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Morris men: Swaidan's new lighting towers

Dubai’s Swaidan Trading, the equipment trading arm of Al Naboodah Group, has ordered 50 ‘SMC TL90’ lighting towers in its first major order from UK-based manufacturer Morris Site Machinery (MSM), which has celebrated the sale as an international milestone for the British business.

The SMC TL90 LED lighting tower is a fuel-efficient model that has been specifically adapted to improve heat reflection and maintain performance in the temperatures of the Middle East.

In the context of the Gulf, Morris’ lighting towers come at a premium price. However, in a comparison of performance, a TL90 with LED lights can run for 133 hours on a single tank of fuel, compared to perhaps 40 or 60 hours for a cheaper metal halide unit.

And that is just the beginning. As Phil Winnington, international business director for MSM, notes: “There is also the ability to link three lighting towers up together and run all three units off the engine of just one — so potentially you’ve got 399, virtually 400, hours of run time if you consecutively switch your engines.”

To reiterate, when linked together, the SMC TL90 can have their engines be run in sequence one-by-one to triple their collective run time, relative to a scenario where they might be deployed individually.

At the same time, when used this way, the units use a third of the fuel for the equivalent hours of run time.

In most markets, the potential savings of this are staggering, and in the Gulf, where many governments are raising fuel prices, it could soon make for an interesting value proposition.

This raises the question of why you would ever run the units individually, and the answer is this: other options. An alternative use for a single one lighting tower, which might otherwise power three lighting towers, is to use it to power hand tools — the SL90 can double up as a mini-generator on the job site.

Winnington, explains: “It’s the option to do that. Equally you could run them off a generator, because they’ve got a mains changeover as well.”

There are some other obvious advantages to the TL90. The lighting tower is compact and easy to use, with a hydraulically powered vertical mast — removing the risk of collapse associated with horizontal masts and the risk of human error associated with manually winched masts.

In terms of the LED lights, five powerful 240W LED lamps provide strong and even light over a lamp life of 50,000 hours.

Combine this with the fuel savings and high run time of the units when run together, and “there’s less maintenance and less involvement with people running to fuel them up”, notes Winnington.

The second question this raises is why we have not heard of the SMC TL90 already, and Winnington’s answer to that is that the region was just not ready.

He notes: “We have been knocking on the door of the region for a while now, but we’re almost introducing a different level of quality. A lot of businesses were aspiring to that, but of course it was naturally going to cost more.

“The lighting market is seemingly large within the Middle East, but you see a lot of what we would classify as entry-level products — so they are more basic masts that start horizontally and hand-winched.”

Swaidan took the bait, not at The Big 5 in 2015, as you might expect, but at Bauma 2016 this year in Munich, when Swaidan’s CEO, Ajit Kumar, paid a visit to MSM’s stand.

Winnington recalls: “They had a particular customer, and needed a product for them.”

That particular customer was a contractor now working on a project for Dubai Expo 2020, in line with the wishes of the authorities to make it an environment friendly event.

Those first 50 units have now been delivered, so we can soon look forward to the initial feedback on their performance.

Now, MSM’s hope is for a long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship with Swaidan Trading, and indeed, hot-on-the-heels of this sales success a further order has already been placed in the UAE for more lighting towers from MSM.

Morris men: Swaidan's new lighting towers