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Memphis International Airport Case Study

Memphis International Airport (MEM), the home of Federal Express, is one airport that has benefited significantly from MALMS Commissioning and Acceptance service. By deploying MALMS (Mobile Airfield Light Monitoring System) on all its more recent runway rebuild projects, the airport has been able to ensure that unexpected installation and component problems with the airfield lighting services, some very significant, have been identified prior to final commissioning. As a result, effective rectification work, and establishing lighting system performance well above minimum requirements, has been completed as part of the build programme, and not something that it has had to deal with as a maintenance issue.

For instance, with the re-build of the airport's CAT III center runway and adjacent taxiway; visual inspection had indicated that the completely new airfield light systems were operating as specified. However, photometric measurement runs prove an real 'eye opener' by quickly highlighting that the overall runway system performance was actually below the required performance criteria, with a number of particular problems. For instance, in one section of the touch down zone lighting, none of the lights were performing at the required performance level, with a number only just performing above 50% of the standard. A subsequent detailed inspection, employing the mobile system to identify specific fittings, revealed a hidden problem caused by a combination of fixture specification and standard installation practices. Similarly, the testing of the elevated edge lights found a significant proportion that were actually 'failing'. Investigating this problem, it was found that while the contractor had gone to great pains to ensure correct installation alignment, they had failed to notice that many of the fittings were no longer assembled properly. Once identified, the contractor was able to quickly rectify all the problems.

However, without this testing, not only would discovering the problems have taken much longer (probably well after the runway had been commissioned and in use) but pinpointing specific issues, and determining the subsequent solution, would have been much harder and far more costly. Moreover, the cost of a photometric survey is insignificance, when compared against the overall costs of runway re-build project, but without it the airport operator cannot confirm that the airfield light system it has purchased is operating to the required level.

Joseph Polk, MEM's Manager of Construction Administration explains, "Previously, we had no idea whether the airfield light systems installed actually met the required standards. Now we know that when the system is turned over to us for operation it has been built and performs to a high standard, well above the level required by the FAA and ICAO. Moreover, should the quality of the lighting system be called into question, in the past we would have had no way to prove that the system was effective when built. Now we have the advantage of having fully documented evidence of compliance."

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Inset or Elevated Lighting

Transverse will measure most types of inset and elevated lighting including approach lighting up to 1.5m above ground.

Laboratory Testing

Workshop will quickly and accurately measure the photometric performance of light fittings before they are installed on the airfield.

Effective Cleaning

MALMS have engineered products to remove contamination from light fittings and protect lights from future build up.

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