System Solutions, systems integrator and part of the Gearhouse Group of Companies won an open tender to provide and maintain LED screens over a 5 year service period for Dube TradePort Corporation. The Dube TradePort is an infrastructural development for South Africa, based in KZN at the new King Shaka International Airport, which was designed to promote global trade into Africa and to facilitate the movement of manufactured goods into and out of South Africa. The development aims to encourage economic growth and create employment opportunities.

Four screens strategically positioned at the main access roads to the Dube TradePort precinct to display 1st and 3rd party advertising content, had failed. The RFP brief was to upgrade the existing structures and provide new screens, on condition that full functionality would be maintained over a service period of 5 years. The solution specification also had to include a remote monitoring and diagnostic functionality.

With the requirement for a robust solution with high-end brand functionality, the System Solutions team recommendation was for the reliable outdoor Lighthouse Impact 12. A 12mm pitch LED screen was proposed to replace the existing 16 mm pitch screen as per the RFP specifications to provide a buffer against future developments in content quality and keep in line with increasing resolution demands in the very competitive advertising arena.

“Lighthouse is a premier brand and the client, which was what the stringent specification called for,” said System Solutions’ General Manager, Roger Feldmann, “Although this was the first project we had done using Impact 12, we have extensive experience of the 12mm rental version, DuoLED, through LEDVision (Pty) Ltd, the LED rental supplier of the Gearhouse Group. We also strongly believed that that this was the ideal product and pixel pitch Dube TradePort should be considering, based on the 5-10 year sustainability plan in place. We specified an Impact 12 solution with an LCM-HDP controller not only for its video processing power but also because of its remote monitoring and management capabilities. The client is able to set and monitor the parameters on temperature, voltage and screen brightness. 

The company demonstrated the 12mm product in a shootout environment onsite against a shortlist of three other companies. “We used the DuoLED12 for the shootout as it has the same brightness and resolution as the proposed Impact 12 solution, essentially the DuoLED 12 could be classified as rental version of the Impact 12” explains Feldmann.

Stringent negotiations around response times, uptimes and the maintenance levels, concluded only in January 2013, some three months after the contract was awarded. Prior to the shipping of the screens, System Solutions and Dube TradePort representatives were flown to the Lighthouse Factory in Huizou, China, to view the product in action, check viewing angles, brightness, colour reproduction and clarity. “The Factory Acceptance Test is just another Quality Control measure that we like to use whenever possible to eliminate any hitches later on in the process,” explains Feldmann. 

On its arrival in South Africa, the Impact 12 panels were stored in 2 x 40ft containers onsite whilst the team began the structural preparation. Quite a bit of electrical work was required together with structural modifications to allow the new 4992mm wide by 3840mm high screens to be retrofitted into the existing structures. All structural work and specialised bracketry was carried out by Anton Botha of Live Custom Designs, working alongside the System Solutions installation technicians consisting of Johan Jacobs and Charles Naidoo (managing signal distribution, rewiring and rust proofing) and technical assistants Bronwyn Thomas and Ian Rahman. The project was overseen by Stephen Woodroffe and brought to completion by System Solutions Project Manager, Karen Blythe. LED Rental company, LEDVision (Pty) Ltd, handled the configuration and final commissioning of the screens and electrical work was subcontracted to Riaan Nel of RNI Instrumental.

Safety was a big consideration throughout the project, not only on the electrical side but also as one of the screens happened to be located directly in the flight path of incoming air traffic at OR Tambo International, necessitating particular attention to brightness levels. A Site Acceptance Test was called at which Dube TradePort technical and marketing teams met with the System Solutions representatives to conduct a series of brightness tests covering light condition permutations at twilight, night-time, dawn, mid-morning, midday and mid-afternoon. Each screen is independently dimmable and the brightness controller needed to be carefully positioned to achieve optimum adjustments to the ambient conditions and to meet the client’s requirements.

The screen rollout and networking happened very smoothly and Feldmann relates only one major challenge which was when the peculiarly South African problem of cable theft put one of the screens out of action, necessitating a quick replacement to get everything up and running again.

“Now that the install is up and running smoothly, we get to deliver the client’s requirement of 5 years of fail-safe service and that will be the trick that shows what sets System Solutions apart from the rest” concluded Feldmann.

At the close of the 5 year period, Dube TradePort has the option to upgrade to a newer screen product or extend the agreement as is.

Story Robyn D’Alessandro, Photos courtesy Wade Howard, Ocean Driven Media

Sep 10, 2013

The Gearhouse Group of Companies