People in Lighting: Jérôme Dehon

Jérôme Dehon - Schréder
Jérôme Dehon
Group Technical Sales Support Engineer

Companies are defined by the people who work for them: for over a century, Schréder has been at the forefront of lighting thanks to its employees worldwide. Throughout 2022 we’ll be focusing on the people who make Schréder what it is, including their career path, landmark projects and their thoughts on where lighting is headed next.

Schréder has been at the forefront of lighting technology for over a century: we have held this position thanks to the tireless work of our staff, who constantly advance the technical possibilities of lighting, ensure our products conform to local and international standards, and even help set those standards in committees at the highest level. When it comes to lighting roads, tunnels and pedestrian crossings, safety is the starting point; the technical studies we carry out on every project we do are a vital part of this.

Jérôme Dehon has been in the Applications and Technical Sales Support Department at Schréder for 14 years and travels the world ensuring that the lighting designs we produce translate to safe, energy-efficient and attractive installations on the ground. We caught up with the Group Technical Sales Support Engineer at our headquarters in Liège.

I’m a local guy…

I studied electromechanical and energy engineering in Liège, before going to work for a French company specialised in heat exchange technology. When I wanted to move forward, I felt that at Schréder I would have the opportunity to meet interesting people, travel, and play a role in supporting cities and urban communities. Back in 2008 new technologies were coming… with LED technology came new techniques, new ways of lighting, and a revolution that really decreased the consumption of energy, while also bringing new technical challenges.

People make Schréder special…

Marcel Justin, Head of Applications at R-Tech - a Schréder R&D Centre, and a bit of a legend within the company, taught me all about photometry and optics. Now I’m the one passing that knowledge on, showing colleagues how to assess proposals, measure lighting levels on the ground and support customers making choices on the application side.

My job covers a range of tasks at group level…

Every lighting project has to conform to a range of technical standards, so we do this while taking the customers wants and needs into account. It’s a whole process: we need to go on site, after dark, check illumination levels and see what the user sees. The work we do is enriched by talking to contacts worldwide and understanding the different requirements and sensitivities in each region.

Jérôme Dehon, Schréder regularly goes on-site to ensure the right lighting as part of our customer service

It’s about converting what works in the laboratory to the real world…

There are many, many aspects of compliance to consider, so once we install a lighting installation we sometimes have to go on-site to measure. That’s always interesting because we see what’s happening, learn lessons for future designs, and so on. We use a digital ILMD luminance camera, allowing for fast measurements and precise analysis of luminance in a lot of situations. It is particularly versatile and adapted for measurements in roads, tunnels… it’s a game-changer.

That’s extremely important for tunnels…

Lighting tunnels poses a range of unique challenges, because they have to be lit throughout daylight hours in a way that makes it safe for drivers to go in and out. That raises the question of energy consumption, which is something our customers are increasingly focussed on, as part of the environmental impact of lighting more generally. There is a permanent process of our teams to improve our systems and our way to work, to always offer the most energy efficient and safe solutions.*

We can do this in part because of Advanced Tunnel Solution (ATS) which relies on Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) built into the luminaires. One ATS unit controls 240 luminaires, and the customer has total remote control. It also offers world-class cyber security compliance.

We support the local Schréder companies, who know the territory, local rules, the customer… they do the lighting design. Then we come and measure light levels on the ground, check compliance… we have been measuring light levels in several tunnels across Europe and beyond recently.

And also pedestrian crossings…

As with tunnels, there are some principles you need to apply to correctly illuminate areas where pedestrians are crossing roads. There is some diversity in the principles that apply in each country, so we have to take that into account in our training. The critical issue is safety - are people being seen soon enough and clearly enough.

All this involves regular travel…

Personally, I love travelling, it’s a way to discover other cities, meet new people, see new ways of living, of lighting, and get a feel for how the installations work. I love meeting experts in London, it’s an incredible city. I’ve also been to Turkey, Georgia, South Africa and Croatia. It’s fascinating to work, exchange ideas, and discover how different countries use lighting. Although I travel regularly, one of my favourites is much closer to home. A re-lighting project that was particularly special for me was the Kinkempois and Grosses Battes motorway tunnels in Liège. They were flooded last year and we have just replaced the lighting in them with new modern LED lighting.

And after so much time in the field, we have a role in setting standards… I am involved with the International Committee on Illumination (CIE), that deals with all the science and art of light and lighting and I chair a committee there on tunnel lighting.

I’m proud of Schréder because…

It is nice to be part of a family-owned company; the company has strong fundamental and human values, essential in the current times. I was also very impressed by how quickly we pivoted to working from home during the pandemic, developing a new equilibrium. And while I love my job - it combines the technical side of lighting with my interest in urbanism - I also really appreciate hiking with my partner, exploring nature and enjoying beautiful landscapes around Liège and Europe.

Connect with Jérôme on LinkedIn.

*Note: Jérôme Dehon is currently the coordinator of two international technical committees working on the evolution of tunnel lighting recommendations and standards (CIE TC 4-53 -international, and CEN/TC 169/WG 6 - European)