Naksys is a global company that specialises in the development and supply of innovative technologies to the airport industry. The company was recognised as an innovative company by the French Government in 2011. Future Airport Asia talks to Jules Ferry Nakirane, Naksys director, about the role of airfield lighting, the importance of regular maintenance and the use of LEDs.

Naksys is known for its expertise in airfield lighting. What are the company’s missions and activities?

Jules Ferry Nakirane: Naksys is a global company that specialises in the development and supply of innovative technologies to the airport industry. The company was nominated an innovative company by the French Government in 2011. Our team of experts have served this industry more than 15 years, with a continuous commitment to assisting airport operators and civil aviations with appropriate technologies and cost-efficient solutions to maintain their airfield lighting system in accordance with the standards and requirements of the ICAO and the FAA.

The company is the industry leader in the design and manufacturing of a complete range of mobile and static photometric equipment to control, maintain and calibrate airfield lighting systems. Our company also has capabilities to provide audits and services to airports and civil aviations worldwide. These services include mobilisation of relevant equipment, analysing measurements on site to evaluate airfield lighting systems and detailed reports to assess or achieve the compliance level as per ICAO/FAA needs.

Naksys has established strong partnerships with leading AGL manufacturers and executes AGL projects, including supply of AGL equipment, control and monitoring systems, relevant testing and reporting.

Airports are increasing in size. How does this affect the airfield lighting system?

Airfield lighting constitutes 90% of the airport landscape, and subsequently represents a massive part of the airport operator’s operations and resources to manage, maintain and comply with regulations and safety aspects. For a long time, the airfield lighting system was managed using a curative maintenance. This is no longer the case since the ICAO and the FAA clearly published the minimum requirements for a safer operation of the airfield lighting system.

Over the last decade, we have noticed that many airports and civil aviations have systematically adopted these requirements, as well all the recommendations that contribute to safety and compliance, whether mandatory or not.

Today, almost all airport operators are concerned that their airfield lighting is energy efficient, secure, compliant with regulations and cost efficient. This global awareness sets new thresholds in the development phase of the projects, whether for an extension of the existing installation or a completely new one.

Airports make use of the latest technology to regularly control and calibrate the airfield lighting system. Our company provides these solutions. We have been assisting airports and CAAs by engineering and pioneering appropriate test equipment and solutions to reach a cost-efficient preventive maintenance system. We are glad to see that airports are adopting preventive maintenance and that no one compromises safety.

Describe Naksys’s preventive airfield lighting maintenance system.

The preventive maintenance we deliver for airfield lighting systems is carried out in different phases. The first stage is to accurately measure the status of the existing installation, then to identify critical items or sections, calculate the defect ratio and finally create an action plan to maintain 100% reliable operations on runways and taxiways for air and ground traffic.

Adopting a preventive maintenance system is the beginning of a huge saving in spare parts and manpower time. We noticed that all airports where we implemented this concept no longer perform any more batch replacement of lamps, lights or guidance signs. After undertaking initial efforts to reach a 100%-compliant installation, the system is easier to maintain with regularly controls.

Naksys manufactures a complete range of equipment to cover the full preventive-maintenance cycle. The CALIBER System, which is the leading and latest generation of mobile photometry equipment to calibrate the elevated and inset airfield lights installed on site; the BEAMSNAP System, which is the latest workshop tester to test light fittings after repairs in workshop and before reinstallation on site; the PANELSNAP System, which is the portable camera-based equipment to test airfield signs installed on site or the workshop after repairs or refurbishment; the FRAMEREADER System, which is a portable stand-alone system that does on-site testing of the PAPI, runway guard lights and lights on high masts, for example, in the approach sections.

All equipment we manufacture has achieved customer satisfaction because they are easier, reliable, faster and precise. No special skills are required compared with the past; tests are now carried out more efficiently. Above all, we assist our users until we are sure that the correct preventive maintenance is adopted.

What is the impact of LED technology in airfield lighting?

LED technology has had a major effect in the airfield lighting industry; however, it is a subject of much debate. Many workgroups are deciding whether to continue to promote this technology in airfield lighting or not.

The calibration equipment we manufacture copes with LED technology and can measure LED light sources. Our equipment has been tested on various types of light sources. This is a good technology to be handled carefully in order to achieve a smooth and uniform guidance path. We have also studied projects in several airports to convert existing technologies to LED. The studies, prototyping and testing we carried out was very interesting. As a result, we ended up with a retrofit solution that was energy-saving, cost-effective and compliant with standards.

What future developments is Naksys working on?

Our strength and distinction in this industry have always been associated with innovation. Our company aims to be a leading manufacturer by offering the highest performance and a complete range of products for airfield lighting photometric calibration. This step is achieved with its recognition as an innovative company by the French Government.

Our next line of developments shall focus on further increasing the performance of our equipment and to interface them completely. The target is to ultimately facilitate the work of the users of our equipment and to reduce the time spent on site.

We frequently update the industry with newsletters and meet airport users to work with them on new developments.