In the past we have given our customers an account of our successful projects, for example, the Schillathöhle(Schillat Cave)in Lower Saxony, the Kristallhöhle Kubach (Kubach Crystal Cave) near Weilburg, the Eisriesenwelt in Austria and the Höllgrotten in Switzerland in 2013. We wish to continue this with a report on our projects of 2013 – 2014.
In the middle of 2013 the Cave Lighting™ team was able to replace the path lighting and part of the show cave illumination of Lamprechtsofen show cave with modern LEDs. The project has not yet been completed and further installations are necessary, but it has already become clear that our equipment withstands extremely high water levels! The Lamprechtsofen, vertically dimensioning over 1600 metres and with a length of around 52 km, belongs to the world’s longest and deepest caves. It has been hit by heavy flooding several times. Visitors have been trapped and the car park has stood under water, but the Cave Lighting™ illumination system has never failed. However, the show cave operators are to make improvements relating to lightning strike and power surge. We have been able to give advice in this field and some progress has already been made. The lighting from the entrance to almost the end of the “Stainerhalle” has been renewed.
At the end of 2013 projects in Sardinia and in the Czech Republic followed.
Is-Ziddas show cave in the south of Sardinia is definitely one of the island’s most beautiful caves. The aragonite deposits are breathtaking. Lighting was installed in the “Salle de Eccentriche”, also for the paths. The illumination is switched by a Cave Lighting™ controller. Until now we have received only positive feed-back from both operator and visitors.
Next, we planned a new installation for the “Masarikuv-Dom” in Punkevni-Jeskyne in the Czech Republic. Dynamic illumination using our lighting controllers, electrical sub-distributors and multiple switching options were the main demands which we were glad to meet. The operators are very happy with our speedy, flawless installation and light design.
2014 began with the complete refurbishment and new design of Syrauer-Drachenhöhle (Syrau Dragon’s Cave). The greatest requirement, the complicated programming of our DMX colour lamps, was successfully achieved by our development engineer Vladimir V. The client wished for a special, technically very elaborate light show that had never before been installed in a show cave. Magnetic switches and optical fibre cables were also installed. After an extensive planning phase the project was concluded the same year and the cave is resplendent in its new Cave Lighting™ system.
Between February and April a dream was fulfilled with which the Cave Lighting™ Project first began back in 2005 when speleologists attending the AGM of the Verband der deutschen Höhlen- und Karstforscher (German Cave and Karst Association) in the southern Black Forest town of Hasel got together one evening and wondered what could be done about the bad, sometimes dazzling lighting and disrepair of the stairs and pathways in the Erdmannshöhle. In 2014 it was at last completely redesigned and renovated. Even the old railings, bridges and wooden stairways were replaced by us using new GRP (glass fibre reinforced plastic) materials. Two new sub-distributors, DMX colour lighting, light and music show enhance the cave which is now resplendent in its new ambience. New highlights were created in the “Bachgang, Fürstengruft and Rittersaal”.
The cave is also monitored and controlled with the help of optical fibre. A long cherished dream had at last come true!
At the beginning of April a new project in Northern Italy followed, the Grotte di Villanova. Here, we fitted out the first 100 m of the newly developed further reaches with a Cave Lighting™ system incorporating controllers, special light scenes, new sub-distributors and a beautiful light design. Shortly after we were able to add another 700 m and the whole of the further reaches is planned to be equipped at a later date. We have been involved in this project for a number of years in an advisory function and managed to ensure that the newly developed area was equipped using GRP installations.
From May to July the Veledahöhle (Veleda Cave) in Sauerland, North Rhine-Westphalia, was on the programme. A rather small project in a not so well-known cave that will nevertheless soon be open to the public. Here we installed 60 m of GRP pathways. This environmentally friendly glass fibre reinforced material is quick and easy to use and offers a number of advantages over stainless steel or other metals. Our linear lamps also fit nicely into the undersides of the handrails allowing speedy installation should they have to be fitted at a later date. The operator of Veleda Cave and Cave Lighting™ employee Leonid B. are delighted with the result.
From the beginning of June to August we spent a lot of time in Austria where we re-equipped the well known Lurgotte in Semriach just north of Graz. Around 350 LED Lamps now illuminate the “Großer Dom” (Great Dome), which, with a length of 120, a width of 80 and a height of 40 metres, is one of the largest subterranean chambers in Europe. Owner Andreas Schinnerl was so impressed by our work that we were commissioned to install another 100 lamps in the areas “Bärenhalle” and “Brüdergrotte” (Bear’s Hall and Brother’s Grotto) as well as in the “Lurbacher Schwinde” (Lurbach Swallet). The main challenge was the seemingly simple but in effect complicated switching possibilities to illuminate a chamber of such great dimensions. Besides this, the route is circular and this path is taken in the opposite direction than usual for special tours. The operator could also be advised in regard to power surge and lightning strike and decided to re-equip all electrical sub-distributors according to today’s technical standards. Such measures are vital to ensure long and trouble free operation of the electrical and lighting installations! A new communication line from inside the cave to the box office was established and sufficient electrical bonding attained.
Where once in the “Great Dome” the lighting was rather poor, dull and in some areas dazzling, the visitor can now perceive the subtleness of the structures in the vast chamber. “Tropfsteinparadies, Geigenspieler, Glocke, Hölle, Belvedere and Riese, etc.“ (Dripstone Paradise, Violinist, Bell, Hell, Belcedere and Giant, etc.) appear in the enchanting light of our LED lamps. Here, ecological and economical methods do not conflict and serve long-term conservation of the Lurgrotte in Semriach. We are very proud of this successful project after only a short period of planning and installation time.
In retrospect, over the past two years many projects we able to be completed and durability improved. We have also extended our range of lamps, controllers and services. Further speleologically and technically experienced employees could be won for the Cave Lighting™ team. We can support a project from beginning to end in an even better professional manner. Our experience and expertise are highly regarded world-wide; more than 40 projects speak for themselves. A long-term study of materials is possible and the wealth of experience grows from project to project.
In autumn 2014 several projects in Germany were carried out.
The area known as the “Irrgarten” (maze) in the Kluterthöhle was completely modernised.
After being commissioned by the manager of the Kluterthöhle & Freizeit GmbH & Co KG, Volker Külpmann, Cave Lighting™ specialists, with the cooperation of Elektro Schäufler, planned and finally installed the lighting in the end reaches of the cave in September and October. The objective was not only to provide an energy saving system; the cave was to be presented from a different perspective using a new, artistic distribution of the lighting sources. The plan was fulfilled after a six week installation period. Even well known sections of the cave may now be “rediscovered”. Hitherto unrecognised details, once hidden in the background, now stand out in the new light, fascinating even those well acquainted with the cave. The system incorporates intelligent Cave Lighting™ controlling equipment that allows individual operation of various illuminated areas and even of individual lamps. The newly fashioned section contains two DMX stations that provide light-music shows to impress even the most demanding audiences. The ceremonial opening of the new installation takes place in February. The redesigning of the sections “Kirschweg” and “Therapie” is already being planned and should receive Cave Lighting™ illumination by 2016 at the latest.
In 2015 the Cave Lighting™ team looks at a rosy future as projects in Germany, Belgium, Slovakia and in the Cayman Islands are planned.
The Cave Lighting™ team was represented by Alexander Chrapko and Adrian Kondacs at the internalional conference Cave Lighting 2 from the 9 - 12 October, and at the same time by Oliver Heil at the Jahrestagung des Verbandes der Österreichischen Höhlenforscher [VÖH] (AGM of the Austrian Speleological Association) at Gams in Styria.
Our motto is still:” by speleologists for show caves”, for caves are not only our hobby, they are our vocation.
Herborn in January 2015
Oliver Heil, Alexander Chrapko - Cave Lighting team