Energy Efficient Factory Lighting Guide
The key reasons that manufacturing businesses choose to invest in upgrading their factory lighting to energy efficient industrial lighting are to:
- Significantly reduce the electricity costs of their industrial lighting installation
- Reduce the maintenance costs of their industrial lighting system
- Raise the quality & intensity of lighting to improve factory operations & working conditions for their staff
This can be achieved through:
- Optimising the position & spacing of light fixtures, & using appropriate light intensities to match the layout of the factory floor & positioning of machinery
- Swapping out older high-bay or low-bay light fitting (such as metal halide, sodium or T12 fluorescent tubes) for new longer lasting energy efficient industrial light fixtures (like LED & T5 fluorescent tubes)
- Using intelligent industrial lighting control systems to adjust lighting levels in response to the occupation of factory zones & the available natural light intensity
Issues with Poor Industrial Lighting
Some of the typical problems businesses have with lighting their factory include:
Uneven & inadequate light quality
Typically, the recommended light intensity requirements of a workshop or factory lighting system is 750 lux, similar to supermarket or sports hall lighting, which is significantly higher than the light intensity requirements of a storage area (200 lux) for example. If the number of lights is insufficient, or their position relatively far away or even partially blocked - it may be that certain areas or not all of the factory floor is noticeably under lit.
Poor light colour/warmth
Due to the precise nature of the work that goes on in an industrial building, it is often an important requirement that the colour temperature of the factory lighting is neutral (in a temperature range of 4500 to 6000 K) so that the light is bright, vibrant & crisp. A colour cast caused by excessively "warm" or "cold" temperature light can make it difficult to distinguish colours of operating panels, materials and components etc.
High maintenance requirements
This is typically a concern due to the replacement frequency of older light fittings. Another issue of concern is the suitability of the light fitting housing i.e. the IP rating. If the wrong type of light fitting is used in an industrial building, any industrial processes that lead to the build-up of debris on the lighting heat-sinks, will require regular cleaning of the light fittings to avoid early lamp failure.
These issues can be identified with a factory lighting survey performed by an industrial lighting contractor.
Important Considerations in Energy Saving Factory Lighting Installation Design
If you are considering installing energy saving industrial lighting technology in a factory building (including the latest industrial LED lighting fittings - Light Emitting Diodes) there are a number of key considerations that need to be made when designing your new lighting system.
Required light intensity of factory
A good factory lighting installation contractor should be able to flag up issues with uneven light distribution from existing industrial lighting systems (such as dim areas or inadequate lux levels for the work taking place in the factory).
Height & position of existing factory lights
Factory buildings tend to be large and as such the industrial low and high bay light fittings (usually using 250 Watt or 400 Watt sodium or metal halide lamps) can be difficult to reach (requiring hiring a scissor lift or cherry picker). New energy efficient industrial lighting systems (such as LED lighting and induction lighting have very long lamp lifetimes - if maintenance is an issue on your factory building then these industrial lights should be specified by your industrial lighting contractor when undertaking an factory lighting installation.
Exposure of factory lighting to dust/moisture
This is important to know as some new energy efficient factory lighting installations (such as high bay and low bay industrial LED lighting) can suffer from build up of debris on their heat-sinks which need to be clear to continue to function properly. A factory lighting contractor that installs well designed industrial lighting systems will use the correct IP rating on the low or high bay industrial lighting fitting.
Occupancy of the factory floor
Evaluating the occupancy of the factory will identify the potential of using energy saving lighting system to automatically switch or reduce the light intensity in response to the occupancy of a given area. This can be achieved using PIR & microwave presence detection. Factory lighting installers who have the latest energy efficient automatically controlled industrial lighting systems can program these to achieve significant energy savings where the light intensity is high (750 lux) but occupancy is low.
Availability of natural daylight to the factory floor
Much like presence detection controls, modern industrial lighting systems can be programmed to automatically adjust their output in response to the available daylight. A factory lighting survey can flag up the possibility of using this freely available light in advance of the specification of any industrial lighting system.
Identifying your Factory Building Lighting Types
The following sections will help you identify the type of lighting that is currently installed in your building.
Old Inefficient Factory Lighting Fittings
1. High Intensity Discharge (HID)
HID lamps are typically rated at 250 or 400 Watts using either high-pressure sodium (with a warm colour light) or metal halide (with a cold light temperature)
2. T12/T8 Fluorescent Tubes
Batten fixtures using a single 8 foot long T12 or the older T8 fluorescent tube. Note that T12 and T8 refer to the diameter of the tubes measured in 1/8th of an inch.
The primary disadvantage of this type of light fitting is that it relies on a single T12/T8 lamp, which must be replaced when expired.
Energy Efficient Factory Lighting Fixtures
1. T5 Fluorescent Tubes
These factory lighting fixtures use 2, 4 or 6 T5 fluorescent tubes & a highly polished reflector ensure all light is directed towards the factory floor. These tubes are smaller than the older T8 and T12 fluorescent tubes.
Their advantages include:
- Proven energy efficient lighting technology
- Installation costs are modest
- High quality tubes have a life of 12,000 to 18,000 days
- Electromagnetic ballasts allow full dimming/switching
- Light fixture is still able to produce light if a single T5 fluorescent tube fails (at reduced output)
2. Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
LED factory lighting fixtures possess a mounted cluster of high output LEDs. This solid state technology is continually being improved improving performance and reducing cost.
- Long lifetime (50,000-80,000 hours)
- LEDs fail gradually i.e. their output reduces rather than stopping completely.
- Uni-directional light source so light is emitted as a "beam"
LED factory lighting, however, does have a higher up-front cost, & the uni-directional light may be a limitation when mounting LED light fittings high-up in the roof of the factory building.
3. Induction Lamps
Induction lamp fixtures use many of the same principles of light emission as fluorescent tubes.
The advantages of induction lighting include:
- A very long operational lamp life (100,000 hours)
- Useful for "difficult" to access warehouse areas
- High quality white light
Smart Factory Lighting Control Systems
The T5 fluorescent tube, induction lamp & LED light fittings all have various abilities to be instantly dimmed and switched on/off when full light levels are not required. This allows the energy saving control systems to be designed around individual factory working patterns.
Smart Factory Lighting Control Systems involve:
Lighting Presence Detection Controls
Acoustic, infra-red or microwave detectors can be used to sense the occupancy of a factory floor area. This can be external or built directly into a light fitting. These can be used to detect the presence of people approaching machinery and to control the lighting accordingly. Appropriate time delays are used to prevent inappropriate 'off' switching if an occupant remains motionless for a certain period.
Daylight Level Controls
If over 10% of the factory build is skylight panels then it may be that the lighting power can be reduced at certain times of day & year. Light intensity (photo-electric) sensors can be used to control the lighting system levels to gradually reduce/increase the intensity of light so that a consistent light intensity is maintained. The controls are usually set so that the combination of daylight and electric lighting remains constant at the desired lighting (or lux) level. This means the energy consumption of lighting can be eliminated at certain times of the day.
Such intelligent control systems can ensure that the daily "average" power consumption of a light fitting can be much lower than it's rating and ensures maximum energy efficiency.
Green Business Light provides a complete industrial lighting survey and factory lighting installation service for businesses across the UK - contact us now today to arrange a lighting survey and quotation.