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The solution is right under our feet

Using its patented MILS® and ELSI™ systems, MariMils can help its customers improve their processes, enhance safety, save on costs, and benefit the environment – all by shedding a little light on things in the right place.

The MILS® system uses MariMils’ patented LED dynamic stripes, light panels, and associated equipment to guide people to safety in a fire or other emergency where rapid evacuation is called for, or improve customer flows in non-emergency applications, such as metro stations, tunnels, museums, and airports.

The MILS® system was first designed to meet strict marine emergency lighting standards, and has been fitted to a number of prestigious passenger vessels, including the world’s largest cruise ship, the Oasis of the Seas, built in Finland and delivered in 2009.

The MILS® system has been fitted to a number of prestigious passenger vessels, including the 225,000 grt Oasis of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship.

This marine background explains why safety has been such a key aspect of the technology, and MILS® systems are fully monitored at all times and can be remotely controlled if needed. Safety has been very much to the fore in land-based projects, and a MILS® system installed at a cinema in Belfast, for example, won the Fire Excellence Award FSE Project Design of the Year in 2009.

Flexible and efficient

Unlike inflexible conventional systems, such as overhead Exit signs or ‘glow-in-the-dark’ photoluminescent marking stripes, the MILS® system of sequentially illuminating lighting always shows people their optimal route, which is not necessarily the nearest one, and can re-route them automatically if a primary route becomes blocked or too dangerous.

Operating costs are very low, as a kilometre of MILS® tunnel stripe and 200 light panels uses the same amount of electricity as one 100W light bulb. Combined with the long service life of MILS® stripes, this results in a very environmentally friendly system. All stripes and panels are fully waterproof and dustproof to IP68 standards, further enhancing their service life and simplifying cleaning routines as well.

Help where and when it’s needed

MariMils has taken its technology a step further with the ELSI™ monitoring system. Based on sensor laminates that can be fitted out of sight under virtually any type of floor covering, ELSI™ monitors people’s movement and analyses their actions.

MariMils’ technology can help improve safety and people flow, save on energy, and evacuate people faster in an emergency. 

Residential care facilities represent an ideal application for this technology, as it can quickly inform nursing staff if elderly or disabled people encounter mobility-related problems and need help. ELSI™ software will automatically send a text message or other alert to staff when residents step out of bed in the morning, if they fall over, when they leave a room, or when they stay in one place, such as the bathroom, for an excessively long time.

An ELSI™ system can also be integrated with low location lighting, audio links, help buttons, and other applications, and is guaranteed to help nursing staff react faster in the event of an emergency or other situation.

ELSI™ systems can be linked to third-party systems, such as building services, alarm systems, and elevator and escalator control systems to collect information about people’s movements, the routes they take, and how efficient flows of people are. This can provide useful data for saving energy in areas such as lighting and making buildings more efficient for both their users and their owners.

MariMils has also combined MILS® and ELSI™ technologies to provide better queue control and security gate throughput at airports.

It may seem simple, but it’s very smart

The only part of a MILS® system that the public is ever likely to see are the LEDs embedded along escape routes and in compact light and symbol panels. These LEDs, together with a copper conductor, are contained in stripes of transparent polyamide about 22 mm wide and 2 mm thick installed like grouting between floor tiles or along carpeting.

These stripes are connected to MILS® Control software, which is used for designing evacuation plans, simulating evacuation scenarios, and realtime monitoring and reporting and providing remote control in an emergency. The software features an open interface with other safety systems to guarantee maximum flexibility.

Its dynamism is a major advantage over traditional static safety markings in emergency applications, as it enables people to be directed to the routes that will give them the best chance of escaping a structure safely and in the minimum time possible, in the event of a fire, flooding, a power outage, or a terrorist incident.

The inbuilt intelligence of the technology is just as useful in non-emergency applications. The metro system in Madrid, for example, already uses the technology to direct passengers at stations during the rush hour; and retailers, museums, hospitals, airports, and stations elsewhere are showing increasing interest in tapping into the benefits MariMils’ technology has to offer.

> Richard Eggleton
(Published in HighTech Finland 2010)