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The educated choice

The University of Aberdeen’s new library uses modular power and lighting distribution systems
from Modular Wiring Systems, a subsidiary of cable manufacturer Tratos Ltd.

Aberdeen library

The 15,500sq metre library will cater for more than 16,000 students with over 250,000 books, maps and manuscripts, 1,200 reader spaces and contemporary technology over eight storeys. Certified BREEAM Excellent – the foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings – the library is designed to minimise long term running costs and energy use.

As part of that commitment to environmental best practise, the library has been constructed with Modular Wiring Systems’ prefabricated power and lighting distribution systems.

A modular wiring system is an easily installed modular distribution system prefabricated off-site. The system is essentially the circuit lines of a traditional scheme. It allows for a complete installation, from the pre-wired plug in distribution board (all wired internally) to the furthest point of a circuit, by simply connecting the system components together, without any hardwired connections. Conduits containing all the cables of the system have a plug mechanism on the end which simply slots into the board. The system is normally colour coded, making it easy to establish what plugs in to where.

As the systems are manufactured off site, there is no requirement for cutting and fabrication on site, thus reducing wastage as well as improving quality control.

The modular wiring systems have been installed throughout the building under the floors, feeding all power and lighting points, including the desks and lighting in the bookcases.

The high frequency, energy efficient lighting systems are DALI Controlled. This is a complete building-wide digital lighting control system built on the Digital Addressable Lighting Interface and Ethernet international standards. In order for the DALI system to work with the lighting in the book cases, Modular Wiring Systems designed and built bespoke products to ‘translate’ the DALI signal.

The lighting is controlled from a central desk and is zoned to allow lighting in specific areas to be changed.

Using the company’s distribution systems has provided the library with flexibility, allowing desks to be moved and the layout altered, without the need to re-route the power. That’s because the systems feature easy to use plugs and sockets instead of hard wiring. Altering the systems simply involves unplugging the connections and re-plugging into other connections.

As well as applications such as this, modular wiring systems are also beneficial at the construction phase as an installation can be achieved up to 80% quicker than traditional methods and utilising less on site labour.

That represents an incredible cost saving, even taking into account the extra cost of the system pre-fabrication. Furthermore, much of the skill level required for a traditional installation has been removed, reducing costs even further.

Logistics are also dealt with by a modular wiring system, which is especially important with multi-level jobs such as the new library. Delivering equipment to site, storage on site and allocation to the floor at the right time has to be fine-tuned. A system that is pre-fabricated off-site removes headaches about storing individual items normally required in such bulk, such as conduit, trunking, and cabling. Instead, the system is delivered to site readymade.

Quality is also another plus point for modular wiring systems. As the complete system is manufactured in a factory controlled environment, the potential risks of on-site conditions are eliminated.

Another useful by product of this level of quality control is that testing and fault finding is minimised on site because it has already been done in the factory.

According to the manufacturer, the modular wiring system at the University of Aberdeen’s new library will be good for at least 25 years with next to no maintenance required, allowing staff and visitors to enjoy the facilities.


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