“Hot Installation” Allows Bayless Manufacturing & Engineering To Save Money On High-Bay Lighting Without Downtime
One of the arguments against retrofitting a manufacturing facility, no matter how sensible the idea, is that the savings must outweigh not only the costs of installation and materials, they must also outweigh the cost of downtime. As much as an upgrade is desirable and even required, non-urgent modifications are easy to put off for a plant operating at high capacity, to avoid foregoing or delaying customer orders … at least, until they become unavoidable.
Bayless Manufacturing & Engineering (http://www.baylessengineering.com/) of Valencia, in the Santa Clarita Valley, found itself paying too much to illuminate one of its buildings, a 22,000 square foot busy manufacturing plant. Four of Bayless’ five buildings had already had their high-bay lighting converted to high-efficiency T5 fluorescent high-bay fixtures. This remaining building, though, presented technical challenges as well as logistical ones: The old metal halide high-bay warehouse lighting was not just high off the ground, they were extremely difficult to access above machinery on the floor and conduits in mid air. The lights were still functional, but they were expensive to operate and approaching the end of their life cycle.
Owner Earl Bayless was not daunted by the challenge. Having built the company from a one-man machine shop in 1978 to a thriving sheet-metal and powder-coating business today, Bayless’ keen eye for opportunity not only resulted in expansion, it allowed the company to rebound from the 2008 recession and stand its ground against low-cost foreign competitors. The deteriorating 465 W single-lamp ballast lighting in this plant generated way above-average power expenditures for the company, and it simply had to go.
A bright spot in this project (so to speak) was that lighting manufacturer Vision Engineering of Palmdale, CA (http://www.visionengineering.com), was motivated to work with Bayless and Lighting Efficiency & Design (l.e.d.) to supply the plant with intelligent, energy-efficient LED lighting products. The new ballast fixtures from Vision Engineering run at a much more economical 160 W. Estimated to run for 100,000 hours, these lamps are expected to illuminate for over 15 years at Bayless’ current operational demands.
Bayless’ two-shift operation, running 20 hours a day, six days a week, required l.e.d. to create a solution that was flexible in more ways than one. An unconventional “hot installation”—that is, an installation performed with the building’s power left on—allowed the plant to keep running during the upgrade to high-bay LED lighting. Because it was impossible to position a scissor lift directly under most of the fixtures, installers on more elaborate knuckle boom cranes worked with surgical precision, at odd angles, maneuvering around equipment and conduits, all while the plant’s machinery remained in operation.
The results—both tangible and intangible—have been well worth the extraordinary effort: The already-substantial savings from the reduced power demand are improved even further by the addition of motion sensors and dimmers. These features automatically adjust local light levels according to activity. The 15+ expected lifespan of the LED high-bay lighting should have low maintenance costs, not to mention far fewer contortionist requirements.
Employees say that the new high-bay lighting also creates a better work environment. At over 5000 K, the light brightens their work areas better than the 4000 K of the old fixtures, a quality that should convert to better productivity and lower rejection rates. Optics on the LEDs ensure wide and thorough coverage of the illumination. Of course, the LEDs are flicker-free and silent, unlike the original metal halide lamps.
This was, hands down, l.e.d.’s most challenging installation to date, and a great testimonial to their commitment to client satisfaction.