Greater efficiency outputs from lighting in warehousing applications are becoming more important, owing to the intense lighting demands of warehouses.
Improved lighting systems offer warehouses and clients that use them the potential for significant savings on electricity, says Philips Lighting Solutions, a division of electronics company Philips South Africa.
“Generally, warehouses are dark and use lighting technologies that are often old and inefficient. These technologies run constantly, resulting in high energy costs,” says Philips Lighting Solutions GM Dean Lotter.
He notes that warehouse owners and users are often accustomed to poor lighting conditions, making it difficult at times to justify replacing inefficient lighting systems, despite the Occupation Health and Safety Act requiring that all areas of a warehouse be illuminated at a minimum of 200 lux – depending on the application – which is equivalent to a surface being illuminated 8 m to 10 m from the source.
“People often do not evaluate a whole lighting system and the energy losses within that system. A 400 W mercury vapour high- bay system will draw about 430 W of electricity from the power supply, owing to the conventional high-intensity discharge (HID) control gear running the lamp. A light-emitting diode (LED) high-bay system, with a system lumen out- put of 21 000 lumens, will draw 210 W. This is because of the surge-protected electronic driver, which has a better power-factor rating and less internal losses in the system than a conventional control gear, equating to less energy losses, with better lumen per watt efficiencies and lower wattage light sources,” explains Philips Lighting Solutions technical sales manager Grant Combrink.
Philips Lighting Solutions offers energy efficient lighting systems that can help warehouses save up to 70% on lighting and energy costs by replacing conventional lighting HID systems and old fluorescent technology, with LED solutions, such as the company’s Maxos LED solution.
Lotter notes that many lighting companies offering LED tech- nology do not deliver on the energy savings that they promise, which has left many companies distrustful of LED technology.
Owing to the size, space and roof height of warehouses, lighting costs are generally quite high, he explains, adding that “Philips normally has to install power- ful lighting systems for these applications”. An example is the GentleSpace LED high-bay luminaire, which provides similar or better illumination as a 400 W HID system, but uses up to 30% less energy.
Lotter says Philips Lighting Solutions places great importance on applying a total lighting solution to achieve greater efficiencies. However, the company often has to install lighting that exceeds the previous lighting levels because they are often poor and significantly energy intensive.
Another important factor in lighting is the control of luminaires’ beam angles. “Different beam angles are suitable for different applications. If there is a high racking area, Philips can provide a high-racking optic solution that is designed to increase vertical illumination. For improved lighting on the ground in racking applications, a narrow-beam solution is used. A wide-beam solution is used for visual tasks that are located at a low level and require general lighting,” Combrink explains.
Lotter adds that Philips’ control systems, in conjunction with occupancy detectors, can control an LED’s lumen outputs by dimming the lighting solution by up to 100% when a warehouse is unoccupied or when there is limited activity in the warehouse. Technologies such as these can increase an entire lighting systems’ efficiency by 70%.
Further, one of the biggest drivers for improved lighting designs in warehouses is the need for security and theft prevention through keeping all the necessary areas illuminated.
Meanwhile, people are under the impression that lights are all similar, but lighting is a complex science, says Lotter. “For example, in Western European office applications, control systems run lighting levels at different colour temperatures and outputs during the day to help improve employee working performance,” he explains.
Philips also has a system called City Touch, Lotter adds, which enables operators to control lighting conditions in a city remotely.
“There are so many aspects of lighting to consider when installing a good lighting system that is fit for purpose and meets customer requirements,” says Lotter.