It all began more than 10 years ago with a phone call from Qatar. Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways Group, ordered several masts with a lowering system for apron lighting at Doha Airport. FUCHS Europoles delivered the masts to the Swiss Nivatec company, which built the lowering systems and oversaw the entire process. This opened up the door to the Middle East – and FUCHS Europoles has since touched down in Dubai as well.
Bundling the know-how of two companies
Nivatec has meanwhile become FUCHS Europoles’ subsidiary Europoles Suisse. The two companies merged in 2007, and since then, the name NIVA has become the product line of Europoles Suisse for highly developed and reliable products. We have been present at the international Airport Show in Dubai every year since 2003”, says Alper Soeken, head of Project Management and member of the Executive Board at Europoles Suisse. In Doha, Qatar, the airport was continuously expanded and further equipped until 2010. “At the time, you could say that we were the ‘court purveyor’ for Doha Airport,” Soeken explains. When construction of the new airport started in 2008, FUCHS Europoles was already firmly established.
Flight operations without interruptions
The goal was to have FUCHS Europoles make a name for itself in the Middle East and – after Qatar – equip other airports with masts for apron lighting as well. After all, airports are dynamic, globally operating commercial enterprises that are currently undergoing massive expansion. And it is precisely the aprons at an airport that are a key factor in this system. Everything needs to mesh smoothly: parking and manoeuvring, boarding and deplaning, processing and catering – 24 hours a day. An apron that is not available costs the operator a great deal of money. However, the safety of passengers, goods and aeronautics can only be ensured if the aprons have optimum lighting. All components, from the mast to the light fixtures, therefore need to meet the very highest requirements: They must be durable, easy to maintain and as long-lasting as possible.
Convincing quality of products and services
Not only the operators in Qatar have become convinced by the quality of FUCHS Europoles’ products and services during the last few years. “This is borne out by projects in the Arabian region, such as in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates”, Soeken reports. With Dubai, the desire was to land yet another global player in the airport sector. “However, we once again had to convince the decision-makers there of our know-how. They first took a look at the other projects”, Soeken recalls, thinking back to the initial years.
Things finally came together in 2010: Europoles Suisse was chosen to deliver 20 masts with a lowering system for apron lighting for the planned new Airbus terminal at Dubai Airport. Only nine months passed from the time the order was awarded until the new terminal was inaugurated. The masts were first transported to Hamburg from the steel mast factory by FUCHS Europoles and the lowering devices from Mollis by FUCHS Europoles’ subsidiary Europoles Suisse and then shipped to Dubai. An international team assembled the individual pieces on site, while the coordination remained in the hands of Europoles Suisse at all times. Joerg Zwingli, Sales and Project Manager at Europoles Suisse, was the on-site supervisor, trained the assembly technicians and monitored the entire order.
Maintenance during ongoing flight operations
“One thing FUCHS Europoles offers is the option of lowering equipment so that maintenance personnel can maintain and clean the masts without having to interrupt ongoing flight operations. This was the convincing point for the airport operators”, Zwingli explains. To do this, a carriage moves up and down along a cable track system mounted on the mast. The equipment – regardless of whether lights, radio antennae or surveillance cameras are connected – can be disconnected from the power supply via remote control. A special suspension device with a plug contact has been developed by FUCHS Europoles for this purpose. The necessary work can then be carried out from below. Afterwards, the carriage is conveyed back to the top at the push of a button, hooks itself up and is once again supplied with power.
A safe and long-lasting system
The system has the following advantages: It can be maintained by one person in any weather conditions, even when windy; special equipment such as a lifting platform or a cherry picker is just as unnecessary as special training. “Moreover, all of the cables are laid inside the mast and are connected directly at the top with the lights and digital components via a plug contact. None of the cables are moved when the carriage goes up or down. This ensures a long lifespan for the cabling”, Joerg Zwingli explains. Even the cable for the carriage runs through the mast and is guided outwards at the top of the mast by a cable winch in order to transport the carriage up and down the mast along the aluminium rail.
Masts and lights as a complete solution
Europoles Suisse has had a local branch office in Dubai since 2014. With its construction projects, the Emirate of Dubai plays a key role in the airport sector. “In this way, we are in a better position to meet the demands for customer proximity, coordination and service,” states Alper Soeken when describing the reasons for opening the office. Eventually, FUCHS Europoles wants to offer apron lighting as a complete package in the Middle East: lowerable masts with sustainable LED lighting. After all, simple technical maintenance and availability of the masts are only one aspect of efficient apron lighting.
Concourse 3 DXB
May 2010 to January 2011
20 poles with solid steel walls
- Height: 30 metres
- Air freight delivery of anchor baskets to complete the civil engineering in advance
- Delivery of poles and lowering systems by ship with a total of eight containers
- Provision of lights and obstacle lights by customer