Today’s manufacturers need to operate smarter if they want to move forward. For many, that means adopting new technologies. When it comes to business lighting, the go-to technology is LEDs, a solution that is cost-efficient and sustainable and which improves productivity and streamlines maintenance. Here, we discuss the benefits of LED lighting in the manufacturing sector.
- Bulbs that keep on working
Manufacturing facilities require adequate lighting for work to continue. Sometimes, even the failure of a single bulb can result in temporary downtime and with so many bulbs being used across a facility, replacement is a burden on both finances and maintenance staff. What’s more, with plants in operation 24-hours a day, manufacturers need to replace bulbs more often than most other businesses.
The benefit of LEDs is that bulb lifespans are much longer than any other type of luminaire, up to four times longer than fluorescent tubes. On average, they last for 50,000 hours, giving manufacturing plants almost six years of 24-hours a day, 7 days a week illumination. At 8 hours a day, they could last for over 17 years. This longevity reduces the cost of replacement and slashes the amount of downtime and maintenance.
- Big reduction in energy costs and CO2 emissions
The rising costs of energy can have a substantial effect on a manufacturing company’s profitability, with businesses spending thousands of pounds a year just on lighting their facilities. LED technology is far more energy-efficient than other types of bulbs as it converts more energy into light and less into heat. Compared to an incandescent bulb of similar brightness, for example, an LED is around 80% more efficient, a figure that translates to an 80% reduction in energy usage. Depending on the types of bulbs you are replacing, adopting LEDs can, therefore, reduce lighting bills by 80%.
From a sustainability perspective, the reduction in energy usage achieved when adopting LEDs also reduces the company’s carbon footprint, helping it achieve sustainability targets and making the brand more appealing to today’s green consumers.
- Safer working environments and processes
Fire is a major concern for manufacturing businesses and one of the issues with older bulb technologies is the heat they produce. Incandescent bulbs, in particular, get very hot and this can be a fire risk. Things that come into contact with hot bulbs can ignite, as can gases and materials used in some manufacturing processes. Employees that accidentally come into contact with hot bulbs can also suffer from burns. In comparison, LEDs emit virtually no heat and what little is emitted is dissipated through a heat sink. The risk of fire or burns, therefore, is massively reduced.
Another safety advantage of LEDs is that, unlike fluorescent and mercury vapour lights, they do not contain hazardous chemicals, like mercury. If a fluorescent or mercury light is accidentally broken, there’s a risk to health from these chemicals causing harm to employees and contaminating the manufacturing process. This can cause enormous disruption to the processing of foods, for example. With LEDs, there is no risk from harmful chemicals at all.
- Better colour vision
Many manufacturing processes require employees to be able to see colours accurately, for example, to spot when dyes are running out and need replenishing so that a production run isn’t spoiled. While natural light provides the truest colour rendering, this isn’t always possible in manufacturing plants which are frequently housed in large, illuminated buildings. Even with plenty of natural light coming in through windows, this isn’t always sufficient during darker working hours.
The advantage of LEDs over other luminaires is that companies can configure the colour, brightness and colour temperature of individual bulbs to mimic daylight, ensuring that the lighting environment within the building is as natural as possible and as such, helping employees to see colours more accurately. As a result, issues with colour quality during production can be quickly spotted and wastage minimised.
- Intelligent lighting
Modern LED bulbs come with built-in sensors and controls that communicate with a central control system, providing manufacturing companies with a smart lighting solution. Natural daylight and occupancy sensors, for example, can be programmed to adjust brightness or turn lights on and off depending on how much daylight is reaching a sensor or whether someone is using the room. These smarter systems can cut energy usage even more and ensure that manufacturing spaces always have optimum lighting for the highest productivity. What’s more, its also possible to use LED’s smart connectivity to link and control other systems, like access control and HVAC.
In larger or open planned spaces, it is even possible to create lighting zones, so that different areas can be best illuminated to create the right conditions for the specific processes or tasks being carried out there.
- Can be used almost anywhere
The low voltages at which LEDs operate means they can be used in environments with a much wider range of temperatures than other types of bulbs. This means they have both internal and external applications, for example, they can be used externally in loading bays, vehicle parks and for lighting roadways within large plants, while internally, they can operate in industrial freezers, containers and high-temperature areas.
Whatever type of manufacturer you are, LED bulbs and LED systems can bring many benefits to your business, cutting lighting bills, replacement and maintenance costs and reducing carbon emissions. At the same time, they create safer and more productive working environments, can be used internally and externally and enable lighting zones to make more flexible use of space.
For more information, visit our LED Lighting page.