Abacus Lighting installs new floodlighting system at Qatar stadium Abacus Lighting installs new floodlighting system at Qatar stadium - news feed from the Electrical News Portal

When the Al Shamal Stadium in Qatar, home to the Qatar National Olympic Committee (QOC), were looking for a company to design and install a pioneering new floodlighting system at its iconic world-class stadium, they chose Abacus Lighting.

The stadium posed a unique lighting challenge to the team at Abacus as its layout included four corner turret structures in each corner of the stadium, mimicking the original Al Shamal fort itself. Abacus was required to explore ways to maintain the traditional appearance of the stadium, whilst simultaneously incorporating state-of-the-art lighting into the design.

Abacus developed a range of telescopic masts that would fit neatly inside the turrets themselves. Towering to an impressive 43m, the masts telescope down inside the turrets when not in use, thereby minimising the impact of the floodlighting on the beautiful Qatar skyline.

The system, which is fully operated using touch screen technology, allows the operator to control all four masts, either separately or en masse, from a single Human Machine Interface (HMI) situated within the media centre inside the second mast. This touch screen HMI XBT RT 500 was supplied by Schneider Electric who also assisted Abacus with the programming of the system.

According to Steve Bennett, Abacus’s Electrical Engineering Manager, “A major challenge was how to feed the lighting cables up the inside of the mast to the floodlights. There was very little available space inside the column and careful installation of the cables was essential to ensure that they would not be damaged. Available space dictated that multi-core cables would be needed instead of individual flexes and they would have to be run through a flexible energy chain.

“The cables also had to be able to cope with the very tight bending radius in the column and, with the lamp currents, a standard YY flex would not have been suitable so we utilised a special robotics style high quality chainflex cable, supplied by Igus, which was specially designed for this type of application.

“In a project like this, it’s the small details that matter. Positioning errors with lights would seriously compromise the lighting design. We needed a system that could calculate height feedback and position to ensure that the lights would not be switched on until they were clear of the turret tops. Another factor was to ensure that the heat from the floodlights didn’t damage the internal finish of the turret if they were accidentally turned on too soon.”

Each mast has its own Variohm Cable Extension Transducer which calculates the position of the masts and feeds the information into an individual Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). In this case, Schneider Electric’s Twido PLC then converts this data from analogue to digital using a Schneider Electric signal converter. The data for each individual mast is subsequently transferred to the master PLC and the whole system can be controlled from the touch screen HMI.

Steve added: “This Schneider Electric touch screen system is neater, easier to use and more cost effective to install and operate. If we had gone down the route of installing a more traditional button panel control system, it would have been immense in order to accommodate all the necessary buttons to operate all four masts.

“We are really proud of the finished product. The stadium now has an easy-to-use, state-of-the art modern operating system. It uses touch screen technology and even an online interface which means that, in the near future, we could go as far as to monitor and control the floodlighting and masts from our headquarters in the UK. The system links up to a real time data exchange which lets our operators know when maintenance is needed as well as ensuring the lights are performing to their optimum standards. A truly international project from start to finish.”

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