June 22, 2020

Understanding windage

When it comes to designing industrial lighting solutions, windage is something you ignore at your peril. So, we’ve asked our mechanical engineering guru, Andrea Peratello, to explain what it means and why it’s so important.

What is Windage?

Windage can mean different things to different people. In ballistics, for example, it’s the adjustment that needs to be made to keep a missile on target after taking the wind into account.

However, in our industry, we need to consider its engineering definition. This is where windage refers to the area or shape of an object that makes it susceptible to pressure.

Let me put that into an everyday, easy to understand context. If you’re walking down the road on a windy day you get pushed by the pressure of the wind. That pressure pushing you is called drag or drag force.

If you’re walking head on into a constant wind, you’ll find it harder to walk than if you were walking sideways into it – because the drag is greater. The wind speed is the same, it’s just the amount of your body you’re exposing it to – the windage – that’s changed. And if the wind speed and/or your windage goes up – the drag force goes up and you get blown over.

Why is it important and when does it need to be considered?

When you’re building something, like a large mast holding lots of lights, you want it to stay where it is – not sway around or even worse topple over. This explains why engineers have to think carefully about windage when they’re building something. They also need to take into consideration other things that can add to this drag force e.g. the weight and positioning of the mast and lights.

How do you calculate windage?

In general terms, engineers are less concerned with calculating windage itself – but more with the drag force, it can contribute to. It’s this drag force that can cause damage.

Drag force is easily calculated with this formula:

DRAG= ½ X V2 X ρ X EPA

Where:
V – is the air velocity.
ρ – is the air density.
EPA – is the Effective Projected Area.

And EPA is calculated with this formula:

EPA = Cd X FPA

What’s the difference between EPA and FPA?

Let me try to put this into everyday terms again. Imagine an oblong box with different dimensions on each side. The top, front, and end of the brick each have a different surface area, which is effectively the FPA for that side. And the greater the FPA, the greater the drag. That’s why we need to consider the largest FPA of an object as our worst-case scenario in any calculations we make.

However, we need to consider an object’s aerodynamics also to calculate it’s EPA.

Now imagine a ball and a cylinder of the same diameter. If the wind were blowing directly on the ball and the end of the cylinder, they’d have the same FPA. But because the ball is more aerodynamic the drag force against it is less than the cylinder and it has a lower EPA. That’s why we need to use an object’s drag coefficient and its FPA to get to its EPA, so we can calculate the actual drag.

So, floodlight manufacturers usually characterise the aerodynamics of their products with the maximum EPA value under the Windage tag of the datasheet as a worst-case scenario.

Andrea Peratello, Product manager, Midstream Lighting.

A mechanical engineer, production manager, project leader, and inventor Andrea’s career has been broad and varied. He’s worked in the chemical, mechanical, and electromechanical sectors – where he’s been responsible for the design of products and production equipment.

Andrea holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Politecnico di Torino.

With over 10 years of experience in LED lighting design and delivery, Andrea has boosted the development of all Midstream products inside our Engineering and R&D teams. He’s also responsible for overseeing the product manufacturing process of all our products.

June 17th, 2020

Designing Market-leading Luminaires

Designing or commissioning new luminaires can be a technical nightmare full of pitfalls and problems. So, who better to answer some of the questions we often get asked than our Technical Director, Paolo Corno. With years of experience in designing and delivering lighting solutions, he’s the industry expert.

Paolo Midstream Lighting

Paolo, what are the key things you think about when starting a new project?

The client. The client. The client.

If they’re in a specialised sector their needs can really vary. Airports are totally different from sports stadia – especially when it comes to lighting, believe me.

You need to understand what issues they are looking at and work closely with them to see if they’re the things that really need addressing. Simply selling them the same thing you’ve done for another company can mean you’re not really tackling what’s needed for them and can cause them problems that have to be fixed later.

You’ve also got to understand their business constraints. For example, if they don’t have the money to pay for the solution you suggest, you’ve done nothing for them at all apart from wasting their time. But if you know what’s what you can, more often than not, find a way around these things. I had one client whose budget was incredibly tight, but the problem incredibly big. When we factored in things like payback and reliability though, compared to other ‘traditional’ solutions, it was a ‘no-brainer’ and they got approval for the project as planned.

The next step is totally key. Create a draft project spec that includes input from all the areas of the business involved. And get them all to sign that off too.

What technical qualities do you think are key?

Firstly, delivering the correct light distribution that’s in the tech spec – on budget. We like to call it ‘efficiency through efficacy’. If you can’t get that right, the project has failed – big time.

You’ve also got to take into account things like the materials used. Does it need to be tough enough to withstand a harsh environment where things like corrosion can cause problems such as a port?

Infrastructure costs are highly important too. For example, if it’s a retrofit job, you can keep costs down by designing a solution compact and light enough to go on existing masts.

Making sure your solution is scalable and future-proof is important too. Your client will love you for it and make you their ‘go-to’ supplier in the future.

What tools and software do you use when designing a new luminaire?

There’s a lot of kit out there you can use. DIALux is the worldwide standard in lighting design software and you can get it for free in over 25 languages. You’ll also need to use 3D CAD, and thermal, optical, and lighting simulation kit too.

Having said all that, the most important we use at Midstream though is the brain! As they say, experience matters. And our team has more experience – and brains – that anyone else out there.

Who are your key players when it comes to delivering a project?

We’ve got Product Developers who are 100% devoted to creating totally new solutions or develop existing products to meet different challenges.

Then it’s the job of our designers to bring those solutions to life and make sure they deliver things like the right lighting distribution etc.

Project managers are needed too. It’s their job to keep the project focused and deliver it on time, budget, and spec.

And last, but not least at all, is the production team. They obviously deliver the finished product. But, thanks to their experience they can add value by giving feedback on the solution overall or by suggesting better, more efficient ways to manufacture the luminaires.

How and when should testing be done?

Any test you can do, at any stage, do it! Make your maxim ‘measure twice, cut once’. That’s what we do. We’ve got our own facilities to test prototypes. And, of course, we get any new lighting solutions tested and approved by third parties like Underwriters Laboratories, Oxytec, and Nemko. That’s not a nice-to-have. It’s a must – legally.

How long does it take Midstream to develop and launch a new product?

This is a ‘how long is a bit of string’ question. It depends on the product and who you are working with.

Here at Midstream, we allow six months for a totally new line and two months to repurpose an existing solution. However, that’s all down to the calibre of our teams. Again, brains and experience come into play. Other providers will usually take a lot longer.

What’s the biggest challenge when designing new luminaires?

The big one is making sure you 100% comply with all the regulations needed when you’re developing a product or using one in a new market. We’ve worked all around the world, so we’ve got that down to an art.

May 12th, 2020

Meet Neal Robinson – our ‘mover and shaker’

You can have the world’s best designers. We have. Your engineers may be best-in-class. Ours 100% are. You could work with peerless manufactures. Like we do. But, if you can’t get things from A to B safely and on time, what’s the point?

 

In this latest ‘Meet the team’ we’re talking to Neal Robinson, our Logistics Manager , the man responsible for delivering our LED lighting solutions around the globe about the complex challenges he can face every day.

Introducing Neal:

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND?

After school, I spent four years in the South African Navy onboard small missile boats. As much as I enjoyed it, particularly visiting places like Mauritius, I decided a ‘life on the ocean waves’ wasn’t for me. So, I moved on and started working at a road freight management company. My career in Logistics had begun. During my five years there I qualified in Road Traffic Management and increased the company’s fleet from 5 to 77 vehicles. I was then headhunted by a courier company to run their biggest consumer delivery hub. From there I moved to the Middle East for 10 years, where I worked as a logistics manager for a high-profile security company. Whilst there I also gained more qualifications in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

What made you choose logistics management?

After leaving the Navy and not being a nine-to-five person, I really enjoyed road transport management. It’s a non-stop job, which you either love or hate – there’s is no middle ground. And I love it, especially overcoming the daily challenges you have to face.

Why did you want to join Midstream?

Working in the Middle East was amazing. But, with a growing family, my wife and I decided the best place to bring the children up was the UK. I was also looking for a new challenge, where I could work in a small team environment and contribute to its growth. I looked into Midstream and, as the cliché goes, Alex made me ‘an offer I couldn’t refuse’.

Where are you based and what does your role cover?

I’m based in the London HQ. My role covers the movement of all our goods between third party providers and manufacturers and our clients – globally. This includes being responsible for all the documentation needed to import and export goods most efficiently to meet our end-customers’ needs. I also look after the process writing and flow-chart compilation for all our processes.

How has the company grown in your time there?

Midstream has expanded quite quickly in my 18 months here, and that growth is set to continue. The number of projects we’re working on has rocketed. And in addition to the London office and our R&D team in Italy, we now have people working for us remotely across Europe and in the USA too.

How many countries do we currently ship to?

During my relatively short time here, I’ve arranged shipping to over 41 different countries. Again, with more projects from far and wide coming through, that number is set to grow.

What are some challenges you’ve had to overcome?

Balancing customer expectations with cost-effective shipping isn’t always easy, as some transit processes can be long and complex. Another challenge is customs’ requirements, and their interpretation, are forever changing and becoming stricter. And, if you take ‘your eye off the ball’ you can face hefty storage fines. Something that’s not happened to us yet – and won’t on my watch! Brexit and the free movement of goods will bring more challenges too. Plus, the effect of the Covid-19 virus will have across the world, possibly for years to come, could help make things even more complex. But we’ll face these challenges head-on and make sure they won’t impact on our clients. Because that’s what we do here at Midstream – we only work to the highest standards, and always meet them.

And for a bit of fun, tell us something about yourself that we don’t already know?

Enduro motorcycle racing, an extended cross-country, off-road sport, is my passion – after the wife and kids of course. I’m a keen amateur racer and my dream would be to do a Red Bull event – like the Sea to Sky in Turkey or even the Dakar Rally.

April 21st, 2020

My boyhood Queen’s Award dream has come true – twice

Following another Queen’s Award win, we talk to Midstream Lighting’s Co-Founder Yuli Grig about his childhood dream and what this latest win means for Midstream.

YULI, YOU SAY WINNING A QUEEN’S AWARD WAS A DREAM COME TRUE. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THAT?

As a child, I remember looking at the packaging of Vitabiotics Vitamins and setting a mental target to one day win a Queen’s Award. 20 years later, we’ve won two!

WHAT MADE YOU APPLY FOR YOUR AWARDS?

My boyhood dream was probably there in the background somewhere. But it wasn’t just that. As the world’s No.1 specialist and pioneer in LED lighting, we believed we deserved the Innovation Award. The award panel obviously thought so too. The kudos of winning that award in 2018 lead to our international sales growing considerably. So, it made sense to apply for International Trade Award.

WHAT HAS WINNING THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE AWARD MEANT FOR MIDSTREAM AS A BUSINESS?

The Queen’s Awards are the most prestigious of all the business awards in the UK. And we’re incredibly proud of winning two of them. This latest award reflects the hard work our staff and partners put in to achieve the fast, international growth we’ve seen. Winning this Queen’s Award, coupled with last year’s Sunday Times Fast 100 award, really helps solidify our credibility in the market. And, when it comes to our partners and suppliers it inspires confidence in our brand. So, winning awards like this has a real net benefit to the business. This award also grabs the attention of everyone else who’s been involved in our journey.

What has winning this award meant for your company and staff?

It’s hard to link winning this award with any new business wins – yet. But it’s clear it gives significant prestige and credibility to our brand. It also gives us a fascinating story to our customers. They love the fact that a relatively small business like ours can win top awards like this, not just once but twice.
For staff, it’s a great morale booster and very comforting to have external recognition that your company is heading in the right direction. It’s great to be part of a winning team!

Are there any other ways the award has benefited Midstream?

For our sales team, winning an award that recognises your hard work has been a great energiser. It’s also really inspired our distributors, especially in Commonwealth countries. And of course, I can’t stress how much it’s given our reputation a massive boost.

Have you any advice for any companies applying for a Queen’s Award?

There’s no reason you can’t apply. Previous winners have come from all sorts of industries and backgrounds. So, have faith in what you do and your story, then lead with that in your application. Carefully check the criteria for the award you’re entering and take plenty of time to plan your application. When you win a Queen’s Award it elevates your company to a new status. Go for it!

About the Queen’s Awards.

First established in 1965, they’re UK’s most prestigious business awards. They celebrate the success of UK businesses leading the way with pioneering products or services. This year 220 UK businesses have been recognised for their contribution to International Trade, Innovation, Sustainable Development, and Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility).

Midstream’s other most recent awards include:

  • 2020: Financial Times 1000 Fasted Growing Companies in Europe
  • 2019: Sunday Times Fast Track 100
  • 2019: Sunday Times SME Export Track 100
  • 2019: Deloitte Fast 50 Awards
  • 2018: Queen’s Award for Innovation
  • 2018: Financial Times Future 100
  • 2018: Financial Times 1000 Fasted Growing Companies in Europe
  • 2017: Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Winner
  • 2015: inter airport Innovation Award

Read more of our most recent blogs

March 04, 2020

We've won another Financial Times award!

Our absolute growth rate of almost 700% and compound annual growth rate of 99% is testament to all the hard work our team has been putting in. We’re continuing to grow as a company and we’re having resounding successes in the markets we serve. This is an incredibly exciting time for Midstream Lighting and there’s going to be more to come. Thank you to all our clients, partners, and everyone on the Midstream team

The Financial Times has just announced its annual award listing of the 1,000 fastest growing companies in Europe, based on turnover.

And here at Midstream Lighting – world-leading designer, manufacturer and solutions providers of advanced LED floodlighting – we’re delighted to have won a place on this prestigious award list.

Not only that, we’re over-the-moon the FT has awarded us a place in the top 25% of Europe’s growing companies.

Maxine Kelly, of the Financial Times, says: “…the ever-greater pace of growth on this annual FT 1,000 ranking – now in its fourth year – suggests that the most nimble and innovative companies are thriving.”

Midstream Lighting’s Co-Founder, Yuli Grig says: “Our absolute growth rate of almost 700% and compound annual growth rate of 99% is testament to all the hard work our team has been putting in. We’re continuing to grow as a company and we’re having resounding successes in the markets we serve. This is an incredibly exciting time for Midstream Lighting and there’s going to be more to come. Thank you to all our clients, partners, and everyone on the Midstream team.”

Midstream’s other most recent awards include:

  • 2019: Sunday Times Fast Track 100
  • 2019: Sunday Times SME Export Track 100
  • 2019: Deloitte Fast 50
  • 2018: Queen’s Award for Innovation
  • 2018: Financial Times Future 100
  • 2018: Financial Times 1,000 Fastest Growing Companies in Europe
  • 2017: Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Winner
  • 2015: inter airport Innovation Award

Feb 12th, 2020

With Light + Building only one month away here are the top 5 reasons to come by our stand:

5 Reasons to visit us at Light + Building 2020

#1 MODUS S PRODUCT LAUNCH

We’ll be launching our new Modus S Series at Light + Building and this amazing new product will be front and center in our booth. Be the first to see it in action!

5 Reasons to visit us at Light + Building 2020

#2 LIVE DEMOS

We’ll be demonstrating a whole host of products and solutions this year that cover all our sectors including sports, aviation and marine, it’s time to get up close and personal with everything we have to offer.

5 Reasons to visit us at Light + Building 2020

#3 SHOW-TIME DESIGNS

If you have current projects on-going and you want a Midstream design & quote our global design team will be ready and waiting to support you in real-time at the show.

5 Reasons to visit us at Light + Building 2020

#4 AWARD WINNING TEAM

Whether you have technical, sales or marketing questions we have you covered! The Midstream team will be at the show in force. Book a meeting now.

5 Reasons to visit us at Light + Building 2020

#5 THE BEST BEER IN THE HOUSE!

As always the Midstream booth will only be serving the best of the best refreshments, so head on over to meet our entire team, catch-up and have a drink on us!

Midstream Lighting