LED fixtures improve safety and save energy
September 01, 2012 - MMH Editorial
Managers at a Kimberly-Clark facility in Malaysia sought to eliminate the costs associated with the maintenance, energy consumption and safety risks of its lighting fixtures. The company recently replaced 114 of its 400-watt metal halide fixtures with 123-watt LED fixtures, allowing it to reduce energy consumption and improve visibility while making the workplace more safe and comfortable for employees.
Plant managers had noticed low brightness on the manufacturing floor and in the inspection area. Aside from the light depreciation that is normal for metal halide bulbs, the polycarbonate spark shields over each fixture had also begun to fade, discolor and collect insects. The shields were designed to prevent bulb failure from creating a spark that might ignite the paper products that are manufactured in the facility.
The metal halide bulbs also created heat in the facility, leading workers to turn off the lights in an effort to control temperatures. And, on further inspection, managers noticed the lights were illuminating unnecessary areas and were often left on when not needed. The management team chose LED lights (Dialight, dialight.com) after an on-site lighting simulation, where the team could see the results before the fixtures were even ordered.
“With the simulation, we could clearly see the optimum lighting layout for the space to be illuminated,” said Adam Lua Boon Chin, project engineer for Kimberly-Clark Products. “We knew before installation that light would be directed exactly where we need it.”
After the installation, the average watts per square meter have been reduced from 12.49 watts to 4 watts. The instant-on capability of the fixtures enables workers to turn lights on and off as needed. The new fixtures also offer variable lighting levels, for instance illuminating only alternating rows or only the perimeter.
The fixtures are expected to last up to a decade at consistent light levels before their first bulb change, virtually eliminating lighting maintenance costs. Safety also has improved since many of the former metal halide bulbs were directly above manufacturing equipment. The new bulbs are sealed, removing the need for the shield and the risk of bursting bulbs. The lights are also much cooler, running about 186 degrees cooler than the metal halide units.