Efficient warehousing is an integral component of the supply chain strategy of businesses and lighting needs are responsible for more than half of a warehouse facility’s electrical needs.
Lighting was long considered an area in which costs were difficult to rein in. The only possible solution was to call the lighting contractor every couple of years to replace old inefficient tubes or fixtures. With LED lighting systems this circle is all set to change – after all the technology delivers over fifty percent direct energy savings over fluorescent technology.
Light is needed in a warehouse to help in identifying workers and goods alike, reduce the risk of accidents and help in navigating aisles. Different areas of the warehouse are used for different purposes and may have varied lighting needs. A warehouse need not be a dark, dull and depressing area. With the right lighting technology, known as High Bay lighting, it can be a comfortable haven for workers.
Lighting Design in Warehouses
Overhead lights are needed in loading areas for general illumination for better safety during loading procedures. Supplemental lights may also be needed to further improve illumination in certain cases. It is important to determine the lighting needs in each area and design lights accordingly. It is good to remember that something that cannot be measured cannot be controlled. At workstations low glare lights that enable office staff to comfortably read documents is needed. Good horizontal and vertical illumination is required for open storage areas as the aisles may be repeatedly reconfigured. Similarly good lighting is needed in rack storage areas. Besides these, lighting levels in a warehouse depend on the activity pattern, space design (open or confined), age and visual acuity of workers and size of items.
Cost of lighting warehouses
With energy efficient lights based on cutting edge LED technology lighting energy consumption can be reduced by 50% to 90%.
Factors to consider when selecting the lighting options for your warehouse:
Life time cost of lighting – These include onetime cost of lighting devices, energy costs, set up costs, replacement costs, cost of labour for replacement, cost of safe disposal of bulbs, cost of ordering and storage of replacement bulbs. If a warehouse believes in offsetting its carbon foot print the cost of carbon emitted must also be factored in.
Cost of replacements - LED lights have a phenomenally long life. Each individual LED device can last 10 years or more.
Light distribution – High shelves can cause unwanted shadows on the floor. Using fewer but high power lights can provide the required illumination but will lead to glare making life uncomfortable for workers. Many smaller lights can now be placed in the warehousing facility to achieve uniform light distribution and effective control without sending the maintenance costs out through the roof.
Some of the issues that will need consideration when designing warehouse lighting or determining the right lighting fixtures are -
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