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IFEMA undergoes largest EN 54-certified PA-VA installation in Europe

IFEMA has adapted its public address and voice alarm system to the EN54 standard, recently undertaking the largest EN 54-certified PA-VA installation in Europe.

This project has meant applying all the standards required by this regulation to the sound system for 1 million square metres, using 385,640W distributed in electroacoustic and amplification systems. GHESA Ingeniería y Tecnología was the engineering company responsible for the project and site supervision.

All these elements are managed through control equipment certified under the EN 54 standard, able to broadcast up to 52 simultaneous and different evacuation messages, and backed by a customised management software that allows operating over the venue system, fully scalable and expandable so that more areas can be added depending on the future needs of IFEMA.

The project’s main objectives required, on the one hand, to strictly comply with the regulations through their technical specifications, which apply to the fair because it is a building with an occupation that exceeds 500 people and, on the other, to guarantee a good performance of the installation using a robust and certified system. All this to cover the needs of one of the major fair institutions in Europe, with more than four million visitors a year.

Ruybesa Global Technologies was the integrator assigned as a contractor for this project, which has been carried out using advanced LDA Audio Tech systems.

With this large project, IFEMA continues a process of technological transformation within its philosophy of ongoing innovation and its strategic growth plan. Under this line of work is the recent achievement of the AENOR Emergency Management certification, as well as the improvement of security systems, the renewal of the Wi-Fi network, capable of simultaneously connecting up to 65,000 users, or the installation of latest generation 5G technology in the venue.

The new PA-VA system is supported on the fully redundant data network installed in IFEMA, working as a communications base infrastructure. From there, each of the EN 54 systems, both in the pavilions and in the other locations, can operate locally and independently. This way, if the data network goes down, messages could be emitted from each communication room, either directly through the microphone or with prerecorded audio, stored in the equipment itself.

The central control system is based on redundant servers, so that the failure of any equipment does not entail the loss of any installation functionality, thus guaranteeing the security of the fair in case of emergency.

LDA Audio Tech PA-VA systems have been complemented with JBL speakers, as well as products from other manufacturers.

Channeling, wiring and installation of speakers in height have also been carried out, including 516 speaker boxes over 12 metres. For this, up to six lifting platforms and 12 machines have been used simultaneously, three of them with the possibility of installing up to 25m-high.

The user interface of the control software is similar to the previous one, so it has not meant a great change in the operability of the system. It allows the user to manage the audio volume and to control each zone of the venue, also including the deployment of the system in the new installed areas.

A total of 42 full-time people and nine with partial dedication have worked on this project continuously and during the different phases of execution. The team has been coordinated at all times with the rest of IFEMA personnel, adjusting the working deadlines to the fair activity, also considering the delivery times for materials to be able to finish within the established deadlines and not affect the normal functioning of the organisation.