How To Know It’s Time To Replace Your High Bays [5 Questions]

January 24, 2017

In today’s fast-paced industrial environment, it’s sometimes difficult to stop for a moment and look around and really see the state of your facility. For example, I’ve been to numerous facilities in the last few months where the light levels from traditional lighting were too low. Insufficient lighting can be detrimental to an industrial facility: slower picking times for warehouse or missed quality inspections in a manufacturing cell are just two general examples. The most crucial to me is safety hazards to employees. Everyone has the right to leave work in the same way they arrived. The lighting system, especially now, should never be the reason for an on-the-job injury. Many managers I speak with don’t know where to start. Fortunately, examining the current system does not need to be a laborious process. Here are five questions that I use to help people determine if they should start looking for new LED high bay lighting. 

What type of high bay lighting do you currently have?

If you have HID or fluorescent high bays, and most industrial facilities still do, it's time to upgrade. It’s that simple. You're missing out on the benefits of LED lighting: energy savings, maintenance savings, high quality of light, code compliance, controllability, and integration with other systems. {Check out this video of the differences between HID and LED high bays}

Are your high bays always on? 

If they’re always on, you can reduce your energy consumption by up to 80% in some cases by adding controls that will ensure your lights only stay on when the space is in use or as dictated by code (think egress). Why pay for light you don’t need? 

Are your high bays controlled via manual switch? 

Automated controls can dim and turn lights on and off based on time of day, available daylight, occupancy, load shedding events and more so you can realize additional savings automatically, so it saves you time too. And who has time to remember to hit the switch?

Are any of your high bays out right now? 

Look up. If any high bays are out, it’s time to upgrade. Dysfunctional high bays can result in poor productivity because your crew cannot see properly to get the job done. But more importantly, insufficient lighting can result in safety hazards. No one wants to make that call to someone’s family member.

Are your light levels low making it difficult to see? 

Like the frog in a pot of boiling water, it’s easy to acclimate to light levels that degrade over time. You don’t realize how bad it is until you get new bulbs or lights. If your crew can’t easily see lot numbers from the top rack to the bottom shelf, or with the clarity they need around dangerous machines, then productivity and safety is being compromised. HID and fluorescent high bays dull quickly requiring maintenance and bulb replacements. Many facility managers wait for a handful to go out to save on maintenance costs but in the meantime your production floor can get dark. The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) recommends anywhere from 20-100 foot candles for most industrial high bay applications to ensure adequate lighting and safety for workers. And with an LED high bay solution, there’s no reason to put up with anything less.

Additional tools can show you what to look for in different LED solutions so you make the best decision and investment for your industrial facility. Check out Acuity’s manufacturing site which has a great guide to LED high bays available for download.

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