Heineken, Amstel and Windhoek are known and marketed as premium beers, and Sedibeng Brewery where these beverages are produced regards itself as a premium facility. This not only covers the high-tech brewery plant, but also state of the art audio-visual and digital media equipment. In 2010 Promag reported on the Sedibeng Brewery's desire to install "a stable, yet easy-to-use audio visual control system for their new administration building which would allow for high definition video and data to be distributed to designated zones and which would also simplify boardroom operations". This desire was satisfied by Kobus Bosch of HFX Systems who installed the very first Crestron Digital Media system in South Africa.
Since 2010 and the completion of Phase 1 neither Sedibeng nor HFX have been idle. The end of 2012 saw the successful completion of Phase 2. Known as The Heineken Experience it is a visitor's information system that gives historical, brew process, safety, fermentation, bottling and packaging information in attractive Audio-Visual format at various points throughout the plant.
The brewery is a huge site and the challenge was to get a perfect HD signal from the Crestron System where the video clips are situated on an Alcorn McBride bin loop player, to the various points of display – some of which are over 2km away. "Copper was not even considered as an option due to the distances and other restrictions," said Kobus "so we opted to utilise spare Single Mode optic fibre ports. In effect we piggybacked on the existing Brewery single mode data network."
Rupert Denoon of Electrosonic, who assisted with the design, added "This is the first single mode Digital media system install in Sub-Saharan Africa. It has the capability to send full HD signals, RS232 control, IR control and LAN up to 10 km".
Kobus incorporated a bit of dazzle at the Fermentation area where a Martin Moving Head display with gobos of the beer logos lights up when the AV is activated by visitors.
It is worth noting that a job of this nature is not a simple undertaking: a huge number of man hours and a large amount of skilled Human Resources are required. Many hours were spent on planning, design, discussion and on-site visits. Documentation and compliance took up more time, before the nuts and bolts of installation and programming could proceed (see table for exact breakdown). It must also be noted that the installation proceeded while the brewery was operational, as the Brewery runs 7 days a week. Working in a brewery might sound like a lot of fun to most drinking men (and women), but it is less fun than it might seem, because a modern brewery is noisy environment with extreme temperature and humidity variations.
Design, project planning and on site meetings
Preparation of documentation, safety and environmental compliancy
The Sedibeng project is so exceptional that HFX Systems received a "Highly Commended" award in the Best DigitalMedia™ Install" category at the Crestron Integration Awards in Amsterdam in January 2013. Congratulations to all concerned!
This is not the end of the story; Sedibeng Breweries are planning further improvements to their AV systems. Phase three requires Kobus and HFX Systems to utilize the current infrastructure to extract and display production data in designated areas; and, supply, install and program HD display panels in dust and moisture protected cabinets.
"The nice thing about Crestron is that it is future upgradable," said Kobus: "four years down the line we are still adding value because Crestron allows you the expandability to push the boundaries and the scope for expansion has now increased beyond the original specification".
Kobus's award-winning team is sure to rise to the challenge and Promag will keep you posted.
A very proud team indeed: (Above, left to right) Rupert Denoon (Product Manager – Crestron SA), Kobus Bosch (HFX Systems) and Eugene Coetzee (AV Systems Manager – Electrosonic SA).
Kobus Bosch from HFX Systems receiving the "Highly Commended for the Best DigitalMedia™ Install" from Crestron International's VP of Sales & Marketing, Robin van Meeuwen.
In August our shores were once again visited by David Penrose from Kramer Singapore to conduct seminars on working with digital signals in the modern AV environment. The half-day seminars were held on the 6th of August at The Cape Town Lodge and 7th at the Indaba Hotel in Fourways, Gauteng. The hot topic was the looming "Analogue Sunset" which dictates that by the 31st December 2013 analogue video connectivity on all media devices must make its final bow.
Subjects discussed were: Dealing with EDID; HDCP; and, The Impact Higher Data Rates on Bandwidth Requirements, to mention but a few. The seminar was well received and offered great value to all who attended.