This week we have the pleasure of learning about marine lighting solutions and the variety of testing methods used during inspections. The CEO of TVV Marine Lighting Simo Mäkinen tells their company’s story in the industry.
Since 1999, when the first Voyager vessel was completed at Turku Shipyard, “sturdy marine lights” became a household word, when talking about lighting fixtures that could be accepted for on-board use. Artistic visions and requirements for chandeliers, lampshades or wall sconces provided by the architect and requirements of technical inspector of a shipping company hardly ever met each other.
It was not unusual for an inspector to burn connector boxes with a lighter, rip off connectors, search for sharp edges of glass or even hang on a chandelier fitting bracket. Also heating up the bulb holders up to 150C degrees was not unusual especially, when the inspector was personally keeping an eye on the test and naturally trying to find a weak points of the tested component, even after everybody thought the test was over. Since then we learned, how to meet standards and requirements on-board and how every item should be better, like “bullet proof”.
Since those days, green ideas and energy saving brought a completely new challenge for the marine lighting industry. By using LED-solutions, energy saving light sources and better reflectors on down lights it is now possible to increase energy savings more than ship owners can even think of.
All the energy on-board is still created by generators. Generators burn fuel and fuel price is increasing every day. At the same time temperature inside public areas is controlled to reach a pleasant level while 60 watts incandescent bulbs are heating up the same area. We create even worse situation by using big amounts of halogen bulbs all over.
Today´s LED-technology connected through smart way by “sturdy marine fixtures” will be the leading way of thinking when new vessels are built and old are refurbished. LEDs also give more creative possibilities for designers and producers. Of course knowing the fact that conditions on board in the open ocean can be sometimes very challenging, so as a point of view of a producer I can better accept those radical inspecting methods for lighting fixtures that are used on-board.
Today we also have to pay attention on environment while designing lightning to cruise vessels. Energy saving and reliability will have a great influence in the marketing of new LED-solutions for new projects in the near future. We should always pay attention on the fact that LED-revolution on marine lighting will only grow and we have a huge marketing area waiting there. Of course competition on LED–area is extremely hard, but on the other hand, so far we have only a few suppliers on the market that can provide products that really meet the demand, specifications and expectations on-board. Ship owners pay some serious money for energy saving solutions and still the end result can be poor quality of light, wrong color of light and probably shorter lifetime for light sources than advertised when purchasing new lighting system. The fact is that using conditions onboard are completely different than where LED-products are normally designed to work dependably. Heat sinks are often too small, cables too thin, LED-chips are not possible to replace or at the end they don’t operate normally with the existing dimming systems on-board.
On the other hand it seems that lighting designers, investors, ship owners as well as lighting producers are sometimes not well informed about new solutions and development of technology. New LED products are more often published and there is larger sector to be tested if some of those new innovations are possible to use on-board. Of course we should pay attention to reliability.
At the end I believe that LED are very welcomed and are the the only existing solution for the future of refurbishing and new building projects.
I would like to thank Mr. Mäkinen for sharing us with his intellect and experiences in the industry. If you wish to learn more about TVV Marine Lighting, have a look at their profile and selection in SHIPSU.