HIF and HID high bay lights were the traditional lighting choice for many industrial facilities that needed high light levels — in spite of their inefficiency and high maintenance costs. They were the easy choice so facility managers just accepted adequate lighting that required regular re-lamping and re-ballasting as a necessary part of doing business.

Since industrial lighting technologies and performance hadn’t evolved much since the invention of the Edison light bulb, staff simply accepted limitations, including glare or a constant hum. Then came LEDs, although in the early days it wasn’t clear that they could meet the rigorous light-level requirements – particularly for manufacturing facilities – while delivering energy savings that make them cost-effective. Early efforts in industrial LED lighting didn’t deliver on the promise.

In the last two years, any doubts about LEDs’ abilities to meet these challenges have been answered with intelligent LED systems. These systems address the intense light level requirements, and slash energy costs by integrating the intelligence that drives excellent project economics.

Here are some thoughts on why this is the perfect time for industrial LED lighting:

  • LED fixtures have become cheaper due to reduced LED chip costs and more innovative and cost-effective designs. In fact, LED chips now may be only 20% or less of the total cost of an LED fixture. So, prices are not likely to continue to drop rapidly;
  • Improved thermal designs that allow LED fixtures, whose lifetimes are affected by ambient temperature, to last 100,000+ hours without losing significant light output;
  • Daylight harvesting, which allows each fixture to dim in response to light from windows and skylights.  When each fixture is able to automatically and independently respond to ambient light, the light delivered is uniform and consistent, while maximizing savings;
  • Intelligence, which matches light delivery to the tasks and schedule of the facility.  No wasted light, and maximum savings.  With the higher occupancy of a manufacturing facility vs. a warehouse, intelligence optimizes savings and creates a compelling business case.

In two recent Digital Lumens deployments, the performance and project economics in large-scale manufacturing and repair facilities show both the power and the savings of intelligent LED lighting systems:

  • Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services’ maintenance facility selected Digital Lumens for their lighting upgrade (see press release here). Vector’s HID fixtures were replaced one-for-one with our Intelligent Lighting System, which delivers better, higher output lighting focused on the work surfaces that are critical to this precision maintenance and repair business.  The System delivers lighting levels necessary to illuminate workstations, with none of the glare of fluorescents or other LED alternatives they evaluated. And, the Vector facility management team has access to all lighting performance metrics – all while reducing annual lighting energy costs by 72%.
  • Creed Monarch, a contract manufacturer in New Britain, CT wanted complete control over lighting in their busy facility (see press release here). Creed Monarch is saving 75% on their lighting energy bills after replacing all of their HPS fixtures with the Intelligent Lighting System. The Creed Monarch operations team is continuing to fine tune lighting settings to support their operations and expects to further enhance their energy savings in the process. Their payback period should be less than two years.

These energy savings – combined with excellent light quality and the ability to manage lighting settings to meet facility needs – are rapidly driving the adoption of intelligent LED lighting across a broad range of industrial environments.

Learn more about the range of companies and environments benefitting from intelligent LED systems in our recent webinar Case Studies in Intelligent Lighting (archive link here), and visit our case studies page (link), as well.