Zumtobel lighting automation with Kontron industrial computers

19th August 2019
Anna Flockett

Light can enchant. Lighting design transforms sparse halls into bespoke locations, shops become boutiques. But what can lighting do where everything has already been perfected? Created by an exceptional agreement between the governments of Abu Dhabi and France, Louvre Abu Dhabi was designed by Jean Nouvel and opened on Saadiyat Island in November 2017. The natural sunlight entering through the ornamental ceiling structure alone allows visitors to stroll through the rooms like in a wonder world. 

Louvre Abu Dhabi employs high-tech. The Austrian company Zumtobel, a world leader in lighting settings, has provided the museum’s impressive lighting. Depending on the time of day, an automation controller combined with a data server provides a unique flair - reliably and automatically. Both high-tech lighting computers are based on a Kontron industrial computer platform.

Louvre Abu Dhabi celebrates the universal creativity of mankind. Through its innovative curatorial approach, the museum focuses on building understanding across cultures. The museum’s growing collection is unparalleled in the region and spans thousands of years of human history, including prehistoric tools, artefacts, religious texts, iconic paintings and contemporary artworks. The permanent collection is supplemented by rotating loans from 13 French partner institutions, regional and international museums. Louvre Abu Dhabi is a testing ground for new ideas in a globalised world and champions new generations of cultural leaders. In 2019 – the declared Year of Tolerance in the United Arab Emirates –Louvre Abu Dhabi will continue to be a hub for all cultures and a symbol of openness, hope, tolerance and inclusivity in the Arab world.

Individual lighting moods according to time of day
The architectural centerpiece is the circular giant dome with a diameter of 180 meters. It stands on a mere four columns, seemingly floating in the air. The ornamental ceiling structure filters the sunlight during the day, creating a multi-faceted play of light - as if sunrays were falling through the fanned leaves of a date palm.

In contrast to nature, this impression carries on even after sunset. This is ensured by Zumtobel's lighting system specially developed for the unique giant dome.

Many of the works of art on display are very sensitive to light. For this reason, a maximum annual light dose has been set for some of them, which must not be exceeded. The software that controls this light incidence is implemented on a Kontron industrial server. It therefore ensures that the artworks remain undamaged to posterity despite the lighting.

Lighting management 24/7
Lighting management must function safely and reliably around the clock. Since the correct light dose is essential, the Zumtobel data server has an extremely important function for works of art. Kontron's built-in control computers do a great job here. They are designed for continuous operation and installed in a standard 2U Short form factor housing. They therefore fit into any standard rack used in building automation. Kontron equips the server ex works with an individual Zumtobel screen, thus creating a clear brand perception with an unmistakable product design.

It is clearly marked in the building technology control cabinet that the LUXMATE LITENET server or the Zumtobel Flexis N3 automation controller are responsible for the appropriate lighting: for the building's unique atmosphere and the effective presentation of the individual works of art. Thanks to the long-term availability of the Kontron industrial server platform, Zumtobel no longer has to make frequent adjustments or certify the entire system: once it has been developed and tested, the solution guarantees Zumtobel customers the right lighting situation unaltered, powerful, and reliable for years to come.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is just one of Zumtobel's outstanding flagship projects. Many other projects demonstrate the company's expertise in central lighting control. These include the Städel Museum and the St. Martins Tower in Frankfurt, the LVM Versicherung in Münster, the Münchner Tor in the north of the Bavarian state capital, the Gmunden hospital and the DHL mail centres.

Every customer has his own special challenges when it comes to lighting: The availability of the right light can be decisive or even vital for the functioning of an entire organisation. In a hospital, for example, or in places where there is no daylight, or where people have to work at night, such as in logistics or production halls.

Servers and controllers for automatic lighting
In selecting its computer platform for its central LITENET server and the Flexis N3 automation controller, Zumtobel therefore placed the highest value on reliability, robustness and standards compliance. Hundreds or thousands of lights are individually controlled and programmed depending on the position of the sun, clouds and weather. This is ensured by algorithms processing the data from a so-called daylight sensor. It measures the incoming light and the position of the sun in real time. To ensure that the perfect lighting conditions always prevail in the respective building, the lighting required is determined for each room. Each light is individually controlled and programmed.

The LITENET Flexis N3 automation controller controls the lighting, glare protection and windows of a building with up to 2,000 openings. It serves as a stand-alone automation center and performs basic functions such as controlling and monitoring ongoing operation in accordance with the planning values. Time management with an integrated calendar is used to control working hours, holidays and other general conditions. The functions are configured at room level via the LITENET Flexis N3 controller. Optionally, the controller can be used for daylight-dependent artificial light tracking, blind management, and window control for ventilation. It also monitors and triggers functional and operating life tests for emergency lighting.

Control of up to 10,000 lights
The LITENET server takes on a variety of tasks as part of building automation with 10,000 openings. This includes the central administration of alarm and system message data from several LITENET system controllers. In the event of an error, a notification system forwards the necessary information to previously determined staff via email or SMS. In addition, the server offers central logging of consumption data, archiving of log files, and emergency lighting test logs, enabling the subsequent accurate analysis of incidents. The server also backs up the data of all LITENET controllers networked in a system and can also restore it to them if required.

The server is also prepared for remote access, enabling lighting technicians or facility managers to access the system via a secure Internet connection if required. The LITENET server can, of course, be seamlessly integrated into a higher-level building management system via the standard BACnet or OPC interfaces in order to transmit operating states and alarm messages.

Reliable industrial computer platform as the basis for optimum lighting
As part of hardware upgrades, Kontron replaced the RAID system with two rotating hard disks with SSD storage for Zumtobel, thereby increasing reliability and performance. Replacing individual components does not alter the overall server design, so that Zumtobel's control software can be used unchanged. Since the entire industrial server is based on standards, even the mainboard can be updated if necessary. To ensure that no data is lost in the event of a power failure and that the server itself restarts smoothly as soon as power is restored, it is equipped with what is known as power loss control.

Zumtobel's knowledge of the effects of light is of course also incorporated into the algorithms used to control lighting: different lighting situations can be created for conference rooms as required. Here, Zumtobel follows its Active Light concept, which stabilises the elementary link between people and light by changing intensity, light color and direction at the right time. A meeting will require a different light than a presentation; during breaks, a bright and friendly atmosphere contributes to relaxation, and towards evening the blue component of the artificial light is reduced to signal to the body that the day is drawing to a close.

There are only a few companies in the world like Zumtobel that offer the control of lighting and the inclusion of daylight with automated precision, reliability, and individuality. Zumtobel's headquarters are located in Dornbirn in Austria's Vorarlberg region, which is internationally renowned for its outstanding architectural culture, and the company is represented by its own branches and partners in more than 90 countries. A total of over 6,200 employees work for Zumtobel Group AG, which is listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange, including 13 production facilities on four continents.

Jens Beecken, Zumtobel Product Manager Controls & Lighting Management: "Kontron and Zumtobel have been cooperating for over ten years on the platform for automation controllers and servers. This has resulted in a close, familiar partnership. On the one hand, we are convinced by the reliability and robustness of Kontron's industrial computers during operation. On the other hand, it is important for us that Kontron continually adapts its platform to technological innovation without changing the underlying design. This makes it easier for us to further develop our software for the benefit of our customers."

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