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A new system creates big magic on a small stage: showcase lighting with Axis from ERCO

Lüdenscheid, January 2024. If a brand with decades of experience in museum lighting develops a new system for showcases, lighting designers and users are justified in expecting a lot. With Axis, ERCO now presents a modular lighting system that sets the benchmark for quality of light in showcases: protective, effective, flexible and precise. And of course with digital connectivity. The system includes miniaturised stem luminaires, surface-mounted luminaires and semi-recessed luminaires that can be individually adapted to their tasks.

ERCO lighting tools are already in use in thousands of galleries and museums around the world to optimally display architecture and exhibits. For many curators, exhibition organisers and conservators, the quality of light and design quality of ERCO spotlights for track sets the standard. The new Axis system provides just such qualities on a miniaturised scale. Axis completes the existing ERCO product range for museums, thus allowing the highly consistent implementation of holistic lighting concepts for multi-storey atriums with large sculptures, halls and galleries of any format and small-scale cabinets – and now also in showcases, displays and dioramas.

With extremely variable positioning

When illuminating exhibits in showcases it’s all about creating magic on a small stage – whilst optimally protecting sensitive materials and colours. LED lighting with Axis therefore fulfils high conservation requirements: free of UV components, with qualitative colour rendering (up to CRI>97) and with a very low damage factor of 0.140 – 0.187mW/lm. Based on this certitude, exhibition organisers can devote themselves entirely to the perfect display of their exhibits.

Axis functions with spherical pan-and-tilt LED light heads with a diameter of just 25 mm. The system offers various options for positioning these light heads: the single, twin and 4-gang semi-recessed luminaires integrate elegantly into showcase bases and ceiling panels. As a modular surface-mounted luminaire, one or more light heads on a cylindrical base project into the showcase. The variable stem luminaire provides additional flexibility in terms of the height of the light points. The stable mechanical and electrical connection of up to three light heads (two light heads with ceiling mounting) is established without tools using magnetic holders. In combination with the three interchangeable lens optics – spot (approx. 17°), flood (approx. 32°) and wide flood (approx. 45°) – exhibits can be illuminated in nuanced ways from all desired directions. Axis uses the same lens technology as the ‘large’ ERCO spotlights to achieve optimum efficiency and quality of light. This means: precise, brilliant, highly uniform beams of light with no spill light.

Adaptable – thanks to individual accessories

After the positions of the light heads in the showcase and their beam angles have been determined it is a matter of lighting up: Axis semi-recessed luminaires feature 360° rotation and 140° swivelling. The magnetic Axis modules of the stem and surface-mounted luminaire can be freely rotated around their cylindrical axis and the light heads can be swivelled through 270°. An Axis control gear unit can supply up to 12 light heads, and such a group can be dimmed directly on the control gear using a potentiometer, wirelessly via Casambi Bluetooth or via a gateway with DALI – as low as 1% luminous flux. The luminous flux of individual light heads can also be individually reduced using clip-on, accessory neutral density filters. Various lens units, blue light filters for additional protection of sensitive exhibits, soft focus and sculpture lenses as well as anti-glare attachments such as snoots or honeycomb anti-dazzle screens are also available as accessories, making Axis extremely customisable.

Independently tested and certified

The specific strengths of Axis are especially evident in combination with other ERCO lighting tools such as 48V spotlights and wallwashers. Axis luminaires provide precise accent lighting from a short distance, with e.g. Eclipse 48V spotlights being used at larger distances or for higher illuminances. In larger showcases, 48V wallwashers are able to uniformly illuminate the rear walls whilst Axis effectively display the individual exhibits.

The selection of LED light colours for Axis corresponds to the ERCO standard: 2700 to 4000K with CRI 92 and 3000K with CRI 97 are available. As with the spotlights, the LEDs assembled in Axis also have an especially high colour matching of 1.5 SDCM, meaning that even trained eyes will not be able to detect a difference in the colour location – the appearance is completely uniform. Axis is also currently the only ENEC and UL certified showcase lighting on the market, thus offering a high and independently tested safety standard. This is an important argument for all professionals in museums who will be working with Axis showcase lighting in the future and entrusting their irreplaceable collection objects to its light.