The most important aspect of installing any lighting solution, especially in the industrial and mining sectors, is to understand the environment in which the luminaire is to be installed, says manufacturer of luminaires Beka project support manager Jason Smith.
“When selecting a product for an application, the environmental and operational conditions need to be fully understood. To ensure this, Beka partners with clients, consultants and engineers to custom-design lighting solutions and ensure optimal and cost-effective illumination.
“Excessive heat is a critical operational factor, in the industrial environment. To accommodate this factor the company designs all its industrial luminaires with a significantly high ambient-temperature rating to achieve the best life expectancy of the luminaire’s internal electrical components,” explains Smith.
In terms of high-vibration environments, light-emitting diode (LED) technology has been installed in equipment such as crushers as the LED technology’s solid design provides resistance against vibration and shock.
The quality of product design and manufacture is a critical requirement and Beka has focused on ensuring that all LED-based products withstand these trying conditions, says Smith.
The company has also invested in robot-assisted luminaire production to guarantee the highest standards of luminaire sealing to ensure a sustained ingress protection rating over the lifetime of the product.
The type of atmospheric conditions in which a luminaire will operate must also be considered, as the corrosion resistance of the product plays an important role. To satisfy these requirements, luminaires should be manufactured from the highest quality materials, such as polycarbonates, glass fibre-reinforced polyester, stainless steel and marine-grade aluminium.
“The presence of combustible gases and dust is a key consideration for the zoning of luminaires in hazardous areas,” adds Smith.
For example, the zone classifications for explosive gas mixtures include zone 0, which comprises an explosive gas mixture constantly being present or for long periods, totalling more than 1 000 hours a year, and zone 1 for the fair chance of an occurrence of an explosive gas mixture under normal business operations, totalling between ten hours to 1 000 hours a year.
“The zoned range of Beka’s industrial luminaires satisfy the requirements for each zone. Every zoned luminaire supplied is certified and issued with all the statutory documentation required,” adds Smith.
Further, he says that the use of an incorrect material would diminish a product’s performance, life span and ultimately its safety illumination requirements. As a result, increased maintenance costs, owing to the more frequent replacement of lights because of poor design characteristics, would be experienced.
Beka has an industrial division, which services the internal and external requirements for the consultation, design and planning of greenfield- and brownfield-sites.
“With the unique requirements and environmental conditions of the industrial and mining sectors, it is important to deal with a team that understands these demanding conditions. Throughout the entire life cycle, from product research and design, quality assurance and testing, through to the applications department, Beka is able to best provide a complete service to clients seeking best-of-breed solutions within this energy-conscious environment,” says Smith.
As a result of State-owned power utility Eskom’s pending electricity tariff hikes and South Africa’s current power shortage, industry is obliged to use the most energy-efficient lighting solutions.
“The lighting industry offers a wide range of technologies, which could reduce energy costs by up to 50%, without reducing the lighting levels and the associated comfort, safety and security requirements of an industrial operation.
“A range of efficient luminaires are available, offering 75% to 80% efficiency and those incorporating the latest technologies. This includes more efficient light sources, such as the new-generation gas discharge lamps, LED technology and the latest developments in reflector and optics design. These solutions result in the use of lower wattage light sources and a reduced quantity of luminaires, depending on the environment,” says Smith.
The challenges faced when supplying energy-efficient lighting solutions include the lack of education in the latest technologies available, and misinformation regarding the benchmarking criteria for selecting an energy-efficient product and the provision of updated information to the industry.
Smith says that Beka strives to improve this situation through direct client interaction, the media and the facilitation of energy-efficiency seminars aimed at electrical engineers, consulting engineers and the end-users in the mining and industrial sectors.