LEDs operate differently and are comparatively a way more rugged and durable than traditional light bulbs. These tiny illumination sources allow automation in the lighting arena which would certainly change the panorama of spaces like warehouses and facilities in time to come.
Warehouses or facilities are huge sheds, typically expanded in height, length and breadth, covering a lot of vertical as well as horizontal spaces that require powerful lighting to provide the appropriate luminance levels for adequate illumination. When it comes to the nature of jobs that are performed in these premises, the requirement of high brightness is a must. For instance, employees in the warehouse often require reading the label on the box while either shelving it or shifting it to the trucks for transportation. Not only this, there are a variety of other operations that need to be accomplished without inviting any mishap in the area.
Keeping this in mind, we at LED World went on to explore how serious is this concern in the eyes of our lighting big-wigs and which all solutions they have in their respective kitties. In the process, we came in contact with three big names – Signify, Wipro & Havells. While discussing with them, we tried finding out the trend and future prospects especially for those engaged in this trade of illumination. The giants responded in a very descriptive manner to each of our question which included illumination level, superiority of LEDs over traditional sources, readiness of the Indian industries, and of course, savings attached to this switching over.
Signify Innovations India Ltd.
According to Sumit Joshi, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Signify Innovations India Ltd. (formerly Philips Lighting India), in today’s competitive industrial production scenario, cost efficiency and productivity are important differentiating factors for running successful manufacturing operations. Industries differ a lot from each other in terms of production processes, depending on the product they manufacture.
“These different manufacturing processes have their own unique lighting requirements. Warehouses too differ from each other in terms of their lighting requirements, depending on the industry they cater to. However, all factories or warehouse premises require lighting that ensures the safety of the workers and enhances the productivity of the systems and machines at the same time,” Joshi elaborates.
He suggests that an ideal lighting solution for such facilities needs to be durable enough to withstand the harsh environmental conditions such as high temperatures, humidity, corrosive air quality, erratic power supply and vibration from the machines. “At the same time, it must also comply with industry standards on fire, health and safety. Given the high energy tariffs in India, there is also an increasing demand for energy efficient lighting solutions that require minimum maintenance,” he insists.
Joshi firmly believes that lighting also significantly impacts how employees connect to a surrounding environment. “Good quality, reliable lighting is essential for continuous operations and safety in industrial facilities. A thoughtfully designed lighting system at the workplace can result in a healthy, productive and efficient workforce while a poorly designed lighting system can negatively impact both performance and safety.”
Anuj Dhir, VP-Commercial Lighting Business, Wipro Lighting, underscores that in factories & warehouses, worker productivity and safety are the major concerns. “As the entire space needs to be lit up properly, majority of the illumination requirement will be horizontal lux levels of Boolux fame. This is true for uniform illumination of the entire space. Also certain tasks like cutting require machine specific/process specific lighting in order to help workers supervise the work in detail. Warehouses need vertical lux levels to identify stored items,” says Dhir adding that typical illumination level requirements on vertical planes are 150-250 Lux.
According to him, from savings perspective, energy efficiency & the cost of the luminaire play a major role in luminaire decision making in industries. “Total cost of ownership (TCO) takes into account CAPEX (capital expenditure) as well as the OPEX (operating expenditure). This includes the initial cost as well as installation, maintenance and operational cost of the luminaire,” elaborates Dhir.
He suggests that for new projects, lesser number of luminaires with higher savings are preferred because higher efficacy leads to lesser number of luminaires, thus lower consumption of energy. However, for LED refurbishment projects, lower wattage higher savings is the key. “In such projects, replacement of the luminaires happens 1:1 and higher efficacy leads to lower wattage per luminaire, which leads to high lumen output,” Dhir explains.
Havells India Ltd.
Prag Bhatnagar, Senior Vice President, Havells India Ltd. goes on further detailing of the illumination level requirements. “The illumination level requirement varies for factory and warehouse premises. For factory premises, it starts from 250 lux and goes up to 800 lux, depending upon the lighting use case.
For fine & detailed applications such as diamond, textile and slam components etc., the average lux level can reach up to 1000 lux. For warehouses, the illumination requirement is generally 150-200 lux while for some specific customer requirement, it can also reach up to 300/350 lux,” he says adding that while purchasing the product, general specifications which clients generally looked at are: IP rating, IK rating, surge rating, power factor, lumens, efficacy and TSD.
Traditional Vs Modern Solution
Generally, there are four options when it comes to lighting a warehouse. And each option comes with its pros and cons. For instance, high intensity discharge (HID), High pressure sodium vapour (HPSV), fluorescent, and LED. HID lamps were long thought of as the only option for lighting warehouses and are still often used. This type of lamp has the lowest initial cost. However, these HID lams also have the highest rate of lumen depreciation and do not offer many options when it comes to colour temperatures.
High pressure sodium lamps (HPSV) have a colour temperature of about 2200K to 2400K which is very yellow in appearance, while metal halide lamps are around 4000K to 4500K, which is much whiter in colour. All HID systems also need a warm up time before reaching full illumination and require a cool down period after being turned off before they can be turned on again. This means power surges can cause the lights to be off for up to fifteen minutes.
Later, fluorescent was considered a great alternative to HID lighting owing to the former’s comparatively lesser cost and a more energy efficient solution. These lights offer a much larger range of colour temperatures, from 2700K to 6500K, as well as sizes and shapes to provide a lot more flexibility. Like HID, the downside to using fluorescents is their operating temperature constraints. These lights do not function well in areas of extreme cold or heat and are not viable for frequent on/off cycles, which eventually impact their lifespan.
Of all these, the most versatile and energy efficient choice is LEDs, which use least energy while emitting comparable, if not better, lumen outputs. LEDs can either be purchased as complete fixtures for new construction or as retrofits for current fixtures. These lights can also last up to 50K hours, so replacement doesn’t happen as often. Further, LEDs don’t suffer from constant on/off cycles the way HIDs and fluorescents do. While being perfect for colder regions, LEDs may get affected by higher temperatures.
What Do Lighting Giants Say?
Traditionally, MHL or Metal Halide lamps were used for illumination of factories and warehouses. These lights had several limitations. One such limitation was their long warm-up period, which meant that they could not be switched on-demand and had to be switched on for unnecessarily long durations, resulting in higher power consumption. Moreover, these lamps were also less energy efficient when run at less than full operating power. Their light spread is omnidirectional, which is less than optimum, as a large part of the light needs to be redirected and reflected to the desired area to achieve the required illumination levels.
Considering all these factors, Joshi reasons out why LED can take over the traditionally confined MHL. “All these challenges can be overcome by using the latest LED lighting solutions, which offer several advantages such as longer lifespan, higher energy efficiency, high quality lighting and lower maintenance costs. These lights can even be customised according to individual requirements and offer directional light throw, which results in better illumination and higher efficacy. At the same time, LED’s don’t require a long warm-up period, which results in substantial cost savings over the long run.”
Dhir too advocates the use of LEDs into such spaces. “Modern day best-in-class LED technology with high efficiency LM80 compliant LEDs can easily replace existing conventional MHL given many advantages like instant start, high lumen output, high PF, better CRI and options in colour temperature, along with minimum energy saving of 55-60%,” he elaborates adding that MHLs have a lifespan of 8-10K burning hours compared to LEDs which have lifespan of up to 50K hours. “This leads to 5 times savings on the capital cost of the luminaires.”
Bhatnagar is of the opinion that installing or choosing LEDs doesn’t simply mean enhancing the luminance or efficacy but also it puts a cap on operational cost of illumination for such a huge area. “We understand that LEDs have either been in the process of replacing or have replaced most of the MHLs installed in spaces such as warehousing facility. All these are eventually very economical because LEDs are 50% more energy-efficient than MHLs. Thanks to the continued research and innovations in LEDs. In a nutshell, it also helps in reducing both, the operational cost as well as the project cost.”
The Era of Connected Lighting
Having all these advantages, the modern-day LED solutions are presumably ready to replace MHLs in such premises. Adding more to it is the incorporation of smart technology that has completely changed the lighting panorama in these areas. These automated or rather connected lighting solutions are worthy bringing notable change in these premises which are meant for innumerable activities.
Joshi suggests that incorporation of automation strengthen these solutions. “Connected lighting solutions can further amplify these advantages offered by LED lighting solutions by transforming a traditional warehouse or a factory into a smart one. Signify’s Interact Industry Lighting Management System (ILMS) extends the value of connected lighting through insights and data and lets users reduce their operational expenses, track compliance and plan maintenance.”
Delving deep into the concept, Joshi reiterates, “Our Interact Industry cloud-based, wireless connected lighting system allows owners to monitor and control their industrial or warehouse lighting assets from anywhere, at any time. It provides an intuitive dashboard that gives owners insights into their lighting usage and allows them to optimise lighting operations remotely.”
Joshi explains that Interact industry lighting management software is specifically designed for warehouses and manufacturing facilities and helps them achieve up to 50% energy savings in comparison to sites where conventional lighting is used. This is done by adapting the lighting to demand, using daylight harvesting and presence sensors. This is on top of the significant savings already achieved by just switching to LED lighting.
“The software also enables the user of the warehouse or factory to act in a preventive rather than a reactive manner, giving them immediate insights into current faults and flagging potential future defects before they occur, thereby limiting downtime. It’s widely recognised that preventive maintenance can generate business savings of up to 12% to 18% for factory and warehouse operations,” he elucidates.
According to Joshi, these solutions can help users in three ways:
Optimise energy usage efficiently: Different activities require different light levels depending on the task, time of day and amount of daylight in a facility. Lighting areas that aren’t in use or over-lighting the facility at night when only the security team is on-site costs companies’ money that could be better used to help their business grow. With the latest connected lighting technology, lighting can be scheduled by using dimming controls to reduce light levels when full-power lighting isn’t needed, which in turn minimizes energy usage and saves costs.
Lighting uptime and safety can be ensured by enabling predictive maintenance: Defects, downtime, incidents and any other kind of unplanned maintenance can cause production downtime and has a serious business impact. In addition, not fixing lighting defects can dramatically increase the risk of an accident. Connected lighting technology lets you plan your maintenance activities effectively and ensures lighting up-time and safety by enabling predictive maintenance. For example, you can track how many hours a fitting has been operating and plan its maintenance accordingly.
Maximising productivity with an in-depth understanding of space usage: Time-consuming activities can hinder the productivity of employees. For example, order-picking accounts for almost 60% of the annual operating costs of a warehouse, of which over 50% is spent on travelling between items. With connected lighting you can unlock hidden efficiencies and uncover unique insights from data to make informed decisions that improve your day-to-day operations via the dashboard. Even a 1% improvement in productivity can make a huge difference to the bottom line of a business.
Dhir specifies that using automation creates a connection between the machines and the humans thereby further easing out the operations and efficiency. “Connecting the factory floor to Internet of Things (IoT) allows humans and machines to communicate with each another and work as one unified team. With Industry 4.0, manufacturers can gather and analyse real time data to identify patterns and insights so decisions can be made quickly and efficiently increasing productivity and overall equipment effectiveness,” he elucidates.
He believes that modern day industrial luminaires should easily integrate with intelligent controls & sensors, dimming solutions (DALI/Analogue) and IoT-based solutions further enhancing the safety, productivity and the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). “LED luminaires can be easily dimmed and incorporated with smart technologies like connected lighting system. Various strategies like Intelligent Wired & Wireless Controls, Time based Scheduling, Motion Based Control, Day light harvesting, Asset Tracking and Stocking etc. are possible with industry 4.0 compatible smart lighting solutions.”
Dhir also highlights that LEDs combined with lens optics provide multiple beam options thereby making it suitable for very high ceilings with mounting heights ranging from 6m to 25m. “The lights so developed are meant to provide uniform, glare-free lighting and effective light distribution ensuring high performance,” he says. According to him, simple refurbishment of conventional fixtures like MHL to LED can bring up to 55% energy savings while LED technology combined with smart & automated lighting solutions can provide energy savings up to 80%.
Bhatnagar, going forward, claims that by moving from conventional to LED technology, Havells India has already achieved power consumption reduction by more than 50%. “In addition to this, the new age Smart Technologies will be able to reduce it by another 30%,” he asserts adding that smart technologies come with various other advantages such as: energy efficiency, which is a combined outcome of so many factors like astronomical on/off, extended energy saving by dimming as per the need of the hour and BMS integration.
He further adds that when it comes to achieving operational efficiency, it comes with automatic controls reducing manpower / logistics requirement, automatic fault / alarm monitoring, prediction & proactive maintenance, preventing thefts, advanced lighting control by remote scheduling, overriding the schedule and live monitoring. Also, the incorporation of automation augments the possibilities of data analysis which can help in further reduction of expenses as based on data collected from the system, it offers actionable insights through big data analytics, especially on the energy usage and fault occurred.
Joshi informs that Signify Innovations has recently installed its Interact industry lighting systems in the newly developed warehouse facility of Pilkington Automotive in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. “This cloud-based, wireless connected lighting system provides industrial businesses with energy savings, delivers insights into space usage and establishes a safer working environment,” he avers.
Pilkington Automotive, part of NSG Group, is one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive glass. Its new European central warehouse meets the latest storage systems and warehouse design standards and is fully aligned with the company’s future-oriented business approach.
Elaborating further, Joshi adds, “Interact industry software enables Pilkington Automotive to analyse all data collected through smart sensors embedded in the lighting system, and then utilizing this data to improve the warehouse and process layout continuously. For example, with data insights on the intensity of space usage over time, actions can be taken to reduce inefficiencies in order-picking time in the warehouse. The system also increases the warehouse’s energy efficiency and makes it more sustainable.”
Wipro Lighting has been busy supplying energy efficient fixtures like Highbays, Wellglass and Bulkheads to heavy industries, manufacturing plants, food & beverage industries as well as warehouses since last 25 years. “Our latest offerings like Highbays – Xpressbay, Radial UNO, Radial Pro Plus with efficacy upto 150lm/W, linear weather proof luminaires like Capsule, linear trunking fixture like Xline Pro have are popular in the industry due to their properties of excellent thermal management, longer service life, flexible mounting options, quick and easy installation,” Dhir explains.
He assures that these solutions are designed to deliver optimum performance under harsh industrial environment to provide significant & sustained energy savings over the product life cycle resulting in enhanced productivity & safety. “Compatibility with smart lighting and ideal for refurbishment, make our luminaires popular in the industry & warehousing market,” states Dhir.
Havells, which claims to have complete solution for this application in its kitty, has recently installed its LED lighting solution in garmenting giant, Raymond’s facility. The company has been offering LED lighting solution for almost all types of industrial applications.
“We offer products that suit varied customer requirements, ranging from high in specification to basic requirements. We are proud to say that our LED lighting solutions have been supplied and installed at manufacturing plants owned by major Indian corporates. We have supplied these solutions to FMCG, FMEG, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, textile, cement & petroleum and many other major corporates,” avers Bhatnagar adding that smart technology is a new development at Havells and that the company is in talks with many major brands and industries for its installation.
Industrial and warehouse LED lighting market is expected to witness significant growth over the next few years. With rising energy costs, high efficiency, reliability, and longer life span are expected to drive LED demand over conventional technologies. High brightness level, condensed size, low power consumption and robust nature are some of the other factors projected to trigger industry lighting growth.
Adding more impetus is the rapid escalation and growth of online e-commerce portals, which has eventually increased the need of warehouses. No wonder, many such huge facilities are to be developed in near future. These warehouses would require optimum usage of energy, which would eventually lead to the surge in the demand for smart & connected lighting solutions.
Showing more potential are the initiatives that the Government of India has taken recently in regard with the energy conservation. Further boost would come from movement like Make in India, which gives a strong push in the existing and upcoming manufacturing facilities. Many new MNCs are expected to setup their facilities in India in time to come and many new plants are being developed to cater to the surge in all round demand. Furthermore, old plants are also retrofitting to LEDs. This will be a big market for sure in the future.
Generally speaking, it s considered that warehouse lighting doesn’t let the business earn anything in return and that it is an added expenditure which most of the companies need to bear as an inevitable burden. And, therefore, it is optimised to an extent that it leads to suffer the businesses in the long run. Well, the huge shed that’s popularly termed as warehouse or facility has some very close indices which are directly or indirectly connected to the businesses that it caters to. Such spaces are made to accommodate overhead cranes or high stacking shelving units or even manufacturing equipment.
So, curtailing the spending on proper lighting may lead to more expenses in dealing with returns, damaged goods, staff turnover and general incompetence. The time demands introspection into this fact. The factory owners need to rethink on their strategies when it comes to illuminating these spaces. Now that technological advancements with green lighting options have already been introduced to the sector, it’s the right time to switchover to these futuristic yet contemporary LED lighting solutions for higher energy efficiency leading to increased savings.