By means of infrared technology applying the so-called swarm principle, swarmControl automatically adapts the lighting level of the immediate surroundings to the prevailing lighting at the workplace. In turn, this leads to enhanced well-being and an increased feeling of security. The Zumtobel Group, which ranks among the most innovative companies in Austria, continuously invests in research and development in order to sustainably expand its strong technological positioning. For this purpose, the company intensively focuses on the development of new products. The innovative strength of the Zumtobel Group is reflected, among other things, by an extensive patent portfolio featuring some 4,820 registered patents. Cross-brand, multi-site research within the lighting group, originating at the research and development centre located at corporate headquarters in Dornbirn, ranks among the success factors.

Focusing on the development, Alfred Felder, CEO of the Zumtobel Group, said, “Our Group-wide research network and the targeted reuse of existing platforms within the Zumtobel Group made it possible to implement the new sensor module in just a few months. Once again, we bundled the competencies of the brands and know-how across different sites into one interdisciplinary development team in order to move forward together on developing this product.”

The core team in Dornbirn within the interdisciplinary and international swarmControl development team of the Zumtobel Group… Photographer: Mario Wintschnig Copyright: Zumtobel Group

Customer-oriented intelligence

The new sensor module swarmControl applying swarm technology enables the distance-dependent dimmable operation of lighting based on the presence of people. This not only applies to direct light but also the surrounding luminaires, in analogy to a fish swarm. swarmControl automatically detects the required grouping of lighting fixtures so that a pre-programming by the customer is no longer necessary. The system does not have to be reprogrammed even if the positions of the luminaires change. A simple and robust infrared technology is deployed for data transmission and distance measurement purposes without generating any annoying radio signals or ultrasonic sounds. A transmission range of up to ten metres is possible.

swarmControl: compact, robust and easy to handle

The plug-and-play module swarmControl, designed to be easy and comfortable for users to handle, is primarily conceived for free-standing luminaires but is also perfectly suited to other luminaires, especially in offices. Other highlights include the compact module size, in which the controller housing was realized with 3D printing, as well as the upgradeability of existing luminaires. swarmControl has been filed for patent and is already available at present for customer-specific project inquiries. The market launch for standard products should take place by the end of 2021.

Upstream support by the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences (FH Vorarlberg)

The development team of the Zumtobel Group collaborated with the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences on several studies conducted in advance to investigate the question as to which technologies are optimally suited for data communication and distance measurement. Various combinations of radio, ultrasound and infrared signals were evaluated in terms of their performance and robustness. Ultimately, a decision was made in favour of ultrared pulses.

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