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3fD in the Press

Illuminating Prototypes

9 May 2012

3form uses Ogle Models to produce the massive, fully-functional working model of Quantum Luminaire

Author: Ogle Models, May 2012

The biannual Light & Build exhibition, the leading global trade fair for lighting and intelligent buildings, took place in Frankfurt, 15–20th April 2012. One of the highlights (quite literally) of this exhibition was on show at the Abacus Lighting stand where the company launched its latest lighting solution — the Quantum Luminaire.

World leaders in lighting design and manufacture, the business of Abacus is to support global customers in meeting the growing demand for technically brilliant, yet energy-efficient and sustainable lighting solutions. Abacus, based in Nottingham, UK, has been bringing sophisticated lighting solutions to its customers for more than 50 years and proudly celebrates its British engineering heritage.

The Quantum concept has been developed collaboratively between Abacus and 3form Design around the Abacus remit of using power intelligently and responsibly; incorporating advanced LED systems to provide more light for less power, which ultimately reduces operating costs significantly and the carbon footprint of the installation compared with competitive products. 

3form is a UK based product design and development agency renowned for innovative and stylish 3D product design combined with engineering and manufacturing know-how to achieve superior results – every time.

A technologically advanced and highly complex product in terms of design and manufacturing, the Quantum Luminaire is an ergonomically attractive, highly effective lighting solution for large areas. Indeed, Quantum is the first complete LED solution for car park and open area lighting with a key modular construction designed around advanced LED light sources rather than placing LEDs within an existing fixture.  Almost one meter square, Quantum is designed to sit on a column 8–10 metres high and provide light in all directions, in contrast to traditional lighting solutions in this genre, which only provide light in one direction.  Furthermore, utilising LED lights in combination with the design the ROI offers an impressive comparison to the Quantum’s traditional counterparts — both in terms of energy savings and the number of installations required to cover large areas.

3form Design was commissioned to supply a fully functional model of the Quantum for the Frankfurt show, which was a very different prospect to seeing through the engineering of the Quantum for final manufacture. Having worked with Ogle Models & Prototypes previously on a wide range of product development projects 3form knew exactly where to go with the Quantum project. 3form invited David Bennion, a Director at Ogle, to Andover to get a firm handle on the brief regarding what Abacus, as the client, required; and to provide the necessary input on design for manufacture of the model using the advanced techniques that Ogle has in house.

According to Austen Miller, Senior Partner at 3form Design,

“For us, Ogle was the obvious choice for a model of this quality, with such critical timescales.  Over the last eight years, we have learned that you can trust Ogle to deliver on time, every time.”

The requirement was for a very highly detailed, fully functional model, which would be capable of sitting on the top of the demonstration column produced by Abacus at its facility in Nottingham, to show off the unique features of the Quantum Luminaire and to invite interest at the exhibition in Germany.

At the beginning of March team members from Abacus, 3form and Ogle sat down together to identify the best approach and the different methods of construction for the model that could be applied. Dave Bennion highlighted some of the challenges they faced, “At this time the 3D CAD and engineering data that existed at 3form was for final production of the Quantum and incorporated 100+ component parts. Working together we were able to identify how we could compress the number of parts for the functional model and from this 3form Design was able to generate new 3D CAD models specifically for the model, which would allow us to start producing parts straight away — time was a critical factor.”

In fact, the teams were able to reduce the number of components down to 74 parts. As Dave explains, “We have a range of model making and prototyping capabilities in house, including additive manufacturing technologies, which we knew could build complex elements of the model in one piece, rather than the multiple pieces required for final production. This would help with meeting the deadline for Abacus.” A further consideration was to utilise the best prototyping processes available to ensure that the full model structure would be able to withstand travelling to the photo-shoot, then onto the factory for final packaging, before shipment to Germany and installation on Abacus’ exhibition stand. Indeed, one of the key advantages of working with Ogle is that the company is neutral in terms of the processes it offers and will only ever use the best process for the application at hand.

The Quantum model’s component parts were made using a combination of advanced additive manufacturing techniques as well as more traditional subtractive machining capabilities to achieve the best overall result. Due to complexity, more than half of the parts (41), specifically the corner sections, the interface with the column and the wiring housings were laser sintered using Ogle’s in-house EOS P730 and P380 Laser Sintering machines. Laser sintering is an accurate (± 0.2mm per 100mm, dependant on part geometry) additive layer process, which can build extremely complex parts, one layer at a time using materials with good strength and heat resistant properties. The 41 Quantum parts were laser sintered using two materials: SLS PA2200 and SLS PA3200 according to requirements. Further sections of the Quantum model that were to house the LED lighting and control units were machined out of high density model board to provide good rigidity and tight tolerances. Once all the parts were produced an early form & fit operation was carried out to ensure that any conflicts could be resolved before any paint or finishing had been applied. Some slight adjustment was needed to allow for different materials to fit within approved tolerances and that the offset allowed for the paint was sufficient.

Once the Ogle team was satisfied with the fit, the individual parts were hand finished to the exacting standards Abacus required and painted to match the pole that Abacus had supplied as a colour match. According to Dave Bennion, “With so many parts in different materials, it can be quite challenging to hand finish all of the components to the same level. But at Ogle we have a dedicated finishing shop and pride ourselves on the consistency of our finishing capabilities.” Furthermore, running in tandem to the finishing operations was the wiring of the individual LEDs once they were inserted into the housings.

Finally the painted parts were assembled and the whole unit was successfully tested again. With the approval Abacus on hand at Ogle to approve and support any last minute changes, the unit was carefully manhandled into an export crate ready for shipping.

Abacus's summation of the model build and the results it has brought forth are by far the greatest testimony of Ogle’s expertise and approach to model making:

“Ogle had come highly recommended to us by 3form Design and our experience with them on the Quantum luminaire model proved that the recommendation was fully justified and that quality is delivered consistently no matter what the project is — Ogle exceeded all our expectations. 

“Our stand at the International Light + Building Exhibition in Frankfurt displayed the full-size working model and the many visitors to our stand saw it as a finished, manufactured product because the quality was so good.

Our experience with Ogle throughout the build of the Quantum model was one of total professionalism, attention to detail and ingenuity. This, even despite the fact that the deadline we gave them was very tight  — the product was delivered on time.” 

For More Information

Ogle Models & Prototypes
Contact: Dave Bennion on dave@oglemodels.com                 
www.oglemodels.com

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