the mission is to bring good design, user-friendliness and compliance together into one coherent emergency lighting solution.

The solution — the Stanilite NexusRF Infinity Wireless System — is the latest technology in wireless system monitoring, using a proprietary protocol for radio frequency wireless communication between both the fittings and network infrastructure.

ABB’s Product Marketing Manager Doug Gillanders says the tech means users can be in complete control of their emergency lighting installation — controlling their entire lighting installation via a web browser on any mobile device with access to the network.

“The beauty of it is that it provides a real-time overview of your system,” says Doug. “And this allows for better maintenance, which ultimately improves the safety of the building or facility.”

It does this by supplying users with instant information to assist resource planning, Doug says. The product also includes dynamic mesh networking, which allows for multiple communications paths with automatic route optimisation to further enhance operation.

Christchurch Boys' High School hall. Image credit: Dennis Radermacher - Lightforge.

Christchurch Boys High School

The Stanilite NexusRF was most recently installed at Christchurch Boys' High School. The project, which was completed over 18 months, required installation throughout three buildings — two of them new and one an existing building, which needed an emergency lighting retrofit to replace the old system.

ABB’s dedicated electrical integrator, Electrical Supply Corp (ESC), completed the design on the project, with technical support from ABB.

“ESC worked out the lighting requirements, we supplied the hardware and support, and then ESC offered its own technical support to the electrical contractor, Christchurch Electrical, to do the install,” says Doug.

“There were lots of different parties involved, but it turned out to be one of the smoother outcomes we’ve had because we were all on the same page and pointing in the same direction.”

The installation itself incorporated about 200 fittings. But while this may sound daunting, the system’s use of radio frequency meant that the fittings didn’t require any additional wiring — and since it’s possible to install just one router per 250 fittings, this substantially cuts down labour and time costs.

After this, the router can be connected to the data network, ESC will program it, and then provide a report to the installing electricians so they can begin the install.

Watch to learn how the system works.

Installing the system

Electrical supervisor, Maarten Vijfhuizen, ran the project for Christchurch Electrical from the installation side. He says the way ESC did the detailed drawings from the base drawing he supplied made it very easy to carry out the installation and keep track of the fittings as the project progressed.

“They numbered everything for us and it was so easy we could have sent apprentices. Everything was spelled out. They supplied us with a spreadsheet so that we could attach the barcode off each fitting to get the numbering on the plans right.

“Once everything was installed, ESC took over and loaded the data into the software so they could carry out commissioning.”

Vijfhuizen says the project went well with good local representation from ESC and good technical support in the delivery and commissioning of the system.

“The ESC team was really approachable, kept everything simple and answered questions at any time. They also briefed the maintenance staff member at the school on how to use the system.”

Once installed, most sites will be set up with remote access to allow any future support or service from ESC. This means IT teams on site can rest assured that any remote connection is securely managed to the end-user’s requirements.

It also means that, even with a technically advanced system like Nexus RF Infinity, the complexity is handled by the technology — so the installation and day-to-day use is made as easy as possible, and the end-user can fully reap the benefits of the system.

Learn more about ABB’s emergency lighting systems.

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