Heathrow Terminal 5 - All the time in the world

Thursday, 27 February 2014 20:34 Gail Flower
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We let Gail Flower, editor of "Industrial + Special Printing" magazine, to describe this unique installation at Heathrow Airport - as she did in her article:



The cover for this issue is a large letter “g” that was produced using electrolumines- cent-printing techniques. It took a while to find this image. I wrote to Richard Kirk (among others), the CEO of PolyPhotonix, PETEC, in Sedgefield, County Durham, UK, to see if he had any great EL images. Among the images, he sent this large letter, part of an electroluminescent world clock, and a picture of it in copy found on the first-class lounge at Heathrow Airport. Here’s what he said about it.

“I’m enclosing some photos of an AC EL job that we (my old company) produced at Heathrow Airport some years ago. I think that it it’s still the benchmark in this technology.”

It has 10,000 circuits, is 25 m long, and has 188 characters that are address- able and programmable from a distance, with live updates. The whole piece is called: “All the Time in the World.” The design came from Troika in London. It has been running for British Airlines since 2008.

Pavel Beneš, the director of the Czech Centre for Printed Electronics, is currently working on the revamp of All the Time in the World. He sent in a few details as well. “All the Time in the World” is fully automated and doesn’t require any daily maintenance—it is computer synchronized to change globally when clocks change according to daylight saving time. This is done automatically from the control box that’s situated in the manager’s office. Though the EL lamps have an estimated life span of two years, after which the brightness fades, this use of EL has lasted almost twice the expec- tancy before updates. Source equipment is stored in a specially designed, wall- mounted cupboard. A specific fan has been installed for temperature control of the electronic equipment. 

Troika designed “All the Time in the World” using a custom-build EL display system. The clock extends the conventional notion of a world clock, which com- monly concentrates on capital cities in different time zones, by linking real time with exciting associations, exotic wonders, and forgotten cultures.


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