24.02.10

Ateis core to ExCel expansion

AUTHOR: Inavate

The ExCel exhibition and conference centre in London has turned to Ateis UK as part of its expansion and refurbishment. Ateis will supply audio processing and control technology for PA and VA systems used around the rooms and halls.

ExCel opened in the Docklands in 2000, attracting international conferences and exhibitions due to its proximity to the City of London and rail and Underground links to the West End, with London City Airport not far away. After nearly ten years in the competitive venues market ExCel's owners decided to redevelop the original building and add more halls and rooms.

PA and VA systems are necessary in both areas, so Ateis UK was involved by Notifier by Honeywell and its customer installation company Unysystems to supply equipment and advice. Phase one of the project was completed during the summer of 2009 and involved replacing the old PA/VA system in the original building, which has been extended by between 30 to 50 per cent of its original size.

The new installation in the existing halls is based around Ateis' core VA system, the IDA, and the LAP (linked audio processor). The LAPs are linked over a fibre network using DSP technology and can be built up from modular units into full systems, handling inputs from microphones in the halls and outputs for each zone.

Each LAP has four secure channels set aside for transmitting emergency message and live announcements from the Fireman's Microphone, which create the VA network. The LAPs are connected to the IDAs over a RS232 link. These units deal with the control and fault data necessary to ensure the network is monitoring all activity and functions.

At ExCel the LAPs are also provide some audio processing, including equalisation, compression and limiting, and can be used as a 32-channel matrix mixer. Ambient noise sensing is built in and will be implemented at the ExCel when Phase 2 is completed.

Equipment was fitted into 14 racks in eight machine rooms. It was installed alongside side/near the old system components, which were switched off during a "dark" period for the venue so the IDAs and LAP could be connected to take over, driving existing loudspeakers.

The system produces 40kW of audio power and is controlled from a single graphical user interface (GUI), running the racks and 18 microphone stations, which can be routed to more than 100 zones.

This installation is now running but Ateis is currently engaged on phase two of the redevelopment, due to be completed in May. As this is a new part of ExCel the PA/VA system is being built from scratch. Neil Voce, sales director of Ateis UK, says the key part of the project will be bringing the two systems together. "There will be a period of amalgamating the two individual networks into one big, venue-wide network," he explained.