Our Greatest Manufacturing Challenge Yet?

16 aug 19

Abacus Lighting Ltd, manufacturers of high-performance exterior lighting, have over 60 years of market-leading experience behind them. Abacus pride themselves on their ability to find innovative solutions within the industry, so when they brought their latest project to us at 3form Design we knew we had to push against the barrier of “it can’t be done” and through to the “what if”. 

The extensive brief was to provide a floodlight system, comprehensive enough to control and master the light in outdoor stadiums, lightweight and robust enough to be mounted on a 15m high mast, with the environmental impact taken into account. We knew that the materials and method of manufacture of the product would be key in achieving the weight requirements but we weren’t willing to compromise on aesthetic form or ease of assembly by splitting up the main body.

Appropriately named the Challenger 1, the existing design measured over 1m long and was planned to be cast from aluminium. This was seen as an issue, as large scale castings and low weight components aren’t exactly compatible. To overcome this hurdle the wall thickness of the main body was made (almost) impossibly thin. Although we were challenged that it couldn’t be done; we trusted our technical knowledge & experience and managed to die-cast this king-sized component in one mold.


When assembled with the other parts, the whole enclosure is sealed to a rating of IP66. Using Gore™ membrane technology we were able to regulate the airflow throughout the enclosure, which helped to alleviate stress on core components and achieve a quality we knew would last. The Challenger 1 is now such a popular floodlight it is used worldwide at key sporting locations, including the England FA Academy and the Emirates Golf Course in Dubai.

Following the success of Challenger 1, we were approached again by Abacus to design a modular street light system: Quantum was to be aesthetically striking, completely customisable and a breeze to assemble. Rather than tell Abacus we had been able to achieve this, we decided to show them. Here’s what we created:

Abacus Assembly from 3form Design on Vimeo.

As a turnkey design consultancy and a final product manufacturer, we see a wide variety of work come through our doors. We are currently interacting with those in business, such as medical professionals, inventors, engineers, farmers, and artists. As we continue to extend our individual design process into varied market sectors, we increase both our experience and scope of new processes. Coupling this with our Far East manufacturing expertise allows us to bring a fresh perspective to every problem: being fully aware of the constraints and possibilities that stand before us. 

By constantly challenging our knowledge we expand our areas of expertise, striving for the best solution by working in a multidisciplinary team, we achieve more and answer those who say “it can’t be done” by asking “what if”