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Motion System Design

Helping ring in the New Year

Millions tune in each year at midnight on December 31st to watch the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball drop. This year was even more special, as the event celebrated its 100th anniversary, with a redesigned, greener, and more luminous ball than ever before.

In 1907, the ball was built out of wood and iron and adorned with 100 25-W light bulbs. Over the years it has continued to evolve, and 2007 marks the first change since the 2000 millennium celebration. This year's ball is more than twice as bright as the old one, featuring enhanced color capabilities, state-of-the-art lighting, and more than 150 additional Waterford Crystals to make it sparkle. Waterford's “Let There Be Light” design has 672 double-cut (to maximize light refraction) Waterford Crystal triangles combined with 9,576 Philips Luxeon LEDs to produce more than 16 million vibrant colors and billions of patterns using only the amount of electricity it takes to power 10 toasters. The previous design used 600 incandescent and halogen bulbs.

To hold this all together, support was needed on the inside. Lapp USA, a member of Lapp Group, Florham Park, N.J., supplied the power and control cable for the ball. A special design of its Olflex FD 855P cable was produced to accommodate the electrical requirements and withstand cold temperatures and high winds. In keeping with the “green” philosophy, the cable is halogen free and conforms to the new RoHS standard. As the ball moved down towards Times Square, the cable moved with it, helping to power the Philips Luxeon LEDs.

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