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Local company throws light on Commonwealth Games


Quarella Software Engineers Wins Major Contract At Commonwealth Games Stadium


Businesses looking for a high-tech web site solution should look no further than Peterborough-based Quarella. The company has recently completed the contract to develop a cutting-edge lighting control software system for the new Manchester City Football Club stadium that hosted the Commonwealth Games in July and August.

Although Quarella's main area of expertise lies in developing database-driven and e-commerce web sites, the high profile project has drawn on many similar areas of software development, creating a database backend, which can distribute data over a network to control over 9,000 stadium lights.

"Whether we are developing an e-commerce site or a cutting edge lighting control system, it is essential to our clients the we create a system that cannot fail. No matter how sophisticated the system it must be reliable. An unstable system can very quickly lead to an embarrassing loss of credibility with serious implications for loss of revenue", explained Andrew Cater, Senior Developer at Quarella.

The sophisticated lighting control system was installed in collaboration with Clipsal, C-Bus Lighting Solutions, which produced the system hardware.

"With such an important project being seen by the world it was key that the C-Bus and C-Lution software integrated seamlessly", explained Guy Madgwick, General Manager at Clipsal Integrated Systems. "Quarella not only achieved this but expanded the capability of the system to offer many more excellent features to help the client in the future. A prestige project commands the best integrator and programming companies available and we got them both."

Quarella also worked with enLIGHTen, specialists in integrated building information systems, who provided Quarella with essential hardware advice to develop the multi-functional control software.

"Quarella have a lot of professional pride in developing the very best software solution for their clients' needs", explained Ian Meikle of enLIGHTen. "Throughout the project they sought to excel expectations and have helped to develop, what I believe to be, the most advanced lighting control system of any stadium within the UK".

The system controls the lighting throughout the stadium, including floodlights, tower lighting and blue LEDs on the top of the towers and along the roof of the building, which when dark give the illusion that the roof is floating over the stadium.

The PC-controlled system allows the user to pre-programme events on a number of graphical screens, so that the lighting can be automatically sequenced. Pre-programming also allows the floodlights to be switched on prior to the event to ensure that they have heated up in time to provide adequate lighting.

Such automatic control avoids the risk of human error in forgetting to activate the lighting at critical times and prevents the operator from accidentally switching off the lighting during an event.

Additional cutting-edge features includes the system's ability to vary the lighting intensity in line with ambient light and interface with the fire alarm system to ensure safety lighting in the event of evacuation.

The system has also been designed for ease of maintenance, alerting the user to the need for lamp replacement to minimise the risk of lamp failure during an event.

August 2002

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