April 21st, 2021

Meet Richard Chaplin – he’ll be finding us partners all around the world…

In this issue of Meet the Team, we’d like to introduce you to Richard Chaplin – our Head of Partnerships. Richard oversees the strategic development of our Partnership Programme – a programme he’s designing to drive further growth through our network of global partners.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I was born and raised in the beautifully verdant and diverse city of Bristol. At university, in Portsmouth, I studied German & International Business which included spending time studying in Germany. After graduating I worked in Germany for a while to fund a mini-gap year during which I travelled around Africa and Australia.

When I returned to the UK I started my first ‘real’ job working for an outdoor furniture manufacture, initially as their Internal Export Sales Executive for their German-speaking markets. I then moved into a client-facing role in the UK. From there I went ‘on the road’, in their German markets. I was then also given responsibility for Southern Europe, Asia, and Hong Kong. As you can imagine, with all the international travel, this was a pretty exciting role for someone not long out of University.

 

Richard Chaplin Head Of Partnerships

My career in professional lighting began when I was recruited by Thorn Lighting. At Thorn, my time was divided between two areas. I worked with project specifiers in the UK – architects, consultants, lighting designers – on their international projects. The other half for the role was working with our network of subsidiaries and channel partners across a number of markets – from the Baltics and Balkans to the US and Canada.

I then joined Thorn’s Middle East division and moved there to work with the commercial, technical, and back-office teams to reshape their sales organisation.

My next move was to Thorlux Lighting, part of the FW Thorpe Group, where I set up and ran their Middle East division.

Why did you decide to join Midstream?

I’d heard of Midstream of course, and when the opportunity came up to join the company as Head of Partnerships I decided to grab it with both hands.

One of the things that impressed me about Midstream was the people. It only employs specialists who are influencers at a high level in their markets. That gives Midstream real credibility in their key sectors.

How do you think Midstream differentiates itself from the competition?

As I’ve just said, the people. That’s not all though. The company stands out from the rest through its focus on its industry sectors – aviation, sports, maritime, and horticulture. Many companies start making luminaires, let’s say for airports. They start a project and get asked if they could supply some wall-mounted lights while they were at it and perhaps some downlights as well. Seeing this as an opportunity to increase turnover they end up losing focus on what they were good at to begin with, and start being ‘a Jack of all trades’.

That’s a very common model. It’s not Midstream’s approach though.

Midstream has stuck to its core sectors of expertise and hasn’t diversified from them. That means a Midstream customer is getting a high-quality solution that’s been fine-tuned to the needs of their market. It also means the customer is getting advice and benefitting from the knowledge of experts who are immersed in that sector and that industry. So, the Midstream value proposition for the customer is massive.

What is your role at Midstream and what excites you about it?

My role is Head of Partnerships – a new role for the company focusing on creating a new Partnership Programme to support all our existing and new partners to succeed all over the world.

The difficult part of the role won’t be finding the businesses that want to become our partners, the company and its products speak for themselves. The exciting part, and the challenge, is going to be finding the right companies, in the right markets that have the right attitude. It’ll then be all about nurturing them and giving them the right tools to be successful and to be able to represent Midstream like an extension of our organisation. Our ultimate goal? Midstream product user satisfaction to the same high level, regardless of country, vertical, or language. Because a satisfied customer is one who’ll happily place their next order with Midstream and tell their peers about us.

What I’m also excited about and really looking forwards to is working with people who are immersed in their industries and know what they’re talking about. I’m not an ‘industry’ person. I’m a ‘lighting’ person with exposure to various industries. So hopefully, I can help share knowledge within the group and further enhance our position as a complete solutions provider to the customer.

You’re used to working closely with partners, dealers, distributors – how do you plan to use this experience to help Midstream grow?
I’ve had 20+ years of working with partners – including channel partners – all around the globe. Some of these have been dedicated to industry verticals, some generalists. So I’ve got lots of experience of how these companies operate and how people work in different cultures and settings. That all stands me in good stead for this role. As I said, the secret to helping Midstream grow will be identifying, appointing, and developing partner companies that already have, or are prepared to invest in, the right mix of tools in their bag to do the best job for us in each particular industry sector.

You’re used to working closely with partners, dealers, distributors – how do you plan to use this experience to help Midstream grow?

I’ve had 20+ years of working with partners – including channel partners – all around the globe. Some of these have been dedicated to industry verticals, some generalists. So I’ve got lots of experience of how these companies operate and how people work in different cultures and settings. That all stands me in good stead for this role. As I said, the secret to helping Midstream grow will be identifying, appointing, and developing partner companies that already have, or are prepared to invest in, the right mix of tools in their bag to do the best job for us in each particular industry sector.

What defines a good partner?

I believe that a good partner is one where you play an important part in their business. Biggest isn’t always best – it depends on their portfolio. But I think ideally you need to be the only product of your type they represent. Mid-sized companies can be the most effective partners in most cases. Companies that have a reasonable amount of resource but also not so many products that you get lost in their ‘pile of catalogues’ are ideal.

If you’re important to them, say you represent more than 20% of their turnover, they’ll be more engaged with you. They’ll spend the time watching your webinars, reading your marketing materials, product brochures, and will take note of new product updates. Why? Because that’s time well spent and will help them sell more of your products. So, that’s the type of partner I’ll be targeting.

Tell us something your CV doesn’t

I’ve been a long-suffering Tottenham Hotspur fan since the age of eight – when they were actually quite a good team. I’ve waited for over 35 years for a title victory. I’m still waiting… patiently, just.

What do you do in your spare time?

I used to run a lot, competing in 5K, 10K, half marathons, and I ran the London Marathon in 2008. I also used to be an avid rower. Nowadays, I run when I can, go kayaking and canoeing with my son, and play golf when I have time – which isn’t as often as I’d like. I also help out at my son’s cub scouts group and enjoy taking part in their hiking, camping, and general outdoor activities.

Richard Chaplin - Head of Partnerships Midstream Lighting

Richard Chaplin, Head of partnerships at Midstream Lighting

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March 31st, 2021

Meet Massimo Forlani – he loved working with us so much as a client… he’s joined us

In this issue of ‘Meet the Team’, we’d like to introduce you to Massimo Forlani. Formerly a client, he’s now our Sales Area Manager for Italy. Find out why he’s joined us, what he’ll be doing, and more.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I now work in sales, but I wasn’t a ‘natural born salesman’. Far from it. I started my working life in the technical office of a small electromechanical and electronic manufacturing company. I suppose the best way to describe my role there is I was the one that had to ‘do a little bit of everything’. We all have to start somewhere!

As my role progressed, I became more involved in supporting the company’s designers and dealing with our suppliers if they had any technical issues. I enjoyed this ‘customer’ focused aspect of my role so much, it seemed to naturally transition into joining the sales team. I must admit though, it was a little painful at first. I didn’t know enough about the practical element of sales. That was easily remedied, however, with training and ‘on-the-job’ support.

As a salesman, the first projects I became involved with almost straightaway were in airport lighting. Firstly, in power supply solutions, then remote control systems. I then moved on to the whole wide range of airport ground lighting equipment – apron floodlights included!

Massimo Forlani Sales Manager Midstream Lighting
Why did you decide to join Midstream?

My first contact with Midstream was actually as a client. I was impressed, not only with the outstanding quality of Midstream’s products of course but especially the team and the way it worked.

After completing several projects with them, our paths crossed again last year, and we were both looking for something new. I was looking for a new role and they were looking for a new salesperson to join them. The result? We’re working together again, but as colleagues now!

How do you think Midstream differentiates itself from the competition?

As an ex-client, this is an easy one to answer. Midstream has developed an amazing range of sector-specific products. That’s not all though. The company knows that ‘off-the-shelf’ products won’t do. That’s why they work so closely with clients to deliver tailor-made solutions for their needs.

What is your role at Midstream and what excites you about it?

I’m working as a Sales Area Manager alongside Beppe, our Country Manager. My areas of responsibility include the centre, south, and our Italian islands such as Sicily and Sardinia. I’ve worked in these areas before in my previous airport-related roles. So, it will be great to meet up and work with all my old contacts and colleagues again.

I’ll also be working across our other key sectors – sports, maritime, and horticulture. I’m sure this will be challenging to start with, but it’ll be a great opportunity to learn new things and skills too.

You’re used to working closely with partners, dealers, distributors – how do you plan to use this experience to help Midstream grow?

By maintaining and expanding my ‘network’. Creating a network – whether on a personal or work level – is massively important when it comes to business. Having friends and colleagues to support you, and who you can support too, can make achieving your goals so much easier. Without a network, doing your job and getting results isn’t impossible, it takes a lot longer though.

What has been the most memorable project you’ve worked on?

There are so many different moments and projects it’s difficult to pick out the single most memorable one. I think I can summarise them by saying it’s all been about experiencing and being part of the pioneering transition to LED lighting across Italian airports. Just like Midstream, I suppose.

What do you do in your spare time?

With the COVID-19 lockdown leaving us little to do apart from being at home and working, I’d have to answer that going to the beach is my main pleasure at the moment. I love reading too – so that’s an escape from these awful times.

What I can’t wait for though, once we are all allowed to get out and about properly again, is being able to visit the cinema, art exhibitions, museums, and our beautiful cities again with my wife Donatella. It seems such a long time since we’ve been able to do any of these things.

I hope everyone gets to do what they love as soon as possible. We all need it! So, stay safe and well until then.

Massimo Forlani Sales Manager Midstream Lighting

Massimo Forlani - Sales Area Manager Italy at Midstream Lighting

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Feb 3rd, 2021

Midstream Spotlight: Light up the night, turn down the heat

High-powered LEDs and high heat environments – a white paper from Midstream Lighting

When it comes to LED lighting, high heat can present problem after problem. Do you know what these can be? What effect can they have on your lighting systems? And more importantly, what can you do to prevent them?

High Heat White Paper from Midstream Lighting

In high heat environments, where the daytime temperature is around 45ᵒC and it’s above 35ᵒC at night, your LED lighting systems could suffer from such issues as:

  • Lumen depreciation–if you’re in a sector that’s strictly regulated, like the Aviation industry, you ignore this at your peril because it could make your system non-compliant.
  • Colour shift – a big problem when you need colour recognition to be consistent across a whole working area.
  • Total light engine failure – the worst scenario where the only solution is to replace the whole fixture.
  • Power supply ageing – which can lead to a lot of maintenance and the costs that go with it.

To find out more about high—power LED lighting and high heat environments and to help you understand the issues you could face and how to avoid them you can download Midstream’s white paper for FREE here

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January 19th, 2021

Yellow light vs white light in fog

One general view about yellow vs white light in fog is based on the theory that scattering, by anything at all, is always greater at the short-wavelength end of the visible spectrum than at the long end. It must be true because the nineteenth-century British scientist Lord Rayleigh showed this in his paper of 1871 on the dispersion of electromagnetic radiation. This explained, amongst other things, why the sky is blue. This is because when the pure white light from the sun passes through the gases and extremely small particles in the atmosphere it’s scattered. Blue, and violet, light is dispersed the most because they travel as much shorter waves. So, the sky looks blue.

You’d assume therefore to get the greatest penetration of light through fog, you should use the longest wavelength possible. Red, being the longest, is obviously unsuitable however because it is used for traffic stoplights. So, you compromise and use yellow light instead.

This view is flawed though when it comes to light penetrating through fog. Rayleigh scattering – as it’s known – applies only to ‘scattering’ particles that are smaller than the wavelength of light and at wavelengths far from absorption. Fog droplets are huge compared with the wavelengths of visible light. This means that the scattering of light by fog is essentially wavelength independent. See Reference Articles 1 below.

We don’t need to consult scientific papers to understand this is true though. Just look at cars on the road at night. Designers of vehicle headlights have known for a long time that there is no magic colour that gives greater fog penetration. That’s why most headlights are white and why, for example, EU regulations require all new vehicles to have white lights. See Reference Articles 2 below.

So, for light penetration and perception in fog, the colour of light is unimportant. Yellow light. White light. There’s no difference.

Reference Articles 1

Bohren C. F, & Fraser A. (1985) – Colours of the Sky in The Physics Teacher pp 267-272. And Bohren, C. F. & Huffman, D. R. (1998) – Particles Small Compared with the Wavelength, in Absorption and Scattering of Light by Small Particles, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, Weinheim, Germany.

Reference Articles 2

Nelson, J.H. (1938) – Optics of headlights in The Journal of Scientific Instruments Vol. XV, pp. 317-322. Also see the more recent Schreuder, D. A. (1976) – White or yellow light for vehicle head-lamps? In the Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research SWOV.

Commercial Director & Co-Founder

As an entrepreneur, Yuli has worked across sectors as diverse as Finance, Oil & Gas, Music, Real Estate and Electronics. His passion in business is challenging the status quo, disrupting markets, building first-class teams, and solving complex challenges with creative solutions.

Yuli trained in Finance and Economics in London, with postgraduate studies in Law (LLM) and Engineering (MEng) in Scotland and Australia. He’s also been appointed as an Export Champion by the UK Government’s Department of International Trade.

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December 10th, 2020

Thinking Metal Halide? Think again, again, again, and again…

There are quite a few ‘cheap’ deals on the market for Metal Halide lighting at the moment. If you’re being tempted by them, we’d really recommend you think again.

You might be saying to yourself, ‘Midstream are world-leading pioneers in LED. So, they would say that. They’re biased.’ We are. But only because of the facts. Let’s explain just a few reasons why – without blinding you with any science because that’s not our way.

Energy savings

We won’t dwell on this one too much. Let’s face it though, LED lighting has been proved time after time to cut energy use – massively. In fact, you can make savings of 50% or sometimes even more.

Maintenance

Again, another area where LEDs have been shown to beat Metal Halides hands down.

Metal Halide lamps degrade much, much faster than LEDs. So they often need replacing, even before a lamp has failed totally. That’s not all. Because of the way they’re built, Metal Halide lamps can’t cope well over time with things like vibrations on cranes and high masts. This can lead to components breaking and the lamps dying. Not a problem at all with solid-state LED systems.

What does this all mean for you? You’ll have to pay several hundred Euros for each new lamp you need. You’ll also need to pay for someone to replace them. You might need to get in specialist equipment too like cherry pickers to reach them – yet another big cost. And we’ve not even mentioned yet the problems and costs caused by downtime, or an immediate failure, you could incur.

Efficiency and efficacy

At the start of its life, a Metal Halide lamp can deliver a high lumen output. Obviously, this lumen output is related to efficiency. However, give it six months or so and 20% of that lumen output will be lost as the bulb degrades. It’ll still be consuming the same amount of energy though, meaning it’s getting more and more inefficient. And by the time it’s reached its half lifetime it’ll need replacing because it won’t deliver the quantity and quality of light needed.

The way Metal Halides cast their light, compared to LEDs, can lead to further inefficiencies. Metal Halides throw light in all directions and to focus it on a target they need reflectors. These reflectors aren’t nearly as efficient as the optical systems, such as lenses, used in LEDs. So, straightaway with Metal Halides you’re looking at an effective light loss of 20 to 50% depending on the photometrics you want to achieve.

Just remember too… A well-built LED will achieve around 110 to 130 lumen per watt. Whereas with Metal Halides, after taking optical losses into consideration, you’re looking at only 70 lumen per watt. That’s costing you twice the installed power to achieve the same lighting levels! What’s there to think about?

Light quality and CRI

All the light emitted from LEDs is in the visible spectrum. But when it comes to Metal Halide lamps, as well as visible light, they emit both infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) light. The IR emitted is one of the reasons Metal Halides are so inefficient compared to LEDs as you’re wasting energy on heat. The UV light emitted doesn’t waste much energy. Too much exposure to it in a confined space could cause skin damage and health issues, however.

Metal Halides don’t fare well compared to LEDs when it comes to their colour deviation and Colour Rendering Index (CRI) values. With a well built LED system both colour deviation and CRI changes don’t really come into play. As Metal Halide lamps age though, you’ll get colour deviation, and the CRI value won’t be stable. In fact, with Metal Halides you can only be sure of the CRI when it’s very first installed – it starts to change very soon after.

Controls

LEDs can be turned on and off thousands of times a second with no impact on lifetime or performance. Which makes them perfect for things like light shows in places like large sporting venues. It also means they can be used with controls such as motion sensors to dim or turn them on and off instantly when required – helping save money lighting areas when they’re not needed.

Because they’re electromechanical Metal Halide lamps need time to reach full power. And when they’re turned off, you’ll need to wait fifteen minutes or more for them to cool and restart before they can reach full power again. So in terms of controls, the best you can do is dim them with voltage regulators – which are very expensive. You’ll also have to invest in having a separate power line for them so they can be dimmed independently of any other systems.

So why are Metal Halide systems going cheap?

We’re not going to ‘pull any punches’ here. Basically, because of all the reasons above, the Metal Halide era is coming to or has already reached its end. And to clear their stocks, manufacturers are cutting their prices. An added issue that’s starting to emerge is that once those stocks are cleared, finding replacement parts is going to become impossible.

Paolo Corno, Technical Director & Co-Founder, Midstream Lighting

With over ten years of LED lighting industry experience, Paolo is an invaluable and highly regarded member of our core leadership team.
Coming on board as one of the company’s co-founders in 2013, Paolo’s responsible for overseeing our Lighting Design, Engineering, and R&D Teams. He personally leads the design and development of Midstream’s comprehensive product portfolio – including the Atlas, Titan and Modus Floodlight Series – which are installed in over 85 airports globally.

An experienced designer, who holds a degree from Bocconi University in Milan, Paolo has led the design of over 100 LED lighting solutions in the aviation, maritime, sports and horticultural markets. ensuring that all national, local, industry and customer requirements are met.

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November 17th, 2020

Understanding colour shift… made easy

If you trawl the internet for ‘colour shift’ you’ll come up with hundreds of results. The problem is though, whilst they’re all talking about the same thing, they often approach it from different angles. In most cases, you’ll need a Ph.D. in Physics to understand what they’re saying too.

So, in true Midstream style, we’re going to keep this really simple. And if you’ve got any questions, or want to learn more, no problem. Just contact us.

What is colour shift?

Colour shift is a deviation from the originally selected colour which happens on the LED chip. Generally, this shift usually goes to the blue end of the spectrum – so you lose the spectrum outside of the blue emissions. However, this deviation can affect green and red emissions too. Different chips will deviate to a different colour depending on the characteristics of the phosphorus used in the LED chip.

Perhaps the easiest way to think of colour shift is that it’s effectively lumen depreciation in specific parts of the LED’s colour spectrum.

Why does it happen?

Colour shift can happen for a number of reasons.

One of the most common is caused by defects in the chip during the production of the LED. Another reason is due to a problem with the application of the chip’s phosphors coating. This coating converts the invisible, pure UV emissions into visible light and can change its characteristics over its lifetime.

The biggest cause though is nothing to do with the chip itself but is due to its misuse by the luminaire manufacturer. This can be because:

  • They’ve mounted the chip on the board incorrectly.
  • They’re driving the LED too hard beyond its effective design parameters.
  • Or, because of luminaire design issues, it isn’t being cooled sufficiently.
How do you recognise it?

Easily. You can see it with the human eye and measure it with the right equipment, such as a spectroradiometer. The extent to which you can recognise it – by sight or measurement – depends on how bad the colour shift is. This in turn can depend on how poor the product quality is, or how much the chip is being overheated. Either way, a rapid colour shift will usually result in the complete failure of the LED board in a very short time.

How can you prevent it?

A good place to start is chip selection. Using the right chip for the required application will help stop any colour shift. So, when you choose this crucial part of your luminaire you need to assess its lifetime depreciation by looking at its LM80 data. This will give you a good guide as to how a chip will age. You can find out more about LM80 here.

Also, make sure the PCB board manufacture has good quality assurance systems in place and follows the chip manufacturer’s mounting instructions to the letter.

The best way to prevent it however is by putting extra care into the heat management of the luminaire. A well cooled, quality LED, even if it’s being driven by high currents, will rarely suffer from colour shift. This is why when we’re developing a new product, we always put heat management at the top of our key considerations – unlike some companies we won’t mention.

How does it differ from lumen depreciation?

General lumen depreciation is where the total light emission decreases across the whole spectrum. And, as we’ve already said, colour shift is in a way is lumen depreciation that happens more in certain parts of the spectrum. For example, a shift to blue just means you’re losing more flux from the rest of the spectrum and not an increase in the blue area.

Does it affect all the luminaires in the same location in the same way?

It depends on the cause of the shift. If it’s due to a production defect, the luminaires may be affected in different ways in the same location.

If it’s a result of poor heat management or poor chip choice, then all the luminaires in the same location will be affected in the same way.

Does it only concern high-temperature climates?

No. But it is more likely to happen in them because the high working temperatures will cause it to happen faster. A light that may show colour shift in Finland will almost certainly suffer from it in Qatar. So high-temperature climates in a way are the ultimate test in terms of quality and heat management.

Paolo Corno, Technical Director & Co-Founder, Midstream Lighting

With over ten years of LED lighting industry experience, Paolo is an invaluable and highly regarded member of our core leadership team.
Coming on board as one of the company’s co-founders in 2013, Paolo’s responsible for overseeing our Lighting Design, Engineering, and R&D Teams. He personally leads the design and development of Midstream’s comprehensive product portfolio – including the Atlas, Titan and Modus Floodlight Series – which are installed in over 85 airports globally.
An experienced designer, who holds a degree from Bocconi University in Milan, Paolo has led the design of over 100 LED lighting solutions in the aviation, maritime, sports and horticultural markets. ensuring that all national, local, industry and customer requirements are met.

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Sep 4th, 2020

Meet Marco Cavallotti – our Italian Maestro

In this latest edition of ‘Meet the team’, we’re talking to Marco Cavallotti – Project Manager at our Italian R&D office. He came to do his university internship with us, and we were so impressed we’ve kept hold of him ever since. Find out why, and what a key role he plays in Midstream.

What’s your role here at Midstream?

I’m a Project Manager here in our Italian Office. So, my main role is pulling together all the details and requirements of a project when it comes in. Then I follow it all the way through to make sure it happens.

I manage our Lighting Designers too. I work with, and support, them to come up with each project’s design solution.

Once they have, it’s my responsibility to build all the project’s technical support materials. These contain everything the installer will need to complete the project onsite, such as the right aiming of the lights.

I’m also the first point of contact for any questions the customer or installer may have during the installation too.

How did you end up at Midstream and how long have you been in the business?

As part of my University degrees, especially my Masters, I’d studied engineering lighting in depth. So, I already had a great deal of knowledge in all of the scientific, technical, and regulatory aspects involved. I’d also gained a lot of hands-on experience with things like CAD software. So, I had the right background.

For the final part of my degree, I came here to do an internship. After a week I was offered a six-month contract as a Lighting Designer. This then became a permanent role. After around 18 months I was promoted to Project Manager to oversee all the other designers.

You’re based in our R&D HQ in Italy. Tell us more about the Italian team and office.

Paolo Corno, our Technical Director and Co-founder, oversees the entire operation here. He’s developed a real ‘family’ feel amongst the team so we’re all there to support each other. There’s just the right mix of professionalism and informality to make sure we get the work done to the highest standards possible and enjoy it. Together they make it a great place to work.

We’re quite a young team. This reflects the unique way Midstream works. We prefer to develop and train our people from scratch – in the Midstream way. We think it’s one of the reasons we’re the industry’s No.1 player. We recruit either straight from University or after someone has had their first job if we believe they’re the right fit for us. And when they join, they spend four to six months training on our way of working and products before they start any actual work.

Having a tightly integrated team is extremely essential for the beginning to end product development and design we do. Everyone here is involved in the process. So, we can respond very quickly to clients’ needs and develop solutions and new best-in-class products if that’s what’s needed.

How many lighting projects do you think you’ve been involved with?

It’s so many now, I’ve lost count. I’d say I’ve been involved in around 90% of all our projects in some way or the other, but so have most of our team, we’re an extremely slick machine supporting clients right the way through the lighting process.

What’s been the most memorable project you have worked on?

One of the most memorable that stands out was also one of the most challenging.
A German company, Fraport, had taken control of 14 Greek airports. They all needed a considerable amount of overall upgrading– including their lighting.
That made it a big single project made up of 14 inter-related projects. So, for example, an engineering or process change in one airport could have a knock-on effect for the rest, including their lighting.

This meant we had to go through multiple lighting design revisions. As Project Manager, it was my role to make sure all the revisions tracked through to all our designs for each airport. That made it an extra big challenge. And I’m very proud we got all of it 100% right. It was also one of the first times I’d had the opportunity to propose the location of new poles. Seeing something there in real life that you’d designed on paper is very cool.

What do you find most challenging?

We’ve always got lots of things going on, and new things coming in. Sometimes lead times are very short too. So, keeping everything up to date and being able to respond to any question on any of them, at any time, is a challenge. I’ve got that logical sort of brain though that responds to it – even down to remembering how a particular client likes to receive their documentation.

You do a lot of site visits. Why is that important for Midstream?

Clients and installers find it very reassuring to have a qualified engineer there on site. If anything needs sorting, 99 times out of a 100, we can do it there and then in minutes. There’s no need for emails going backwards and forwards.

It also gives you the time to develop real relationships with people. They’re not just a project or a number on a spread-sheet. They are people and like being treated as people. That’s a big plus point for us versus our competition.

It’s also hugely important and useful for us. If we’re launching a new product, nothing beats being there to see it in action, out of the lab. We can also make sure a project installation comes to life the way we intended. We do this for projects big and small.

Delivering quality is at our heart. It’s one of the key things we guarantee our clients.

Tell us a little about you outside of work? What do you get up to?

I love to travel, but my main passion is motorsports. Formula 1 to MotoGP, I love it all. Just don’t get me talking about Hamilton versus Rossi. I know who’s best!

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July 27th, 2020

LM79 and LM80 – a short overview

Paolo, What are LM79 and LM80?

Before the introduction of LM79 and LM80, there were no standard ways to meaningfully compare manufactures’ data on their luminaires. This was because they were free to publish data based on their own different types of tests.
This was resolved when the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) introduced these two standard methodologies.

LM79 measures a luminaire’s performance as a whole and covers things such as output/flux, colour characteristics, light distribution, power use, and overall effectiveness. The European equivalent of LM79 is the EN 13032-4:2015.

LM80 just covers an LED’s lighting depreciation and can be used to determine the lifetime of a product.

How accurate are they at predicting performance in the field?

LM79 data gives the exact figure of what a luminaire is emitting down to one lumen. So, it’s as accurate as you can get. Of course, there’s always going to be a small difference between each luminaire produced and its flux. This is so small though it’s insignificant.
LM80 data is based on large sample tests of LEDs over a long time. So, it’s pretty accurate.

Are these values easy to fake?

No, and in a way, yes. But ultimately no.

Most of the time external labs are used. So, producing fake results is impossible.

To fake them you’d have to have control over the lab testing and the data produced. It’s only very large manufactures that have their own labs. And it’s down to their honesty to release accurate data. As these in-house labs have to be certified, and regularly recertified by external labs, it’s highly unlikely they’d take that risk.

Can we compare one luminaire’s value to another?

Yes. You can compare these results on paper. But the best comparison is always the lighting simulation data.

What should the end-user consider when looking at these values?

LM79 is just supporting documentation to confirm the numbers used in a simulation are correct. But with that alone, you can’t choose which product is the best. It’s just a guarantee that someone is using the correct data to run a simulation.

LM80 depreciation values are obviously useful to consider too.

The best things to look at when you want to choose between products are the simulations themselves. That’s where you’ll always get the most useful data.

Paolo Corno, Technical Director & Co-Founder, Midstream Lighting

With over ten years of LED lighting industry experience, Paolo is an invaluable and highly regarded member of our core leadership team. Coming on board as one of the company’s co-founders in 2013, Paolo’s responsible for overseeing our Lighting Design, Engineering, and R&D Teams. He personally leads the design and development of Midstream’s comprehensive product portfolio – including the Atlas, Titan and Modus Floodlight Series – which are installed in over 85 airports globally.

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July 22nd, 2020

Meet Hetty Leiwy – from A to Z, she pulls everything together

As the saying goes, ‘If the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, it can only lead to chaos.’. That’s never a problem here at Midstream.

In this latest edition of ‘Meet the team’, we’re talking to Hetty Leiwy. A key member of our technical sales team. From a client’s first contact to seeing a project fully up and running, Hetty makes sure everyone knows what and when they need to do to make it happen.

Hetty Leiwy, Bid Manager - Midstream Lighting

How did you end up working for Midstream?

After finishing my Masters Degree in Physics, I worked in a back-up power and cooling systems company. I wanted to move back to London, however. So, I started looking for a similar technical role in the area. When I met the Midstream team, I instantly knew I wanted to work here. The company’s cutting edge products, dedicated people, and fast growth make it such an exciting place to work.

How long have you been in the business?

Just over a year now. But it doesn’t feel that long. It’s really flown by.

What’s your role here at Midstream?

I work in technical sales. This involves reviewing a client’s requests. And then working with our teams to make sure the solution they arrive at meets the project’s needs 100%. I’m also responsible for putting together tender packages.

What do you find most challenging about your role?

We’ve always got a large volume of project requests coming in. We have sector specialists in our Design and Engineering Teams though. That makes it easy to decide who is best suited to pick each project up. It’s only ever a challenge when something is so different it may need input from multiple teams. We’re always ready to help support each other and work together though. So, even then, it’s a challenge easily solved.

You take a very detailed approach to your work. How important is this in your role?

Hugely. It’s what it’s all about. We’re known for designing ‘best-in-class’ products and delivering projects to the highest standards. For that to happen we need a thorough understanding of a client’s needs from the beginning. That’s where I come in. I make sure there’s an accurate flow of information from the client, to our Design Team and on to the Project Delivery Team.

What’s been the most memorable project you have worked on?

When you start a new job, the first project you get to work on always has a special place in your heart. For me, it was Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan. We were upgrading an existing metal-halide system to LED. To see in the flesh what an amazing impact Midstream can have on the running of an airport is something I’ll never forget. Not only did the upgrade triple the airport’s light levels, its energy use was cut by 66% too. A great ‘win-win’ for the airport and the environment.

How many projects do you think you’ve worked on in your time here?

Lots. It’s not the number that stands out though. It’s the projects. The relationships you make along the way. And the satisfaction and pride you have when that ‘switch’ gets turned on for the first time. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that.

What do you think makes Midstream stand out from the competition?

Simply, we’re not a ‘Jack of all trades and a master of none.’. We specialise in our key sectors – Aviation, Sports, Maritime, and Horticulture. And our teams’ in-depth industry knowledge means we can design, develop, and continue to innovate unbeatable, tailor-made solutions for each sector.

Tell us a little about you outside of work? What do you get up to?

I do a bit of running and yoga. I’ve also been doing a part-time psychotherapy course and I’m planning on doing voluntary counseling work once I’ve finished.

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July 1st, 2020

Product certification – our expert’s guide to why, what, how… and more

Product certification is something you can’t ignore – especially when it comes to electrical safety. But it can be a bit of an ordeal to navigate your way around its complexities. How do you know what products must be certified? Who do you need to certify them with? And do you have to get your products certified in every country you operate?

Andrea Peratello, our product manager, is responsible for overseeing the manufacturing process and certification of all Midstream products. So, we’ve asked him to guide us through the world of CEs, ENECs, ULs, and CBs

Andrea, why do we have product certification?

Nearly every product needs some sort of certification to prove it complies with market standards.

So, to keep this as short, focused, and useful I’m just going to talk about electrical products. And the short answer here, on the whole, is customer safety. Here it’s not a ‘nice to have’ – it’s absolutely essential and in most cases mandatory. There are also benefits for manufactures to make sure their products have been certified too.

Let’s look at customer safety first. Imagine Christmas is approaching, and you need to get your child the latest, must-have, electronic walking and talking doll. Which would you feel more comfortable buying? The official version that’s been thoroughly tested, certified as safe, and has the quality marks to prove it? Or one from a local market that looks virtually the same, but hasn’t got any product certification marks? I know which I’d go for. In this context, it’s all about guaranteeing product quality and giving customers peace-of-mind.

For manufactures, having your products certified can give you a competitive edge. And, if the worst should happen and one of your products develops a serious fault, it shows you’ve put product testing and your customers’ safety high on your agenda. Would you like to turn up in court with no proof you’ve done either of these?

What is the CE mark?

The Conformité Européene (European Conformity) CE mark is an EU wide compulsory, quality standard mark.

It’s there to show a manufacturer guarantees a product complies with any relevant European Directives. And if you want to market any product or an updated version of it, you need to make sure it carries the CE mark – no matter where it’s made in the world.

For some industries, like ours, this guarantee and use of the mark can be based on a manufacturer’s tests only. A word of warning though, you can’t just make up your own tests. They must prove you’re meeting the relevant directives. And whatever you do, don’t forget to keep all your test documents and results so you can prove what you claim. Believe it or not, some companies have failed to keep their results and have had to face the consequences of not having them.

However, third-party testing and verification are needed in some other industries, like medical equipment manufacturing.

What about the ENEC mark? If I’ve got my CE mark do I need this too?

ENEC (European Norms European Certification) is the EU quality mark especially for electrical products, including lighting. It doesn’t replace or take priority over CE certification – so you’ll still need that.

It’s there to prove your products are safe in accordance with any relevant EU regulations or directives, like the Low Voltage Directive. It’s a voluntary mark, so you don’t need to get it.
But, as I was saying earlier, it’s additional proof for customers that your product is safe. And having it can help you stand out from any competitors who don’t.

To use the ENEC mark on your products they all need to be independently tested by laboratories such as BSI. And they need to be retested every two years to allow you to keep using the mark.

The USA has its own UL marking. Is it different from European markings?

UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, a USA third-party certification company founded in 1894.

UL no-longer just tests products, however. It’s now responsible for setting industry standards on products being marketed in the USA. It can also authorise manufactures to test and certify their products using UL standards.

The UL certification covers a broad variety of goods – not just electrical products. Just like the European CE and ENEC marks in Europe, it’s there to show a product has passed tests and it complies with U.S. and Canadian safety standards.

The UL mark isn’t 100% mandatory. But, to give you some idea if its reach and importance, around 14 billion products with the UL seal of approval enter the global marketplace each year.

What about the CB (Certification Body) scheme? What does that do?

Basically, the CB scheme is there to save you the time, hassle, and money of having to get your product certified for each market’s regulations.

It’s based on a multilateral agreement on the use of internationally recognised electrical and electronic product safety standards. And it operates through a global network of CB laboratories who test products to confirm they meet the standards needed.

These laboratories submit their results to national certification bodies, like UL. These certification bodies can then allow access to their markets for CB tested products. So there’s no need for further, potentially costly, and time-consuming national testing.

This doesn’t mean only one mark is needed to cover all markets though. It just makes getting, for example, the UL mark easier if you already have your ENEC mark.

How is certification checked?

After you’ve done all the work to get your products certified it’s not the time to sit back and think you’ve done all you need. Far from it.

You have to keep making sure your product maintains its standards. This is because compliance with ENEC and UL standards is strictly monitored by third-parties – who can do things like factory inspections to scrutinise manufacturing processes. And if your standards have slipped, you’ll lose the right to use their marks.

If you want to see if a particular product has achieved an ENEC or UL mark, you can easily check their certified product databases. They’re there for anyone to consult.

Is there any extra testing needed to work at airports, ports, and sports stadia?

No. The CE, ENEC, and UL don’t have any additional tests or requirements for working in these areas. Horticultural lighting, another of our sectors, is on the whole subject to the same electrical safety standards as traditional lighting. However, UL has recently introduced UL 8800 that includes a new series of product evaluations for things like the photobiological effects on the human eyes and skin of a light source. This is particularly relevant to horticultural lighting.

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