Customer application 25 September 2020
Clever Lighting Scenario

LED technology and the I/O controller from WAGO create the perfect lighting symbiosis: Schuster Energieversorgungssysteme, an energy supply solutions specialist from Grevenbroich, is creating quite a stir with its innovative, manufacturer-independent system for emergency lighting. Early adopters in the automotive industry are leading the way, and companies from other sectors are showing great interest. The WAGO 750 Series I/O System forms the core of the lighting solution and implements the intelligent lighting control functions.

When it comes to safety lighting systems, no other company is as innovative as Schuster Energieversorgungssysteme GmbH & Co. KG. For four decades, this company in Grevenbroich, Germany, has mitigated the effects of power failures by producing sophisticated systems for emergency lighting, rectifiers and inverters, as well as other solutions. The firm has a legacy of consistently producing innovative ideas backed by the highest quality. This has earned Schuster an excellent reputation, backed by outstanding customer testimonials. For example, this company from Grevenbroich has equipped the Berlin Olympic Stadium, Apple Stores in Germany and major trade shows in Frankfurt and Dusseldorf. Recently, Schuster found itself in an enviable role: Not only is the company widely regarded as the best in their field, but, thanks to recent breakthroughs, they are now also seen as their sector’s leader in technological development.

The Benefits of WAGO for You:

  • WAGO's fieldbus-independent system enables communication with all conventional building bus systems.

  • Users have a free choice of software thanks to the PFC200 Linux® Controller.

  • Each LED light can be individually controlled via DALI with the WAGO 750 Series I/O System.

“We’ve made significant advances with our systems,” explains CEO Jens Wich. That sounds far too modest. In fact, Schuster has developed a unique system for emergency lighting that is setting several new industry standards and has already installed it in multiple facilities of one automobile manufacturer. SETLON is one of just a few systems on the market based on modern LED technology. And one of the system’s biggest draws is that it eliminates the distinction between general and safety lighting – it uses the same lights for both. One part also runs in emergency mode. “This is possible because we can generate multiple lighting scenarios with SETLON by dimming individual lights,” explains Wich.

According to Gerhard Rabben, Sales Manager at Schuster, “the greatest advantage of LED technology is that you can use it to generate any desired lighting scenario.”

Each Individual LED Can Be Controlled

There is an entire range of laws, directives and guidelines regarding emergency operation of lights in buildings. And this shouldn’t surprise anybody – human lives depend on good emergency lighting. For example, throughout a specified time period, emergency lighting needs to illuminate routes for rescuers and indicate escape routes. Another requirement calls for providing sufficient light to high-risk workplaces. Emergency lighting should also prevent panic by countering the feelings of claustrophobia (or being trapped) with extensive illumination. In addition, emergency lighting must work during power outages: For example, emergency lighting is needed in hospitals at all times. And given the specific nature of each scenario, each has a different required level of brightness. In traditional systems, these were achieved using fluorescent tubes or incandescent bulbs, but it is much easier with modern LED lights.

“The biggest advantage of LED technology is that you can use it to generate any desired lighting scenario,” says Gerhard Rabben, Sales Manager at Schuster. In addition, LED technology is much more robust, has a longer service life and consumes less energy. However, for different lighting scenarios to be implemented with LED lights, each diode must be individually addressed. Furthermore, all components in the emergency lighting system must be monitored, which is the only way to ensure that everything actually functions as intended during a power failure. This leads to a problem, as Wich explains: “In standard systems, additional components were incorporated into the lights to provide the required control and monitoring for an emergency lighting system.”

This method is still prevalent in the field – despite significant disadvantages. If lights are modified, they lose their CE marking and thus their operating license. This is why Schuster took an alternative path: Instead of converting the lights, this company from Grevenbroich provided them with intelligent, centralized control. “We use the WAGO 750 Series I/O System as the control element so we can address the lights using the DALI communication protocol. As a result, we can control and check every LED individually,” states Wich, Schuster’s CEO.

Up to 16 channels in just 12 mm: The I/O modules of the WAGO 750 Series I/O System are extremely compact. And there are more than 500 different modules available for virtually any task.

Open Source System Provides Customers with Choices

Using the open-source DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) protocol has another advantage: Any light available on the market can be used, as long as it communicates using DALI. However, this approach is definitely not taken by all lighting suppliers. Rather, manufacturers typically use their own standards and protocols. The systems are highly proprietary: All components and replacement parts can only be obtained from a single company. SETLON differs by providing customers with choices. Because the WAGO controller is also fieldbus-independent, Schuster can connect the system to all conventional communication protocols in building automation, such as MODBUS, BACnet or ETHERNET. The entire system can be represented, controlled and monitored from a central point.

“This has recently become an important topic,” says Jens Wich. “The nice thing is that we have access to complete, mature solutions thanks to WAGO’s components. And that means that we can link our interfaces professionally.” Furthermore, SETLON can also be accessed over the Internet for diagnostics using a Web browser. This is particularly helpful and cost-effective in the event of errors. The central element used in the SETLON system is WAGO’s PFC200 Controller. This compact controller saves an enormous amount of space, provides additional interfaces and can communicate with lower- and higher-level systems via numerous protocols. Together with the diverse I/O modules used to construct individual I/O nodes, the controller provides maximally intelligent lighting control functionality.

“An essential point is that the PFC200 is based on Linux®, which is also an open-source system,” says Jens Wich. Thus, customers are not forced to commit to a particular software producer for configuration and administration, because the controller’s integrated Webserver makes all of this possible online. If the customer does not feel comfortable with Linux®, the PFC200 can also be configured in the CODESYS programming environment.

A new benchmark: Schuster Energieversorgungssysteme’s CEO, Jens Wich, shows off the first manufacturer-independent and dimmable LED emergency lighting system, which was developed with the help of the WAGO 750 Series I/O System.

Fourth-Generation Emergency Lighting

The collaboration between Schuster and WAGO extends back more than a decade, but the connection has become much closer due to SETLON. Whereas discrete emergency lighting solutions were produced previously, this modern lighting concept offers completely new options for industrial applications. The first customer – a major automotive manufacturer – to enjoy the advantages of SETLON learned about Schuster from a partner. “Originally, that company’s technicians wanted to use our products to construct a new sophisticated emergency lighting system themselves,” reports Rudolf Kosubek, a WAGO engineer who has known Schuster for years. Kosubek put them in contact. “I knew that Schuster had already built something like that, of course.”

An initial test installation proved convincing. Since then, Schuster has equipped around a dozen of the company’s European facilities with SETLON. And more will follow. SETLON boasts an additional highlight: Schuster can house the entire system in an extremely small space. And this was ideal, since the automobile manufacturer had stipulated that the control cabinets were to be mounted on the narrow concrete supports located on the production floor – they simply couldn’t be any wider than supports. And now other automotive companies and chemical corporations are also interested in SETLON. There is now a constant stream of potential customer visiting Grevenbroich. Nor is this surprising, since news of SETLON’s great technological leap forward has traveled quickly.

“When I look back at the development of emergency lighting systems over the past decades, the very first ones could only be switched on and off. Then came the first automated control and monitoring functions via a data bus. This allowed us to cluster individual lights into circuits. With our system, in which each individual LED can be controlled and monitored with computer support from the WAGO controller, we have created the fourth-generation of emergency lighting systems,” explains Jens Wich. Following the first successful installation, Schuster officially introduced the SETLON system in April at the Frankfurt “Light & Building” trade show. Since then, everyone knows who is driving technology forward in the emergency lighting market. However, Jens Wich expresses it more modestly: “I think there’s no longer any doubt that we know a thing or two about emergency lighting.”

The PFC200 Controller from the WAGO 750 Series I/O System is the heart of the SETLON system. The emergency lighting system addresses all lights via DALI and transmits all the information to a building control system.

Text: Daniel Kocks, WAGO

Photo: WAGO

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