December 18th, 2020

Why is shipping not talking about the terminal of today?

The technological evolution of the shipping industry is happening now. Global environmental targets are helping to drive up the value and prevalence of existing and emerging technologies, as well as unlocking operational efficiencies. Saving energy, increasing productivity and cutting costs, are being prioritised like never before.

One area where we see huge opportunity to harness automation is in ports and terminals, with the cost savings, increased productivity, safety benefits and sustainability gains of automation yet to be fully exploited by owners and operators. In fact, we are barely scratching the surface of what is possible.

In our recent webinar Terminal Automation: Past, present, and future innovation, in which we were joined by Timo Alho, VP, Terminal Design Services, Kalmar and Luis Canto, CTO, MMC Ports, it was agreed that it was not the lack of available technologies that was limiting uptake but industry reserve. Our panelists noted that significant operational automation is limited to only 10-15% of the 1,500+ container terminals around the world. This low uptake is a surprise and a missed opportunity. Yes, it requires investment, but there is a cost in failing to make the investments that are proven to deliver greater efficiencies and a significant reduction in costs in years to come.

This leads us to conclude that there needs to be a pivot in current conversation about the investment needs of the ports sector. The future-gazing concept of the ‘terminal of the future’ now seems overused and somewhat damaging to progress. With the decisions made by today’s port and terminal owners and operators key in building the maritime hubs of the future, we must instead be talking about the terminal of today. What investment decisions should owners and operators be taking now in order to unlock returns?

LED lighting is one example of the proven technologies that have a vast multiplier effect on the value of other investments in infrastructure and technological improvements that are within reach for all ports and terminals. These will be key to enabling the ‘terminal of the future’.

Investment in improvements such as new cranes or automation will only be enabled to fulfill their true potential – and their full ROI – if ports also invest in upgrading their lighting infrastructure. This is an investment that pays dividends in improved productivity, safety and security, as well as significantly reduced energy consumption and lower energy bills – a focus that will gain further prominence over the next decade.

The growth curve for the adoption of technologies, such as LED lighting is steady rather than spectacular, with many holding off from investing in terminal automation and new technologies; perhaps because of the misconception that these are tomorrow’s solutions, rather than todays. Those that fall into this pattern of thinking are at risk of losing out on the benefits. Investment comes with a price tag, but so does inaction.

Whilst we understand that when prioritising investment opportunities in your terminal, it is easy to be attracted by a future-gazing approach, inadequate lighting is a significant limiting factor on performance today and one that must be acknowledged if we are to increase terminal automation beyond 15% worldwide.

As the global economy prepares for an era of post-COVID economic recovery, ports and terminal owners and operators should begin by focusing on the fundamentals; one of those fundamentals being long-lasting and highly efficient LED lighting. From Los Angeles to Aarhus, and from Venice to Belawan, investing in high-grade LED lighting can illuminate the pathway for many other aspects of port improvement and establish a future that enables fully integrated automation. The time to act is now.

Mark Nailer, Maritime Manager EMEA, Midstream Lighting

Mark has an extensive maritime background, both in the UK and internationally, covering over 11 years. His role here at Midstream is, with our in-house lighting design and engineering teams, to help prospects and customers achieve and maintain the perfect lighting solutions for their operations.

His last position, before joining us, was at Hyster-Yale Group – a major worldwide container handler, lift truck, and general materials handling solutions manufacturer. Whilst he was there, he was appointed as their Industry Manager for Ports and Terminals. Before that, Mark worked at Kelvin Hughes, a maritime radar engineering company that provides solutions for private, commercial, and military markets. So, you can rest assured he knows what he’s talking about.

With a wide-ranging background in Network Partner Management, Mark is also responsible for helping all Midstream Partners across EMEA achieve their business goals.

December 14th, 2020

Meet Carlo Gatti – when it comes to quality, he 100% delivers

We always complete projects on time. We don’t skimp on specifications to make a quick ‘buck’. And we never go over budget. To do that we need, and make sure we have, the best Project Managers in the world.

In this edition of ‘Meet the team’ we’d like to introduce you to our new project management virtuoso – Carlo Gatti.

Could you tell us a little about your background?

As my name suggests I’m Italian and I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Milan. From a very young age I was always fascinated by all things technical. And I was always poking away at all the appliances in the house to see how they worked. I never actually broke anything though. But my parents may tell a different story.

This love of technology naturally led to my studying engineering and I graduated with an MSc in Electrical Engineering.

My first job after graduating was for a company where I designed magnetic cores for current and voltage transformers for railway applications. I loved it. I’m naturally ambitious and wanted to progress my career there. However, as my generation wasn’t taught English at school, I had a problem. Around 75% of the company’s clients were based in foreign countries and English was the common language used. This made it difficult to take part in meetings and client visits and was going to be a barrier to promotion.

So, I decided to leave the company and learn English. Where better to do that than England? I set off with the plan to return to Italy a year later.

After moving to London and several intensive months of English study I was offered a job here as a Network Engineer. I took it and was promoted quickly to a Project Manager, even though I’d not had any project management training. To put that right I studied to gain my PMP and Prince 2 project management certifications.

The company I was working for didn’t do well during the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis. Luckily, however, the perfect role for me came up at Midstream. And I couldn’t resist it.

Why did you decide to join Midstream?

Quality!

There are a lot of companies that don’t put quality at the very top of their priorities. For them, profit is the key thing. Midstream isn’t one of those companies at all. Here, quality is at the very heart of everything we do.

Our in-house Design and Engineering teams are the best in the world. Even though I say so myself, our Project Managers are best-in-class too. Then there are our world-beating products. We don’t believe there’s a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Each of our lighting series has been specially designed for the specific needs of the industries we work with, from aviation to sports to maritime to horticulture. We don’t stop there. We’re always investing in Research & Development, so whatever challenges come along we can more than meet them.

And when we take on a project, we really commit ourselves to it. So clients know we’ll deliver it on time, on specification, and on budget.

All of that is why we’re trusted by so many high-profile global customers, and why we keep winning award after award.

What excites you about your new role?

Everything I’ve just said. Plus, the opportunity to work on the big, challenging, and exciting projects Midstream handles around the world.

The team here is amazing too.

Tell us something your CV doesn’t.

I hope it shows all the things I’d like it to – my ambition to succeed and love for what I do.

One thing it probably doesn’t tell you though, is I’m now a passionate Anglophile. As I said, I originally planned to only stay in London for a year. And years later I’m still here. Many of my friends ask me if I miss Milan’s weather and food. Which I do. But London and the UK have so much more to offer. The beauty and history of London. The wilds of the Scottish Highlands. Fish and chips on Brighton beach. I could go on and on.

What do you do in your spare time?

Tour the UK.

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.

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.

November 4th, 2020

The lights come on at AFC Wimbledon’s ‘new’ home – thanks to Midstream

James Brunt, Sports Director.

November 3rd 2020 was a historic day for AFC Wimbledon. After an absence of over 20 years the Dons, as they’re known, were able to return to Wimbledon and host the first match at their newly built Plough Lane stadium.

Wimbledon FC – not to be confused with AFC Wimbledon – played at the Plough Lane stadium for over 80 years. However, in 2001, a consortium of businessmen persuaded them to relocate the club to Milton Keynes – over 60 miles away. And they changed their name to Milton Keynes Dons FC. A large number of fans weren’t happy with this move and decided to launch a new club and start all over again at the bottom of English football. AFC Wimbledon was born.

Even though they couldn’t play at Plough Lane any longer and had to share grounds with Kingstonian FC and QPR, the fans stuck with them. Their loyalty was quickly rewarded. AFC Wimbledon was promoted six times in thirteen seasons – taking them from the ninth tier to the third – League One. They also hold the record for the longest run of unbeaten English senior team league games – 78 from February 2003 to December 2004. They’re the first club formed in the 21st century to make it into the Football League too.

“This project has held a special place in my heart though. Seeing the lights go on! Incredible”

Here at Midstream Lighting we handled the whole lighting project for the new Plough Lane stadium something we’re immensely proud of. For me when you work on any project and you’re there to see your hard work come to life it’s always a moment to be extremely proud and this was no exception.

This project has held a special place in my heart though. I’ve been involved in it for over five years now, initially working with architects and consultants on the design concepts for the new stadium. And to see it all the way to through completion and the incredibly loyal ‘Dons’ fans return to their spiritual home – albeit ‘virtually’ for now because of COVID-19 – has been a wonderful journey. The new stadium will also have a huge impact on the regeneration of the local area. So knowing that is really rewarding too.

“Collaboration has been imperative on this project”

As this has been a totally ‘newbuild’ project there have been a lot of different companies we’ve collaborated with. World-renowned architects KSS, who has worked on many major sports stadia globally, was responsible for the overall design and involved us from the very early concept stage. The main contractor was Buckingham Group – who we’ve worked with often before. And the M&E contractor for the project was Front Five Building Services.
I think it’s fair to say together we made an amazing team, and the results speak for themselves. (Thanks to everyone involved).

“Always on time, on spec and on budget”

We designed, manufactured, and installed the whole LED lighting for the project including the installation of two 25m masts. To provide the lighting levels required for League One we used 52 of our proprietary Modus R Series floodlights. A lightweight, extremely versatile, high powered series, the Modus R has been designed for both retrofit and newbuild sports stadia projects. And it delivers low-glare, broadcast ready, flicker-free ready LED lighting.
Our in-house lighting design team also future-proofed the whole solution so that if, or we should say when, the Dons get promoted to the Championship League the system can be quickly upgraded to meet the lighting levels needed there too. And of course, as we do with every Midstream project, we delivered it on time, on spec, and on budget.

As soon as you get the chance, head down to Plough Lane and see the power of LED sports lighting in action. You’ll also be guaranteed to see some great action on the pitch too.

Come on the Dons!

James Brunt, Director of Sports, Midstream Lighting.

James heads up our Sports Lighting Division. With 16 years’ industry experience, spanning the delivery of grassroots facilities all the way through to world-class sporting stadiums, James is a trusted advisor throughout the industry and recognised for his unrivalled expertise.

October 8th, 2020

Port Efficiencies Webinar

We were pleased to join the APP for their first Virtual Workshop on the 8th of October 2020. With a theme of Port Efficiencies, our US Maritime Sales Manager, Rory McBride led attendees through the benefits derived from proper terminal lighting, notably, how ports are able to realize a significant return on investment as well as provide a more environmentally sustainable alternative to old lighting systems.

Sep 1st, 2020

Seven apron floodlighting lessons learned over the years

As LED lighting pioneers, we’ve been working with aviation clients, from major international hubs to regional airports to military facilities, for over a decade. And we’re masters at making LED lighting solutions for airport aprons.

Here are just some of the lessons we’ve learned over the last ten years.

Lesson One: Apron lighting must be a design-led solution

Most people working on the airfield side of an airport will be familiar with Airfield Ground Lighting (AGL). They’re very standard products. It doesn’t matter who you buy them from, things like their output, size and optics will be almost the same.

But with LED floodlighting that’s not the case. You can’t assume a 600W floodlight from one supplier will behave in the same way as a 600W floodlight from another. They can in fact perform very differently.

This means you can’t approach a potential supplier saying ‘We’ve had a design from a supplier using 123 pieces of 400W floodlights. Can you give us a quote for the same number so we can use that as your competitive bid?’.

Unfortunately, you can’t just do that as floodlights will vary depending on their photometry and efficacy – the efficiency of useful light on the ground. So, you could have a 400W floodlight, with the right optics, performing better much than a more ‘powerful’ 600W one.

Another important factor to consider is how well products will fare over time. LED lighting will degrade, just like sodium or metal halide lighting – at a much slower rate though. But you still need to know by how much and over what time period. Again, this will be different for each manufacture and will certainly depend on the environment in which they operate

So, a manufacturer’s design and quote for a project must be based on their actual products. If they’re not, you can’t make any meaningful comparison.

The lesson here, in summary, is don’t try to compare ‘apples with oranges’.

Lesson Two: Test, measure and verify

Let’s move on to the next phase of a project.

You’ve chosen a supplier. Their design works – on paper. You know it meets or exceeds your needs. And it’s on budget. You give it the green light and it gets completed. You may think that’s it, job done.

But it’s not.

You’ve got to check that what was promised in the design phase is true to real life and it really complies with or exceeds what’s required by your local aviation authority.

Here’s an example why. Istanbul Airport asked 10 major lighting suppliers to pitch for an upgrade to the airport’s lighting. As part of the pitch process, they asked each supplier to set up two test poles to demonstrate they could reach the compliance levels shown in their designs. 80% didn’t pass the test. The Airport Authority was very relieved they ran the test!

And you need to go on testing and verifying your lighting regularly, with a documented testing methodology, to make sure it stays compliant.

As an example, Frankfurt Airport had a new system installed during the winter. After live testing, it was confirmed it matched the light levels needed. In fact, the lighting exceeded what was required, as a ‘buffer’ had been allowed for in the design. Six months later, in the summer, when they ran the tests again, the levels had fallen by 20%. They were still within the required levels though because of the ‘buffer’. The airport however was obviously concerned why they’d fallen and what would happen in the coming months and years. When they tested again in the winter, the lighting was back to its original levels. It was the ambient temperature change between the winter and the summer that was having an effect. By factoring this into their testing methodology they were able to make true comparisons going forwards, test after test.

The lesson here? Test, measure, and verify regularly to make sure you stay compliant with regulations. And going a bit above and beyond what’s required in the standards is never a bad idea…

Lesson Three: Optics rule

Glare is the enemy of all airports. It primarily affects pilots and can cause not just discomfort but also temporary blindness, which in turn can lead to accidents. So, from a health and safety standpoint reducing glare is exceedingly high on an airport’s agenda.

This is where the optics used come into play.

In virtually all the projects we’ve done, we’ve used our proprietary asymmetric optics. Why? Simply because they deliver a low glare output spread over a large angle compared to symmetric optics. We also make sure that they have a full cut-off above the horizontal plane to further reduce the chance of any glare issues.

The result is lower glare, not just for pilots but for ground staff too.

This lesson? Put your supplier under the spotlight when it comes to glare and get a guarantee it won’t be a problem for you.

Lesson Four: Pay cheap – pay twice

When it comes to virtually any project, engineers want to use premium products to give the best possible outcome. Finance departments, however, are usually focused on the price. And this can cause problems.

We’ve heard many ‘horror stories’ where the budget has been the primary reason for choosing a particular supplier’s solution.

In one case, because the luminaire’s heat dissipation wasn’t up to the job, the LEDs burnt themselves out so much, they actually fell off their circuit board.

In another, cheap floodlights were used and within six months nearly all of them had failed. They were replaced under warranty. But within another six months, they’d failed again. To solve the problem once and for all, the airport had to approve a new budget for a more expensive, more resilient solution.

So, remember these three things:

  • Apron floodlighting is part of your critical infrastructure. Don’t let budget be your controlling factor when it comes to it. The cost of having a cheaper system can be quickly outweighed by the costs of continued maintenance etc. And just imagine that you had an accident on an apron – if your lighting wasn’t up to prescribed standards you could end up facing huge legal costs.
  • Premium products will almost always outlast low-quality ones. And premium product providers usually will be around for a lot longer than their competitors. Go cheap and you may find that, when problems start to happen later down the line, the company you went for isn’t around to put things right.
  • Contractors are always looking to make as big a margin as they can. They try to reduce costs by taking what’s in the design specification and replacing certain products with cheaper ones. Reducing their cost increases your risk. Don’t let them. Make sure they stick to the specifications to meet your needs.

Compromising on quality can cost you a lot more, in the long run, is the lesson to take out here.

Lesson Five: Remote vs integrated drivers

This is a question we get asked a lot. ‘Is it better to have your drivers in the luminaires or a separate box?’

There are positives and negatives on both sides. Depending on where your airport is based can influence your choice too. In the UK, Italy, and Germany integrated drivers are more common. In France and the US remote drivers are mainly used.

So, make sure your supplier has both options available to meet what you want.

One thing to remember though is voltage spikes are killers when it comes to LED lighting. That’s why surge arrestors are so important. Make sure your supplier’s remote or integrated solution takes voltage spikes into consideration and can protect your lighting.

This lesson is simple, talk to your supplier about which will work best for you and how they’ll protect you from voltage spikes.

Lesson Six: Control and intelligence

Everyone thinks they need controls. But do you really need them? Before you add a control system to your project specification you need to:

  • Decide who will be in charge of the control systems. Will they need to be trained to handle them? Will you need to have 24/7 cover in case something goes wrong?
  • Look at what intelligence they can give you. Is it really that useful to your operation?

Control systems come at a cost. There’s no point in having them if they’re just going to turn your lighting on and off.

The lesson here? If you’re not going to see any additional benefits from having them, don’t be convinced by your supplier to buy them.

Lesson Seven: Yellow vs white? Which is best.

Another question we get asked quite often is, ‘For fog dissipation is yellow or white light the best?’.

Most people think yellow light is. But in truth, they perform exactly the same as each other.

Why? Fog droplets are on average, much smaller than cloud droplets. But they are still huge compared to the wavelengths of visible light. So the scattering of such light by fog is essentially wavelength independent. Car manufactures have known this for years and that’s why they don’t use yellow fog lights any longer.

This last lesson learned is a simple one. Don’t worry about it.

That’s it your seven lessons learned! Fill in your details below to watch the 7 Lesson Learned webinar recording

Yuli Grig, Commercial Director & Co-Founder, Midstream Lighting

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.

Sep 23rd, 2020

Introducing Mark Nailer – our new maritime man

In this latest ‘Meet the team’ we’d like to introduce you to Mark Nailer. The most recent member to join the Midstream crew, Mark will be responsible for all things maritime across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Could you tell us a little about your maritime background and experience in the industry?

My maritime experience goes back to when I first left university. I joined Kelvin Hughes, a maritime engineering company that manufactured radar equipment for private, commercial, and military vessels.

After a couple of years there I decided to go back to university and study for an MSc in Marketing.

Fast forward several years, and a few marketing and sales jobs in places like AXA PPP Healthcare, and I joined the Hyster Yale Group. At Hyster, I’ve spent the last five years working on reach stackers, empty container handlers, and forklift trucks used in port and terminals. During this time I became the Industry Manager for Ports and Terminals.

What made you want to join us?

Midstream is a company that’s already achieved so much, in just ten years. It’s a dynamic and innovative team that’s totally focused on customers and solving their needs. I want to be part of the next chapter in the Midstream story and help shape the future of the business. The energy in the office is amazing too. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

What will your new role at Midstream be? And what regions will you be looking after?

I’m going to be responsible for growing the business within ports and terminals in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. It is a large area, but thanks to the partner network we’re developing, I’m confident we’ll be able to win and service customers from all parts of the region.

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

I’ve been working with dealers for over seven years now and I’ve picked up many tips along the way! One of the most important being that you need to build relationships through respect, honesty, trust, and shared success.

Partners need to be treated as true partners and not merchants. That’s key to creating teams who can work together and put the needs of customers first above anything else.

And you need to treat customers the way you’d like to be treated if you were them.

You’ve always been focused on driving operational efficiencies to the ports and terminals you worked with. Now with a focus on LED lighting how will this help efficiencies?

Reliability is everything for ports and terminals. Our customers need to have solutions they can trust. Having an operation that’s capable of working 24/7 is critical to their success.

Efficiency isn’t just measured by the boxes moved though. It’s also about the number of lights used to achieve the required levels and the amount of energy spent to do it. In both cases LED lighting is light years ahead of metal halide and high-pressure sodium systems. LED lighting requires much less maintenance too – another big plus point in its favour.

You’ve worked all over the world. What’s been the most memorable project you have worked on?

That’s a great question and for me it’s an easy one to answer, because I came up with it and championed it from the beginning to end.
In 2018 Hyster made history by being the first OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to sail up and down the Rhine on a barge laden with over £1m of materials handling equipment to showcase to ports along the river.

Over four weeks we sailed the barge from the Netherlands, through Germany, France, and down to Switzerland. And we stopped off in each country to do four massive live events, as well as a number of smaller, more personalised, stops along the way. If you can imagine the complexity of such a project and then double it, still you wouldn’t be there.

The whole event was a massive success. We smashed our return on investment targets. We won a number of very high-value new customers. We all came away with some wonderful memories. And I got to experience living on a barge for weeks. All in all – amazing.

How does Midstream differentiate itself from the competition?

Midstream is unique in the market. From design to delivery and installation, the whole process is handled in-house. This means our customers get the benefit of the team’s experience, innovation, and focus from start to finish. We’re not a ‘generalist’ company either. We work in our four sectors only – Maritime, Aviation, Sports, and Horticulture – so our research and development is centred on just these customers. And our solutions stand out head and shoulders above the competition because of that.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love the idea of having spare time! My wife and I are very lucky to have two boys, aged seven and four. So, any time not working is spent with the boys bike riding, playing rugby, and football. I do love to read though, and my guilty pleasure is 20-30 minutes with a good book before bed.

And finally, for a little fun, tell us something about yourself we don’t already know?

I’ll tell you a couple.

Firstly, I’ve got a greenhouse where I grow all sorts of weird and wonderful chillies, ranging from the exotic to the just downright dangerous.

Secondly, when the stars align and I do get a few hours for myself, I love to go out to my local lake and do a little fly fishing. I’m still only learning, so whether I bring home that evening’s supper is still a bit hit and miss. But I love the peace and quiet that being on the water’s edge gives. I’d recommend it to anyone.

Sep 22nd, 2020

Football Pitch Lighting: England, Scotland, Wales, and UEFA

Depending on where a club is based and what level it plays at the rules governing the quality of pitch lighting needed can vary greatly.

The Football Association (FA) has its own rules. As do the Scottish Football Association (SFA), and the Football Association of Wales (FAW). And all clubs in each of these associations playing at a premier level are governed by the Union of European Associations (UEFA) regulations.

So, to help you understand what regulations your club has to comply with we’ve created this simple guide. It covers the regulations for each association in turn. Each one has its own classification system. So, we’ve put a note below each chart to let you know how they are ordered.

We’ve also pulled together a quick ‘at-a-glance’ chart to make comparing them as easy as possible.

Two terms you need to know

The two metrics used to grade lighting used here are lux and uniformity. Here’s what they mean in layman’s terms:

  • Lux – A measure of the intensity of light that hits a surface. The higher the lux, the brighter the light.
  • Uniformity – The uniformity of illuminance in terms of how evenly light is distributed over a given surface. The higher the figure, the more evenly light is spread.
Help is at hand

We’ve tried to keep this guide as simple as possible. If there’s anything you don’t understand, or you have any questions, we’re here to help. Just call us on +020 8038 7432 and one of our Sports Lighting specialists will be happy to help.

The FA Regulations

N.B. In this chart Grade G is the lowest level and Grade A the highest. League and Premier League clubs are covered by UEFA Regulations.

This Chart is from Page 5 of the FA Guide to Floodlighting Regs: see the full guide here.

The SFA Regulations

Chart is from page 29 of the Scottish FA Club licensing manual.

Clubs are required to have a floodlight system at the ground. To meet the Platinum standard not shown in the above chart, the club will be able to provide a back-up power supply which will provide two-thirds of normal power.

In the case of a Platinum, the floodlighting lux level is required to be: Average – 1200 lux and 0.45 uniformity

N.B. In this chart Bronze is the lowest level and Platinum the highest. Scottish Premier League clubs are covered by UEFA Regulations.

FAW Regulations
Category Lux Uniformity
Tier 1 500 lux N/A
Tier 2 250 lux N/A
Tier 3 250 lux N/A

N.B. In this chart Tier 3 is the lowest level and Tier 5 the highest. Cymru Premier League clubs are covered by UEFA Regulations.

UEFA Regulations

Chart is from Page 12 of the UEFA Stadium Infrastructure Regulations Guide: see the full guide here.

N.B. In this chart Grade 1 is the lowest level and Grade 4 the highest.

An ‘at-a-glance’ comparison

This chart compares the lux and uniformity levels of each regulatory body.

Regulatory body Their classification grouping Lux level Uniformity
FA Grade A (Step 1) Conference 250 0.25
Grade B (Step 2) Conference 180 0.25
Grade C (Step 3) Conference 120 (180) 0.25
Grade D (Step 4) Conference 120 (180) 0.25
Grade E (Step 4-5) Conference 120 (180) 0.25
Grade F (Step 5) Conference 120 (180) 0.25
Grade G (Step 3) Conference 120 (180) 0.25

N.B. Where the lux levels are given as ‘120 (180)’, the 120 figures show the minimum for any existing lighting systems. 180 figures show the lux levels that will need to be achieved if there is a lighting upgrade at any point.

Regulatory body Their classification grouping Lux level Uniformity
SFA Platinum 250 0.25
Gold 180 0.25
Silver 120 (180) 0.25
Bronze 120 (180) 0.25
Entry 120 (180) 0.25
WFA Tier 1 500 N/A
Tier 2 250 N/A
Tier 3 250 N/A
UEFA Category 4 1,400 0.5
Category 3 1,200 0.4
Category 2 800 0.4
Category 1 N/A N/a

N.B. Category 1 clubs lux levels don’t apply. However, they should be high enough for matches to be broadcast.

Get in touch if you want to know more

This is just a quick, introductory guide on football pitch lighting. If you’d like to know more – from the benefits to the pitfalls to avoid – our Sports Lighting specialists are here to help.

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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