Upgrading lighting within factories, warehouses and other industrial areas can deliver huge benefits for both employers and employees.
Schréder business segment manager - industry & large area, Cédric Collard, explains more about how to deliver high quality and compliant lighting infrastructure in this new Q&A.
Cedric, what kind of issues can be caused by inadequate industrial lighting?
There are a lot of potential problems, I am afraid to say. A common issue is brightness, where too much or too little reflected light makes objects hard to see. Insufficient contrast between an object and its background is another major problem because it can render the object difficult to detect at all.
Other symptoms of poor lighting include inadequate lighting levels, poorly distributed light, and flickering light. Flicker is particularly concerning because it can lead to issues such as headaches and visual impairment, which can lead to an increased number of sick days and less job satisfaction, which can cause problems for employers in maintaining production levels.
These issues have contributed to a massive movement towards LED lighting across this sector. LED lighting makes it much easier to achieve consistent and high-quality output as well as reduced energy consumption and maintenance. It helps employers create inviting and hospitable industrial work places to attract the right workers and reduce the cost of having to replace staff.
"Research shows that simply improving workplace lighting can reduce accidents by as much as 60%!”
The initial investment will bring huge benefits in employee safety and well-being.
Can working with a specialist partner like Schréder make it easier to adopt industrial lighting recommendations?
Yes. One of the great developments of recent years has been the creation of specific guidelines and recommendations for industrial lighting. These make it easier to select lighting that is ‘fit for purpose’. But we bring more to the table. We design and deliver lighting solutions that not only comply with the latest developments, but are completely focused on the specific needs, optimising the different spaces in an industrial facility.
We have helped a lot of companies across Europe to install lighting that complies with the IEC lux level recommendations. These include 200 lux for loading bays, warehouses and bulk stores, and 300 lux for packing and dispatch areas. And as a member of the International Electrotechnical Commission we regularly participate in working groups which review and optimise norms, taking into account the latest lighting technologies.
As a one-stop partner, we are well-placed to offer products to satisfy all recommended lux levels, as well as the design and install expertise to ensure everything is integrated successfully.
What kind of benefits can industrial customers expect when they make the switch to LED?
I would say there are two main benefits. One is economic and energy related, and the other relates to employees and productivity.
On the economic and energy front, switching to LED from legacy sources can lead to energy savings upwards of 60%. If sensors and control systems are also installed, additional savings of 10 to 15% are easily achieved. Payback periods can be as little as 18 months even with large scale rollouts. Plus, with LED products often lasting 10 to 15 years, replacement and maintenance costs can be slashed increasing return on investment.
In a study carried out by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on factories in the garment industry, it estimated that improved lighting levels can increase productivity by 10% and reduce errors in manufacturing by 30%.
In turn, the EU’s ‘Lighting for People’ project has demonstrated how proper lighting in the workplace directly influences productivity. The project’s findings identify that lighting helps regulate workers’ circadian rhythms, in turn boosting mental performance and making them feel more alert and energetic. The better the light quality, the more pronounced this effect is.
"High-quality lighting makes it far easier for employers to achieve lighting systems that make their staff feel comfortable. And if they are comfortable they will be more productive. That’s got to be good for a business’s performance and profitability."
Schréder is a company that is always innovating. Can you outline some of your latest solutions for the industrial market?
In recent years we have put a lot of effort into developing new industrial lighting systems as well as solutions that make it possible to monitor and control lighting effectively.
We are currently working with partners to develop a control system that not only adapts the lighting levels to the activities taking place, but also makes it possible, with an easy-to-use interface, to deploy and programme the installation.
For outdoor lighting, our Owlet remote management system gives facility managers complete control of their luminaires. There is an easy to use interface, and control is possible from wireless devices. And with the data provided by Owlet, companies can keep a close watch on their energy usage and take steps that lead to further efficiencies.
Our Shuffle can be installed in parking and corporate zones. Much more than a lighting column, it can integrate control systems, Wi-Fi, loudspeakers, electrical vehicle charging stations, signage and more. It can help improve operations. For example, when fitted with surveillance cameras, it can recognise the number plates of delivery to give automate access. Highly efficient, the Shuffle system can be also serve as a branding tool to help a company show that it is taking innovation and sustainability seriously.
So, as you can see, the industrial market is central to our thinking as a company - and it will remain so.