French business park features Bluetooth controls and SSL across 14 warehouses

May 26, 2021
Xicato, known for architectural-quality LED sources, supplied only network connectivity and controls in an installation covering 14 warehouses in Grand Sud Logistique.

Xicato has announced details of what it called an eco-friendly solid-state lighting (SSL) project within a French business park called Grand Sud Logistique. The LED lighting project near Tarn-et-Garonne in the southwest of France was planned as a sustainable development from an energy perspective. The Xicato announcement didn’t mention LED lighting products specifically but focused on Xicato Bluetooth products, and indeed, the company only supplied the connectivity and controls.

The French business park is largely focused on e-commerce and logistics, so it’s no surprise that warehouse applications dominate the 450 acres. Design Lighting Systems (DLS) was commissioned to design the space and had to walk the tightrope between French regulatory policy on light-level requirements and the customer’s wishes for a low-energy, sustainable development.

It’s not just connectivity that pays a return on investment (ROI) in a warehouse application sensors and autonomous control are paramount. We first covered connected SSL back in 2010 and that Digital Lumens (now an Osram company) story was specifically focused on warehouse applications and the promise of 90% energy savings. In the warehouse application, a given aisle is vacant much of the time and needs little more than minimum light levels for safety.

The installation in France utilized network-enabled Xicato XIS sensors mounted independently from the luminaires. The 5-in-1 Bluetooth mesh sensor modules can detect temperature, humidity, motion, light level, and acceleration. The sensors allow nodes in each aisle to react autonomously to activity in the aisle, natural light from sources such as skylights, and more.

“The Xicato intelligent sensors were just the solution we were searching for to provide smart control over an extensive amount of space,” David Stanojevic, sales manager at Design Lighting Systems. “It was amazing how much coverage each sensor, with the Xicato relay nodes, delivered along with the many functionalities. Additionally, the cost savings were a substantial added benefit.”

The relay nodes mentioned by Stanojevic are essentially range extenders that might not be needed in a dense office environment, but that come into play in a cavernous warehouse. The aggregate area of the warehouses measured 53,800 ft2. The project utilized 1000 luminaires, 328 XIS sensors, and 143 of the Xicato relay nodes (XRN).

There were two other Xicato Bluetooth-connected SSL products utilized in the project. Manual override of the autonomous control scenario is available via locally-mounted switches. Those switches use the XSW Xicato Switch module to capture a switch activation and convert it into a Bluetooth command sequence. Also, the Xicato GalaXi Card (XCG) modules were utilized with each of the luminaires. The luminaires are not native Bluetooth devices but have drivers with 0–10V controls. DLS specified Eulum Design TRAN products for integration into the luminaires to translate Bluetooth commands to 0–10V settings and those translators each use the XGC.

The choice of Bluetooth mesh afforded a number of advantages for the French warehouses. We covered another Bluetooth mesh project in a warehouse last year that demonstrated the simplicity in commissioning Bluetooth nodes. Moreover, Bluetooth-based connectivity does not require a central management system for autonomous operation, reducing upfront costs. And finally the Bluetooth standard ensures the potential of over the air (OTA) software updates, minimizing the pain of down-the-road updates as a one of the key minds behind the standard explained in a Q&A session.

Back to where we started, the surprise was that Xicato supplied a project that didn’t involve its light engines. The company had a natural path to supply integrated control with light engines, but now is a proven supplier of networked lighting controls independent of quality light engines. Back in 2019, the company announced what it called an open platform for smart building applications. Still, it was easy to read that as being just yet more reason to adopt the company’s light engines. Now we learn otherwise.

LEDs Magazine chief editor MAURY WRIGHT is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade.

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About the Author

Maury Wright | Editor in Chief

Maury Wright is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade. Wright first wrote for LEDs Magazine as a contractor in 2010, and took over as Editor-in-Chief in 2012. He has broad experience in technology areas ranging from microprocessors to digital media to wireless networks that he gained over 30 years in the trade press. Wright has experience running global editorial operations, such as during his tenure as worldwide editorial director of EDN Magazine, and has been instrumental in launching publication websites going back to the earliest days of the Internet. Wright has won numerous industry awards, including multiple ASBPE national awards for B2B journalism excellence, and has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards. He received a BS in electrical engineering from Auburn University.