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Rohl is a big player in the street lighting market. With their innovative designs and personal approach, they never fail to deliver high-end lighting solutions. Rohl, Future Electronics and RENA formed a partnership in 2013 and just finished another project together: the renovation of the famous Annie Cordy tunnel in Brussels, which is the longest tunnel in Belgium.
Time to discuss our partnership with Jean-Luc Piroux (Export Manager at Rohl), José Caseiro (Technical Department Manager at Rohl) and Emmanuel Gardette (Field Application Engineer at our partner Future Electronics).
Why do customers choose Rohl?
Jean-Luc answers with pride: “Because we are reactive, technically knowledgeable, and very often smaller than our competitors. When customers meet us, they get to trust us. Our technical advice, on-time delivery and personal approach is what customers value in Rohl. We communicate in a transparent way and are honest about what we can and cannot do. We see that transparency in RENA, too and that is exactly what we search for in a partner.”
“We answer the most specific needs of customers”, he adds. “Such as specific adaptations or fixations for luminaires. We believe that we are more flexible and think along better than our competitors. Our first answer to customers is always: ‘we are going to have a look at it’. We’ll always at least consider their enquiry. Bigger companies that focus on higher volumes, get back with a ‘no’ right away. RENA operates the same way we do, and is much alike in a lot of ways. This makes the partnership feel very organic.”
What is the current status of the market Rohl is operating in?
Jean-Luc: “Nowadays, street lighting is quite a booming market. That’s not usually a term I use in street lighting, it was a declining market over the years. But as of right now, the market is great. We have a stronger order intake than usual and we are not the only ones. We believe this has to do with several things; first of all the wide range of technical possibilities, going from colour LEDs to tunable white and different kinds of software functions and hardware possibilities. The only problem now is supplying the needed parts. Luckily we work with partners like RENA and Future Electronics that help us stay ahead and think ahead.”
Why did Rohl choose RENA as a partner?
“RENA is transparent and gives us the technical advice that we need for Rohl”, Emmanuel explains. “They help Rohl to have the best product on the market. The relationship started with an improvement of an existing luminaire many years ago. RENA still produces this for Rohl to this day. RENA will make a complete analysis of the luminaire, bring to light all good features and improvements. RENA gives Rohl a top position on the market by adapting standard boards or designs to have a technical or mechanical advantage, or by coming up with completely innovative designs. Their advanced technical knowledge is a huge help. RENA has a great supply chain and purchasing department, and the proximity of the company is also a big plus. You can wake up at 2 AM in Zundert and be at Rohl at 9AM”, Emmanuel says jokingly.
José adds: “We have also educated our external maintenance partner on technical issues regarding maintenance of our luminaires, thanks to the advice and knowledge of RENA. Especially in the beginning, we had a lot of questions about ESD (electrostatic discharge) safety, temperature, efficiency and maintenance. RENA could answer them all.”
What were the biggest considerations regarding the Annie Cordy project?
“For lighting in a tunnel, as you can imagine, maintenance can be a big issue”, Jean-Luc says. “The floodlights with coloured LEDs we installed, have to function for at least 20 years. We want to prevent the lighting being sensitive to maintenance at all cost. Working with a customised board, but using the ZHAGA standard, helped convince our customer that our solution was more elaborate than our competitors’. The standard makes maintenance easier and less dependent on a specific company.
Another factor was time, as you can’t close such an important tunnel for months, just because the lighting is delayed. It would have taken a lot more time to develop this project with anyone else than RENA. The trust between companies is very important, especially in time critical situations like this.
Despite everything, we were confident that we would be able to supply this project on time. Thanks to our collaboration with Future Electronics and a lot of effort from RENA, such as our weekly follow up. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without them.”
How do you see the future of our collaboration?
Jean-Luc: “I think finding solutions to reduce light impact on biodiversity will be a top priority in the coming years. We will need to find street lighting that works for humans, without sacrificing the flora and fauna around us. Changing colour temperature or tunable white is easy nowadays and already integrated in our sales. But there’s no real straightforward answer to the ecological impact problem. We need to explore the possibilities in great detail and include scientific studies. The other day, I sat around a table with an ecologist, which is very new in the industry. Every area has a slightly different ecosystem, and therefore asks for a different lighting solution. I am confident that RENA will partner with us on all the technical opportunities to come.”
Photo credit: Rohl/Yannick Coppens
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