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Improving Lighting Quality, Lowering Lighting Costs

Learn about the benefits this manufacturer realized by moving to LED lighting.

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These before and after shots show the difference in lighting quality at Kenwal’s production facility since adding an intelligent LED lighting system.

Kenwal Steel Corp. in Dearborn, Michigan, isn’t a company we’d profile in the magazine. It’s a flat-rolled steel distributor, not a machine shop. However, the concepts it is applying in terms of improving lighting conditions in its facility and lowering lighting costs could be leveraged by a machine shop.

When Kenwal management was confronted with the need to replace aging 1,000-watt metal halide fixtures within its production facility, they reached out to Total Source LED to evaluate their options. The team initially evaluated both T5 fluorescent and LED lighting options. However, they were reluctant to replace the facility’s 369 metal halide fixtures with 6-lamp T5 fluorescents, which would result in more than 2,200 lamps to maintain. Instead, the team turned their attention toward high-efficiency, maintenance-free LED lighting alternatives, deciding to install an Intelligent LED Lighting System from Digital Lumens. This system resulted in a 93-percent savings in annual lighting-related energy costs, an investment payback period of less than one year with a return on investment (ROI) of more than 124 percent, reduced fixture counts by more than 60 percent, and higher lighting quality and illumination levels throughout the facility.

The team also recognized that intelligent LEDs (with integrated controls, wireless networking and sensors in every fixture) would have a significant impact on their budgets in a rising utility rate environment. This is because, in addition to wattage-based savings, the Intelligent Lighting System would enable them to:

  • Automatically turn off lighting within its massive steel storage area when overhead crane operators were not actively picking stock for its pickling operations and instantly back on when needed.
  • Leverage the independently rotatable and dimmable light bars within each fixture to direct lighting to work surfaces within the production area, eliminating the need to over-light space while providing better lighting for inspection operations.
  • Dim aisle lighting to 20 percent in lower-traffic areas when employees were not present, reducing energy usage while providing background and security lighting.
  • Leverage daylight from open bay doors in the facility’s shipping and receiving areas via integrated daylight-harvesting sensors in each fixture.
  • Schedule automatic changes to lighting behaviors, such as shorter timeout settings and increased dimming factors during weekends and holidays when employees typically aren’t present within the facility.

For any timeframe needed, the Kenwal team now also has access to a wide range of energy usage and occupancy data, which is accessed through the system’s LightRules lighting management software. Data that are visually depicted on interactive maps of the mill facility that can also be used to change fixture settings and behaviors enables management to:

  • Quickly report, down to the kWh, how much energy is used by fixture, zone or facility, and document the efficiency savings.
  • Observe when peak usage occurs in different areas of the facility and change settings such as fixture timeout delays to match actual operating conditions.
  • Track occupancy patterns, enabling the optimization of lighting to support high-transit, -occupancy or -usage areas, and vice versa.
  • Collect other energy management and operational efficiency metrics.

“Tracking a wide variety of decision-making metrics surrounding lighting and energy use is the secret to achieving upwards of 90 percent energy savings over T5 and metal halide fixtures,” said Ron Cimino, CEO of Total Source LED.