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Industrial Lighting and the Variables to be Considered

We face many challenges as the industrial sector evolves. Issues of an aging workforce, worker productivity and technology miniaturization. Improvements in lighting systems are just one aspect supporting the improvement to a worker’s environment that aid in productivity, heath and quality of the visual space. Along with human factors, we face numerous environmental factors when determining the best solution for an industrial application. We need to consider safety, task, maintenance, temperature, facility operating schedule and most importantly, energy. In the past, the usual application for a 25 foot ceiling would be the standard 400W metal halide highbay on a 20ft by 20ft grid. Now we have several options and factors to be considered. We have had many changes in technology, the T5 highbay, the electronic ballast not to mention the equipment used to do the actual manufacturing has changed greatly.

When we are choosing our lighting system we need to determine the most effective solution for the situation. We have several variables to consider. With the new T5 highbay it is an industry misconception that it is a solution to all applications but this isn’t the correct answer. Temperature is a major performance factor when it comes to a T5 system. You should not use a T5 system in an unconditioned space. If your space has a regulated temperature then it can ideal. The colour rendering properties of the fluorescent is superior to that of the metal halide system (with the exception of the ceramic metal halide lamp), start up time is instant and you can consume less energy under certain conditions. A six lamp T5 highbay can compete with a standard 400W metal halide highbay. The other major factors to be considered when you are designing for industrial space are humidity, corrosive atmospheres or classified locations. A dirty environment is not favourable to T5 systems. The last thing to consider is maintenance; you have four or six lamps in a T5 highbay instead of re-lamping one lamp from an HID system.

General lighting for industrial spaces and good design practice; go hand and hand when it comes to industrial lighting. It is important to establish the needs of the user requirements for safety, energy consumption and maintenance. We always need to address the desired light level for the given task and take into account the task being performed in the space( refer to the IESNA Lighting Ready Reference pages 77-79 for recommended lighting levels). By examining the quality of construction and the performance criteria and ease of maintenance of the given luminaire we can successfully choose the correct product for the task. We need to take into account the ceiling heights to determine the correct wattage as well. Also, be aware of mounting criteria. In some cases it makes more sense to mount a luminaire from the wall as oppose to the ceiling given a certain task. Perhaps there is a crane in operation and it greatly obstructs the luminaires performance just to give an example. When designing for industrial spaces it is important to acknowledge the fact the maintenance is not as easy as it is in an office or something with lower ceiling heights. We need to make the fixtures accessible and without problem to clean, maintain and re-lamp. Generally, industrial spaces contain a higher percentage of dirt and debris therefore this is very important to consider when we are selecting, designing and implementing such systems. It is often a misconceptions that basic high bay with a metal reflector will do the job in any situation. We need to treat each space as individual and address it as so. Providing the right light for the right space should be at the front of our mind in design. More and more we are incorporating the use of daylight into facilities and this can greatly affect our lighting layout, we can use the daylight to reduce our energy consumption during the day, it can aid with heating in the winter as well. The effects of daylight have also shown that it is greatly contributing to worker productivity and it also is a great contributor to the quality of visual space. At higher latitudes such as Canada and the Northern USA daylight can play less of a role due to the minimal daylights hours in the winter months. During such months, we lose the reflectances from the windows and now have a large amount of light loss that each designer needs to account for when they are creating a design with these factors in play.

For a standard warehouses, light industrial and storage facilities we recommend:
For conditioned spaces TriLyte, Nova
For unconditioned spaces Stealth, Performer and Vertic‘ Aisle

There are many project constraints when it comes to industrial lighting and many variables play a role. What we consider to be industrial is such a wide range of productivity in many different facilities that all fall under the same criteria. We always need to take into account that each space is individual and we need to provide the correct diagnosis for each facility and the correct prescription for each task specific environment. In industrial spaces we have special variables to consider. We have drastic environmental factor in these types of facilities that greatly contribute to selecting the appropriate luminaire. Mainly we could break out environment issues in five specific categories for industrial application; conditioned spaces, high humidity or corrosive environments, classified locations and abnormal temperature conditions.

Conditioned Spaces- With the advancement in computer systems, electronics and technology, products being manufactured have changed greatly. Twenty years ago we were not finding a plethora of miniaturized manufacturing producing such things as our personal hand held organizers, today we are seeing facility in production of such items popping up all over the world. Toy production has changed, devices used in the automobile and also appliances in our home all contain computers to name a few. For these types of industrial facilitates the work is very detailed and required the use of small instruments and our hands. Generally the spaces are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. These industrial manufacturing plants also require a better quality of illumination with higher lighting levels and improved colour properties to best conquer the task. When we exceed a certain illuminance level, it is important to address the fact that we are going to create heat above the average level. It is important to consider the fact that in the winter months this is going to contribute to additional heating. In the summer months we are cooling the space so we need to remove the additional heat by providing an exhaust system for the luminaires. It is in good design practice to integrate the systems. Providing a reverse acting thermostat on the deck that triggers the exhaust is a good example of a solution for this application.

For such spaces we recommend TriLyte, Nova and Softbay

High humidity or Corrosive Environments- With humidity and corrosion playing a factor in our indoor environments we need to protect and select the correct luminaire to perform under such conditions. We need to enclose the fixture by choosing a gasketted luminaire to suit such needs. Choosing luminaires that will not deteriorate within a short time period and are designed for specific locations is essential. Clothing production, steam plating plants, pulp and paper mills, any food production facility that has a wash down environment or shower rooms all contain a great level of moisture and require the luminaire to be protected from the in take of water or non explosive vapours or dust. It is also important to take into account what kind of material that will collect on the exterior of the fixture in order to choose the correct product for the application. With the use of material such as a Teflon coating in the glass this can aid in such environments.

For such spaces we recommend IL or Stealth, Ultrabay, MIL

Classified locations- When we are speaking of classified location we are speaking of facilities that are determined hazardous by the National Electrical Code and require specially design features to ensure the environment is as safe as possible. These areas usually contain flammable dust, vapour and debris. Many manufacturing plants may contain these types of areas within a facility such as a paint booth in an appliance manufacturing plant or a service bay for vehicles within a section of the warehouse to name a couple. It is always important to check with the National building code or electrical code to pin point the exact Class of hazard and the requirements stipulated by each geographically specific code. There is a wide range of products designed to suits these sensitive safety issues. Please double check that a given luminaire meets the criteria that are allocated for such areas.

Products that meet Classified criteria IL Hazardous, Multilite, EG, F -Units
Note: please be aware from region to region the criteria can change in different locations please contact your local building authority if there is any question or doubt concerning classified locations.

Abnormal temperature conditions- Many heavy industrial, frozen food and cold storage space have very low ambient temperatures that limit our options in terms of source selections in a designers application. Fluorescent lamps do not operate well in low ambient temperatures. Using a fluorescent can cause you to loss 60% or greater of the lumen output in low temperatures. The proven and true source for such applications is the HID light source. In cold temperatures HID sources the light output is relatively unaffected. The variable that needs to be addressed is in extremely cold temperatures is staring the lamp can fail. In extremely cold temperatures High Pressure Sodium or Pulse Start Technology should be used, both pulse start and HPS have igniter’s to aid the lamp in staring (this is applicable in areas with temperatures from -20 degree Celsius to -40 degree Celsius). We may also choose to select incandescent as a source, extremely low temperatures do not effect the operational characteristics however performance and energy consumption. Performance characteristics can be limiting especially for high ceiling spaces. Incandescent is the largest energy consuming source that we use in lighting application.

For such spaces we recommend Coolbay, IL, Performer

We also have facilities with high ambient temperatures to be factored in. As we all well know heat rises and we can collect a higher temperature in the truss or at the deck of the plant. Also specific manufacturing can create a lot of heat causing some our lighting equipment to fail. Manufacturing or production facilities such as steel mills, forge shops, food production such as bread making facilities and any plant that uses a large amount of welding can create very high ambient temperatures. In high temperatures often ballasts can fail in fluorescent and HID systems. To prevent such occurrences it is necessary to remotely mount the ballast away from the fixture in a cooler setting. It is also possible to use special high temperature equipment in these situations. It is important to keep in mind that fluorescent lamp output is significantly sacrificed when operating above 40 degrees Celsius ambient.

For such spaces we recommend Stealth, IL, Performer, Glass Highbay

More and more we are seeing task specific lighting being incorporated in to industrials spaces. Our aging work force, smaller detailed task, the need to see vertical surfaces are also a huge part of industrial lighting issues these days. The task and equipment used in industrial application is changing, we have smaller devices, faster moving machines and tasks that are sacrificed with shadowing. The design needs to address the requirements for each specific task. When we make provisions for task lighting in any environment it can aid in the reduction of illuminance levels in general lighting and also be individually controlled by the user in certain situations. This can contribute to energy savings, worker productivity and also we end up providing the right lighting for the given task, ultimately creating a safer and more pleasing environment. However, there are a few points of mention in terms of task lighting for industrial facilities. First, it is important that we keep our illuminance ratios in tact in the immediate surrounding areas. We should strive for smooth transitions of light to create a quality environment for the task lighting user along with his or her immediate associates that are in close proximity. Also we must address the fact that some task light can be very intense and glare into the eyes of fellow workers in some situations we may need to shield or direct the light source accordingly. Finally, in good design practice it is always important to coordinate the task lighting with the general lighting layout.

Energy and Quality issues for Good Lighting Design
Increasingly in the design industry we are seeing sustainable design and minimal environmental issues playing a greater role. Technology has advanced greatly and offer solutions to energy and aging work force crisis. Lamps, ballasts and sources have been put to the test and improved. With the emergence of the T5 highbay, Pulse Start Technology, The Ceramic Metal Halide Lamp and Controls taken into consideration we can make are designs more efficient and more appealing in appearance.

  • T5 Highbays offer use a better CRI using less wattage than the good old work horse 400W MH highbay. We have a CRI of 85 accompanied with the fact T5HO’s commonly can save you 40% of your energy consumption. If we use a T5HO with an occupancy we can further this savings by an
  • additional 40%. Giving you a savings of 60% vs. the standard 400W MH highbay. (hint* a good application would be in warehouse aisles with occupancy sensors at each end of the aisles).
  • Ceramic Metal Halide Lamps also offer a CRI of 85 when accompanied with pulse start technology and the HI-LOW control can also give you energy savings along the same lines of 40%- 50%. Keep in mind that using electronic ballasts also improved our start up times in HID lighting; they start in 4-8 minutes compared to the standard 400 W HID with magnetic ballast, starting in 15-20 minutes.
Showing HID Hi-Low at 100% Showing HID Hi-Low at 50%

It is extremely important that a designer considers maintenance factors during the initial stages of design. Industrial facilities can be very dirty and require special equipment depending on the space and the task being performed. Regular cleaning and lamp replacement is essential in industrial spaces. We also need to take into consideration the ease of maintenance for the user. Complicated maintenance is never favoured in any application. Pay close attention to accessibility and access during operating and non operating hours. Many industrial facilities operated 24 hours a day and require the maintenance to commence during manufacturing hours.

Industrial application has many issues that need to be addressed by a designer at the conceptual stage of planning as well as during the design process. In this article several issue have been mention but keep in mind each and every application is unique and the design needs to address as so. Here at Canlyte we have a very knowledgeable staff both within the organization as well as in our dedicated sales force. You can contact your lighting local lighting rep if you have further design issues or concern. They are willing and able to help you with any of your concerns, they my not have the answer immediately but they have the means and ability to attain the correct information.

By Janine Mighton