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Smart lighting solutions for industrial applications

smart lighting systems in an industrial space

Industrial facilities need efficient and smart lighting designs to keep workers safe and productive. We talked with Eaton’s Steve Johnson, marketing manager, industrial, about how to create a strategic lighting design that enhances industrial facilities.

What are common applications of industrial lighting?

“Industrial lighting covers a large spectrum of applications that require fixtures to deliver high lumen output and high efficacy,” Johnson said. These spaces can be anything from warehouses and distribution centers to food processing facilities and cold storage spaces. From a lighting perspective, even gyms and airplane hangars are considered industrial. Here’s why:

  • Retail environments require lighting that enhances the appeal of the products being sold. Lighting delivers a variety of lumen output and color temperature options to create just the right balance of aesthetics and energy savings.
  • Manufacturing facilities require systems that can perform continuously, sometimes under harsh conditions. The lighting systems in these structures are no exception and require precise optical control, delivering appropriate light levels that support a safe and productive environment.
  • In warehouse or distribution facility environments, lighting design should enhance safety and productivity while also reducing energy expenses.
  • Airplane hangars have higher ceilings to accommodate cargo planes and large equipment, requiring high-output lighting to adequately illuminate the entire space above and below the planes.
  • Food processing facilities must meet strict federal and state regulations including sealed and gasketed luminaires that deliver precise light levels and adherence to strict sanitation and temperature requirements.
  • Wide-open, high-ceilinged areas, common in gymnasiums and multi-purpose facilities, present a unique challenge for lighting systems. Gyms and multi-purpose facilities call for durable, impact-resistant luminaires with a unique combination of high lumen output and minimal glare.

What are common challenges of industrial lighting applications?

Industrial spaces require a unique set of criteria that vary from application to application,” Johnson said. “Luminaires used in these environments must be designed to deliver optimal performance in extreme conditions.”

For example:

  • Industrial spaces have a large range of mounting heights, requiring lighting solutions that deliver anywhere from 10,000 lumens to 85,000 lumens. Controllable LED lighting fixtures can deliver those lumen levels with lower energy usage.
  • Extreme environments can produce ambient conditions that range from negative 40 degrees Celsius to a high of 65 degrees Celsius. Industrial lighting fixtures must be equipped to thermally perform in these extreme conditions.
  • From aisles to production areas, industrial facilities consist of different zoning areas that require optimal light distribution according to specific tasks executed in those areas.
  • Manufacturing can produce complex environments with excessive dust and dirt. Lighting fixtures in these types of environments require a durable design that can withstand the elements while still delivering peak performance.

Why is connected lighting a good choice for industrial applications?

“In addition to reduced energy consumption and lower maintenance costs, building owners and facility managers can leverage connected luminaires to obtain important information,” Johnson said. “This can include energy management, asset tracking and space utilization.”

Here are examples of the benefits of lighting controls and connected lighting:

  • The power of information — From schedule-based control to task tuning, connected lighting creates the ability to see real-time usage, project energy savings and gain a more comprehensive understanding of total lighting system performance.
  • Daylight dimming — Instead of shutting the fixture off as in standard occupancy sensing, daylight dimming allows the fixture to continuously adjust according to the amount of sunlight available. In an industrial setting, daylight dimming can be crucial. This can significantly reduce energy usage, even when the space is occupied with people.
  • Asset tracking — Utilizing the high mounting location of the luminaire in an industrial setting, a distributed network of smart LED lighting fixtures creates an opportunity for reliable tracking with sensors that can detect tagged assets for tracking, usage, maintenance and loss prevention. This can save time otherwise spent looking for equipment and ultimately increase efficiency and productivity.
  • Space utilization — Digital sensors can monitor traffic patterns, heatmaps and space usage of employees throughout an industrial facility. This provides strategic insights to maximize workflow, improve safety and reduce real estate costs based on actionable insights and occupancy data.
  • Energy consumption — Combined with energy management software, controlled and connected lighting allows industrial facilities to use fewer luminaires and monitor luminaire usage in order to ensure energy efficiency goals and reduced HVAC operating costs through demand-driven heating and cooling.

From energy management to asset tracking, connected lighting and lighting controls can create smart solutions for industrial lighting applications.

The Lighting reSource