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1 About Us

Background

Let’s begin by explaining what photoluminescence is - ie 'glow-in-the-dark' idea but with new technology.

In its original form of zinc sulphide, photoluminescent technology was used by the Germans on their U-boats back in the late 1930s. They managed to keep it to themselves for quite some time but ‘glow in the dark’ became very popular during the 1960’s with stars on the ceiling, gimmicky items and novelties that were not very bright and the glow did not last very long.
During the mid to late 1990s it was found that strontium alluminate worked far better, around 20 times brighter and lasting up to 48 to 50 hours under the right conditions. This therefore allows for serious applications, in our case for providing visual guidance systems for evacuating buildings, subways, mines, tunnels etc in emergency situations or during power outages.


Back in 1993 when the World Trade Centre in New York was bombed the first time (bomb in the basement car park), it was mentally and emotionally difficult for many people to return to the building because of the inadequate systems in place to evacuate people safely. A task force of safety experts was called in to evaluate the situation and make their recommendations and one of these experts was Mr Jim Smith of California.

 

Jim's background as a lighting engineer combined with his pioneering work in photoluminescence qualified him to advise on the situation, and amongst his recommendations was the introduction of photoluminescent systems in stairwells.

 

Step edges, handrails, perimeters of landings, doorframes etc were subsequently painted with the old zinc sulphide ‘glow in the dark’ paint. They also added photoluminescent floor level numbers for reference points throughout the evacuation process, thereby avoiding the panic caused by disorientation. Three-dimensional perception is lost in total darkness, and the resultant panic, stumbling and tripping is a real concern in this situation.

 

 

The findings from the investigations into September 11, 2001 showed that some 14,000 lives were probably saved as a result of the implementation of Jim's recommendations. This, coupled with the advent of strontium alluminate being so much more powerful, has resulted in legislation being introduced, initially in New York, that says every buildings above 75 feet must be fitted out with photoluminescent safety systems.
 


This same legislation was introduced into the International Building Code as of 1 January 2009.

 

Lumenite Light Sleeve

The pioneering work however did not stop there. With the idea of getting people into stairwells and safely negotiating their way down and out of the building, Jim realized that conventional emergency lighting systems were prone to failure, and that a failsafe method of navigating the floor-space to get to the stairwells was needed. The Lumenite Light Sleeve was created for this purpose.

Photoluminescence signage, arrows, markers etc provide reference points and directional guidance but are designed only for the ability to be seen. The Lumenite Light Sleeve is designed to emit usable light onto surfaces such as desks, chairs, computers, machinery - whatever pathway obstacles may be present. This is the only known viable product to provide free, reliable, environmentally friendly usable light without the need for wiring, electricity, batteries etc.

We do not claim to provide a bright light and do not expect anyone to continue reading or working, it is designed specifically to provide enough light in the initial critical stages of evacuation for safe and expedient egress.

 

This chart shows the light decay parameters as formally measured in the laboratory. Most standards around the world require sufficient lighting for evacuation for 90 minutes, which the light sleeve achieves. It cannot fail provided it is properly charged, as opposed to electrical and battery backed systems which all rely on lamps, batteries, inverters, etc and must be maintained regularly for them to work when called upon in an emergency situation.

 

              

 

As the light emitted decays over time, the human eye compensates by adjusting to the lower levels of light. It takes approximately 35 to 40 minutes for the eye to adapt to total darkness. The human eye can see down to 0.32mcd/sqm (milli candelas per square metre), and it would take about two days for the light output from a fully charged sleeve to reach this level. Having said that, after the first 90 - 120 minutes it may no longer be emitting sufficient light to illuminate surfaces several metres away, however it provides what we call the ‘breadcrumb effect’, meaning that you will still see the trail of light sleeves leading towards evacuation points.

The Lumenite light sleeve is our own unique patented product.



Lumenite Stair Edge Strip

In addition to the light sleeve, we identified a gap in the market whereby stair steps are now required to have photoluminescent strips to identify them and it became apparent that most were doing this by inserting a photoluminescent strip into an aluminum extrusion stair nosing. This is a very expensive process; aluminum is expensive and is time-consuming to install; it is also heavy for freight purposes and for carting to the required installation site where it is generally cut in situ.

With this in mind we created the Lumenite Edge Strip.

Our research concluded that we needed an economical and easy to install step edge strip, and to make it of a material that would not easily burn, nor would it give off toxic fumes. As you can imagine, if you are on the higher levels of a building and a fireball goes through the stairwell below, you do not want toxic fumes in the stairwell as you come down. We came up with EVA, (ethylene vinyl acetate) which gives us not only a great photoluminescent product for visual marking which is non-toxic, but the profile we use also provides a non-slip surface.

Legislation has been introduced in Europe, Australia and other countries making it mandatory for step edges to have colour differential to distinguish them because in low lighting levels they can appear to blend in with each other, and many accidents have occurred as a result of people missing a step and then stumbling and falling. Also, in some parts of Europe and other parts of the world, it is now a requirement that step edges have a non-slip rating.

Our design provides the best of these requirements, ie a non-slip surface, visual colour delineation, and a failsafe visual guidance system in the event of loss of normal lighting.

It is also extremely easy to install, we produce it in rolls so that the installer can simply roll it out, cut it with normal household scissors, peel away the backing and apply it. There is virtually no material wastage and installation is very quick and easy.


Whilst the stair strip is not designed to emit light in the way the Lumenite Light Sleeve does due to the proximity and intensity of the light force charging it, it still achieves its desired result of providing a clear visual guidance system.


Our products are environmentally friendly, non-toxic, non-radioactive, require no batteries or electrical energy, and most importantly cannot fail provided they are ‘charged’ with ambient light.



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