Bosch focuses on EN 54-certified solutions
Martijn van Overveld and Oliver Sahm from Bosch Security Systems turn the spotlight on the company’s EN54 offerings.
Safe & Sound
For 2014, Bosch is presenting its pioneering combination of Evacuation (EVAC) and ProSound Systems. The best of both worlds and soon-to-be standard for large installations.
Large events are subject to stringent safety measures. In these, the EVAC system – the Public Address and evacuation system – plays a fundamental role. Through its high level of intelligibility and homogeneous coverage, the Public Address and Evacuation System (EVAC) plays a fundamental role in the overall system and can save lives in an emergency.
For this reason, the voice alarm systems are subject to stringent safety requirements. To ensure that warning messages and information concerning appropriate measures to be taken are intelligible, the EVAC system must meet certain requirements. Amongst others these include: the automatic status and error monitoring of all important components in the signal chain (from the microphone to the loudspeaker), the emergency power supply and the conformity of the installation.
In the last few years, the fixed installation segment developed considerably. Especially in the field of stadium, larger hotel and conference center installations. Whereas in the past, these venues were devoted exclusively to either sports or meetings, today they are multi-functional.
In the stadium for example, next to the sports programs, a lot of secondary events take place. This development has decisive implications for the installed sound reinforcement system. Music in the pre-program, a variety of performances, interviews and the playback of advertisements make high sound quality essential. The level of intelligibility, too, must be as high as possible throughout the entire venue. ProSound stands for a balanced sonic image and high dynamics.
Safe & Sound: When ProSound meets EVAC
Having separate ProSound and EVAC systems is only the second best solution: it complicates handling and increases the incidence of errors. Additionally, venues such as stadiums and arenas have long reverberation times and challenging room acoustic conditions. To achieve the speech intelligibility values required by safety standards and to prevent non-uniform sound quality, installations require the use of ProSound components. For this reason, a combined ProSound and EVAC system – the best of both worlds – is the solution for which customers have long been waiting. Bosch has played a ground-breaking role in this new field. As early as 2006, at the World Cup in Germany, a number of the stadiums hosting the event boasted combined ProSound and EVAC systems that represented a highly satisfactory complete solution. The trend towards further combinations in the electro-acoustic area went even further to include combined fire detection and evacuation systems. A single interface suffices for the day-to-day control, the supervision and even the configuration of the system (via IRIS-Net). For the user, this brings enormous gains in terms of efficiency, handling comfort and transparency.
"In the future, as the planners invite tenders for voice alarm and ProSound systems together, the market will grow accordingly. Once it be-comes known that you can now amalgamate the two, the subject will become more and more important."
EN 54 – a norm becomes standard
The EN 54 standard had its origins in the fire detection sector. This circumstance alone explains why EN 54 sets the bar extremely high in terms of functionality, safety and quality. The European standard EN 54-16 is the product standard for voice alarm and indicating equipment and EN 54-24 is the product standard for loudspeakers.
The EN 54 certification process involves the manufacturer-independent appraisal of certain specific characteristics of devices. According to independent consultant for electro-acoustic Claus-Peter Sterling, the norm also represents a hallmark of quality. The EN 54 standard establishes quality requirements that apply throughout Europe and according to which products are appraised and certified. Above all, for planners: the standard simplifies the tendering process by making it easier for products to be compared with one another.
A discussion with Claus-Peter Sterling (independent consultant for electro-acoustics) and Richard Merget (acoustic engineer at Bosch Security Systems)
Q: How does the certification process work in practice?
Claus-Peter Sterling: "Loudspeakers are tested as individual products, but voice alarm systems are only tested as complete units supplied by a single manufacturer. It is not permissible to combine certified products from different manufacturers in the same system."
Q: What is tested in the certification process? What tests does the equipment have to pass?
Claus-Peter Sterling: "The tests are many and varied: individual tests, endurance tests, mechanical stress, temperature and SO2 tests. A list of the various tests is appended to the standard."
Richard Merget: "The inspections are technically extensive. Devices are subjected to a battery of tests, for instance: reproducibility (frequency response), rated impedance, maximum sound pressure level and rated noise power (durability) and others under different operating conditions. The devices are really put through their paces."
Q: How do you see future developments in the field of ProSound and EVAC with regard to EN 54?
Richard Merget: "In the future, as the planners invite tenders for voice alarm and ProSound systems together, the market will grow accordingly. Once it be-comes known that you can now amalgamate the two, the subject will become more and more important."
"Loudspeakers are tested as individual products, but voice alarm systems are only tested as complete units supplied by a single manufacturer. It is not permissible to combine certified products from different manufacturers in the same system"
One single EN 54-certified solution
Grounding its initiatives in the needs of the market, Bosch is once again a pioneer: it is the first supplier in the world to offer EN 54-certified ProSound and voice alarm/fire detection systems in a single solution – including systems parts which have for many years been demonstrating their capabilities in the installation segment.
The typical EN-54 EVAC meets ProSound solution for a complete stadium or multipurpose venue solution would be: a Dynacord Promatrix 8000 system, an Electro-Voice NetMax N8000 system controller or Dynacord P64 digital audio matrix manager as well as certified loudspeakers from Electro-Voice and Bosch along with Electro-Voice CPS or Dynacord DSA multi-channel amplifiers.
The Allianz Riviera Arena in Nice – a trail-blazing stadium
In France, the EN 54 standard is already mandatory for installed devices. The recently opened Allianz Riviera Arena in Nice is the first stadium to comply fully with the EN 54 standard. The 35,000-seater arena – a venue for the upcoming European Football Championships in 2016 – is equipped with certified audio systems from Electro-Voice, Dynacord and Bosch. "The tender for the Allianz Riviera stipulated that the entire sound reinforcement needs of the stadium, from voice alarm to live concert sound, should be met by an integral EN 54-compliant system," says Jean Marandet, Product & Service Manager with EVI Audio France. This meant that the intelligibility levels (STI) enforced by system norms and stadium standards had to be met and homogeneous sound pressure level (SPL) distribution assured.