Design Considerations for Manufacturing Lighting

Many elements go into creating a successful manufacturing facility, and good lighting is one component that should not be overlooked. Good lighting in an industrial facility can keep workers safe and more productive, and a cheerful, well-lit workplace can be good for morale. However careful consideration must be given to the lighting system, since not just any lamp will do.

Cost

In today’s global manufacturing environment there is a level of competition unknown to our predecessors, and companies must keep costs low in order to come out on top. Outdated lighting can eat up large amounts of energy and require frequent, costly bulb replacements. Less money spent on operating costs means higher profits overall, so products that offer great performance while keeping plant energy and maintenance costs low are an excellent investment.

Adequate Lighting

Poor light levels can make it more difficult, or even dangerous, for workers to do their jobs. Many tasks performed on the production floor require great attention to detail. In addition, safety is of the utmost importance in a manufacturing facility and workers must have adequate lighting to avoid any potential hazards. Manufacturing plants often have high ceilings, so lights must be powerful enough to reach the work floor. Consideration should also be given to color and placement of lights to optimize lighting levels in the facility.

Resilience

Finally, the conditions found in an industrial environment are harsher than those of, say, a shopping mall or high school gymnasium. Manufacturing lighting must be resilient enough to withstand harsh conditions like high humidity, heat, vibrations, chemicals and large equipment that could damage it.

At Relumination, our seasoned professionals are well-versed in manufacturing lighting design and will work with you to design a lighting layout that is ideal for your facility.

Why LEDs Are Ideal for Manufacturing Lighting

Not all manufacturing environments are the same. Some are less forgiving than others. In fact, some are extremely unforgiving. Cement production plants are one example. There are limestone crushing operations, milling machines, and a gigantic hot kiln that rotates. Cement powder is blown through pipes under pressure, and sometimes they leak and spray cement dust into the air. In short, the plants are noisy, full of vibration, hot (in some areas), and sometimes dusty with highly abrasive cement powder. While such an environment can be hard on workers, it’s very hard on the machines themselves.

Good lighting in such a place and in other similarly difficult manufacturing environments is critical to worker productivity and especially to their safety. Unfortunately, old technology lighting such as incandescent and fluorescent lights is innately fragile. Simply put, they are based on a filament or gas encased in a glass bulb or tube. Yes, you can place them out of “harm’s way” such as on high ceilings, but they’re not out of the reach of the intense vibration of these plants, which penetrate the walls and ceilings.

In the case of incandescent lights, most of the electricity they consume turns into heat, which makes an uncomfortable environment even more uncomfortable. In addition, these aren’t the best lights from a worker safety standpoint because they are relatively dim for the energy consumed.

If you’re the plant manager of such a facility, doesn’t it make sense to install rugged lighting that can take the heat, vibration, and other abuses? LED lighting is innately rugged because it’s solid state. It’s essentially a solid diode that emits light. There’s no glass bulbs, shells, or other fragile components. Another benefit is they last substantially longer than other types of lighting.

Unlike incandescent bulbs, LED lights aren’t primarily heat-producing devices that put out a little bit of light. Most of the electricity they consume produces light. This means you have a brightly lit facility that consumes less power for its lighting. It means a safer environment for your hard-working employees.

There are many types of LED lights. Not only can you place them high overhead, you can place smaller lights on the machines or even in the machines. Solid state LEDs resist vibration. Less heat production makes them more desirable from a fire hazard point of view.

How Manufacturing Lighting Benefits from LED Technology

Increased global competition has forced manufacturers to produce their goods more efficiently. Increased efficiency demands less time intensive, resource intensive, and energy intensive manufacturing processes. In terms of energy efficiency, it is useful to expand your attention beyond the manufacturing process to include the energy consumption of the entire plant. You will find that keeping your plant well-lit over multiple shifts consumes significant energy. If you aren’t using LED lighting, then you stand to gain substantial energy savings. Why turn your money into waste heat using old and inefficient lighting?

Beyond the energy savings, LED technology benefits your manufacturing operations in many other ways including:

  • Increased worker productivity. LEDs produce a white light that is similar to daylight except that it doesn’t contain UV light. This reduces eyestrain and worker fatigue. This similarity to daylight also boosts worker mood, alertness, and productivity.
  • Increases accuracy in production tasks. The colors of objects as they appear to the human eye depend on the lighting source. For example, candlelight renders colors differently than daylight. The fuller spectrum light of LEDs improves the worker’s color perception, which is important in many production tasks. This reduces mistakes.
  • Reduces maintenance costs. The longer working life of LEDs translates to reduced maintenance costs. This includes labor costs and the cost of using specialized equipment for reaching high ceilings and other hard to reach areas. LEDs are also vibration resistant, which increases their longevity in vibration filled environments.
  • Reduces air conditioning costs. The extensive lighting of manufacturing facilities produces waste heat that adds to the air conditioning load. Using cooler LED lighting reduces your air conditioning costs and increases worker comfort.
  • Increases the professional appearance of your facilities. While a well-organized and clean manufacturing floor is important for projecting professionalism, it isn’t enough when the area is dimly lit. The bright white light of LEDs remedy this. The appearance of your facilities affects worker morale and influences the decisions of touring VIPs.

All the above benefits as well as reduced energy consumption serve to increase the efficiency and productivity of your manufacturing plant, which in turn increase your business’s competitiveness.

How LEDs Impact Manufacturing Lighting

Energy intensive industries like manufacturing often look to energy-efficient technology innovations in the manufacturing process itself. However, LED lighting technology is a simpler and cheaper way to reduce costs. In addition to its low energy consumption, LEDs have other attributes that are ideal for manufacturing lighting. These are described next.

Vibration Resistance

Manufacturing plants are often full of noisy and vibrating machinery. The vibration of some operations is so intense that it permeates walls, floors, and ceilings. Because of their superior vibration resistance, LED lights are ideal for such difficult environments.

Low Operating Temperatures

Given their low energy consumption, it is no surprise that LEDs put out very little waste heat. This makes them ideal for refrigerated storage areas and warehouses. The use of inefficient lighting is like placing multiple heaters inside a refrigerator. The lighting uses excessive power that turns into waste heat, causing the refrigeration to use more power.

Lighting Directionality And Brightening Effect

LEDs are good at emitting light in one direction, which makes them perfect for lighting up work areas where assembly, machining, and inspection operations require good lighting. This highly directional light is pure white. This better lighting also reduces worker injuries.

Longer Life

This attribute reduces maintenance costs. The enormous number of lights used in many manufacturing facilities adds up to a significant replacement cost. Replacing lights in hard to reach places, such as very high ceilings can get very expensive because they require specialized rented equipment such as bucket trucks.

Compact Design

While LEDs can illuminate the largest of areas, they can also light up very small spaces such as the inside of a machine.

Control

LED lights can be readily dimmed. When combined with photo sensors, further energy savings are possible by taking advantage of natural light coming in through windows. Warehouses can save energy by altering brightness according to the frequency that people access each area.

LED lighting, is 50-90% more energy-efficient and longer lasting than traditional lighting. Lights are for lighting not heating. Why spend an excessive amount on lighting that wastes heat and lasts a short time?

 

3 Benefits of Manufacturing Lighting From LED Sources

Fact OR fiction? In 2012 the United States enacted legislature that will completely phase out the production of incandescent light bulbs. By the end of this year 40, 60, 75, and 100-watt bulbs will no longer be produced.

 

FACT!

These changes are having a revolutionary impact on everything from the environment to helping businesses save money with more efficient and better quality lighting options. One of the industries that is seeing some of the largest return on investment (ROI) is manufacturing.

1. Tax Savings
By switching from traditional bulbs to manufacturing lighting from LED sources, businesses can see benefits in tax savings, energy rebates, longer lighting life, and huge energy savings.

2. Longer Lighting Lifespan
Manufacturing plants around the world are seeing up to an 85% cost reduction and an increased lifespan of their lighting up to 60,000 hours.

3. Worker Productivity 
One noticeable and unexpected benefit that businesses are achieving from LED lighting is in the area of worker productivity. In addition to being great for the environment and even better for the balance sheet, LED lights seem to cause much less eye strain in manufacturing facilities. So workers are reporting far less fatigue from the more efficient lighting, and it is estimated that they are somewhere between six to eight percent more productive because of it.

At Relumination, we help companies from many different industries, including manufacturing, to reduce energy costs; lower maintenance expenses; decrease their environmental footprint; and improve their quality of light through energy-efficient lighting solutions. No company is too big or too small. We would love to hear from you!