Industrial facilities present unique challenges for lighting concerns. With ceilings that most commonly exceed 20 feet in height (and often taller), the need for clean, clear, powerful light is priority No. 1. This necessity is compounded by the fact that industrial-classified facilities commonly house massive machinery or equipment, which must be attended to and operated with care—and proper visibility.
In short, lighting an industrial facility is high stakes. The right choice is critical.
For Bobcat® Company, headquartered in West Fargo, North Dakota, the right solution for their recent lighting upgrade came in the form of high bay LED systems throughout its Wahpeton manufacturing plant. Responsible for the manufacture of hydraulics, cylinders and valves for Bobcat loaders, compact excavators and attachments, the lighting needs for the facility present a good case study in how beneficial a lighting upgrade can be.
Much of the high bay space is dedicated to welding, assembly and testing—and prior to the upgrade, workers often found it necessary to supplement the existing light levels (provided by 297 metal halide fixtures throughout the floor) with handheld flashlights. Not only was this a potentially dangerous practice—the use of a flashlight, of course, limits what workers can do with their hands— but it negatively impacted productivity across the plant.
“Operations at our Wahpeton site are critical to the business, so we wanted to be sure we made the best decision,” said Harlan Anderson, Bobcat’s sourcing specialist who oversaw the lighting project. The Wahpeton facility houses approximately 98,000 square feet of high bay space that is now illuminated with GE’s Albeo™ ABH and ALC4 LED high bay lighting fixtures.
The numbers speak for themselves: Yearly energy costs have decreased by more than $50,000 via a reduction in energy consumption by more than 850,000 kilowatt hours annually. Factor in diminished maintenance needs for these reliable new fixtures and the savings become greater—the plant’s new LED fixtures have a rated lifetime of 100,000 hours compared to the 20,000-hour rated life of metal halides that were replaced.
Nathan Gemar, a Bobcat sourcing specialist, noted that the old metal halide lamps produced a great amount of wasted light and illuminated the ceiling more than was necessary. Previously, the Bobcat team had painted walls, so the space inside the facility would appear brighter. The new LED solution directs light where it’s needed, eliminating the need for flashlights and improving overall working conditions for Bobcat employees.