Quality lighting is an essential part of warehouse performance. Without a properly illuminated space, many issues can arise such as increased errors or even unsafe work conditions. Furthermore, lighting is a major cost for warehouses, they run their lights for long hours and commonly demand high amounts of electrical use. Currently, the industry has seen a massive shift from outdated options such as fluorescent tubes or High-Intensity Discharge lamps to efficient LED lighting. In this week’s LED Lighting Application, we will discuss the issues that poor lighting creates for warehouses and how LEDs can provide a solution!
Poor Lighting Problems
Outdated lighting options such as fluorescent tubes depreciate very quickly meaning the amount of light they output decreases quickly over time. This decrease in light output can create several issues with the most concerning being poor contrast and dark areas. Poor contrast can affect employees using forklifts to move goods in a warehouse increasing the risk of error or injury. Additionally, decreased light output can create dark areas within your warehouse especially in confined spaces such as corners and end rows. On average, a workplace injury requiring medical attention costs $42,000. Therefore, ensuring your warehouse is well lit is imperative to not only keep your employees safe but save you money!
Fluorescent lighting emits a low-frequency flicker that is not visible to the human but absorbed by the brain. The flickering can create a strain on your eyes which can cause headaches and overall discomfort for employees. Warehousing staff needs to be sharp especially when utilizing heavy machinery, LED lighting offers a smooth light output that emits little to no flickering. Switching from fluorescent to LED lights has been proven in numerous studies to reduce headaches which in return can make employees more productive.
Most warehouses have ceilings well above 15 feet which generally require a lift if you need to make any changes to your lighting system. Constantly requiring your maintenance team to use a lift and change lamps is a risk that can easily be avoided. Modern LED lights commonly last much longer than outdated lighting options which removes the need to constantly swap out lights. On top of this, consistently changing lights can interfere with daily operations in the warehouse making your employees less productive.
The cost of changing out bulbs can quickly add up for your warehouse. Since LED lights last significantly longer, the cost of replacing bulbs no longer becomes an issue for the facility. We have had several customers who constantly are purchasing and replacing tubes which takes time and money away from their business. By upgrading to LED, these customers were able to reduce their maintenance costs significantly and reduce their electrical usage which slashed their total lighting cost by up to 70%.
Solution: LED High Bay Lighting
LED high bays are the bread and butter of lighting upgrades for warehouses. They provide excellent light output while requiring significantly less energy to run. Furthermore, they last longer than outdated options making them a quality investment for your facility.
Here is a quick comparison between a High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamp and a LED high bay.
How to Choose the Right High Bay
The first specification to consider is the wattage of the current light compared to the replacement. All manufacturers offer a simple wattage or lamp comparison to help customers choose the best option. As shown in the example above, a 400W HID lamp is commonly replaced with a 125W LED High Bay. Therefore, the LED option requires around 70% less energy than the HID lamp being replaced. Not every LED manufacturer is the same so be sure to check which option is most efficient to ensure you get the most savings!
The second specification is the foot-candle requirement of your facility. Foot candles are a measurement of light that is commonly used to set lighting standards for different facilities. Warehouses using outdated options such as fluorescent tubes usually underperform compared to lighting standards. To ensure you hit the lighting standards, we recommend contacting your local lighting consultant who can take a reading of your space and offer a custom solution to fill your lighting needs. Generally, a warehouse will want to be operating with at least 20 foot candles, however specific applications may require much higher lighting levels.
Color temperature (K) is a measure of how “warm” or “cool” a light source appears. The lower the number (2000K) the warmer the light appears, the higher the number (5000K) the cooler or whiter the light appears. Since cleanliness and organization are important for warehouses, we recommend choosing a high bay with a color temperature between 4000 – 6000K.
Quality lighting can greatly improve the operations and profitability of a warehouse. LED lighting is a great solution for facilities that currently have outdated options such a fluorescent and HID lamps. They greatly reduce maintenance and energy usage while offering higher-quality lighting for your facility.