We’ve come to associate logistics with the movement of goods but before the word was blazoned across truck fleets up and down the country there was a much wider definition of the word, and one that could be far more useful than simply tracking a pallet of supplies around the motorway network.
Logistics as ‘the detailed organisation and implementation of a complex operation’ is a perfect description of the modern industrial space. And the key to logistical design is to ensure flexibility within the process. What is set out on a floor plan on Day1 may not best suit the business by Day100, but if building services have been locked in to that Day1 scenario it can be a disruptive and costly exercise to reconfigure to what is actually needed; we need to design for change. We need to plan logistically.
What does that mean for lighting in the industrial environment?
Let’s look at some of the operations that need to be addressed:
The production area: where goods are fabricated, assembled and packed. Generally speaking, everything happens within a volume that is accessible by someone at floor level, with machines and workbenches arranged for efficient movement around the space.
Production area lighting needs good quality, uniform, illumination that is generally shadow-free. As there may be rotating machinery, the lighting needs to be flicker-free to avoid the stroboscopic ‘wagon wheel’ effect that makes circular motion – a lathe, for example – appear to be still. An incredibly dangerous situation.
The storage area: floor space is expensive so storage systems make optimal use of the vertical plane. Racking often fills the space from floor to roof, with corridors being only as wide as they need to be. Efficiently planned, three-dimensional, space can save a company a lot of unnecessary expenditure.
Storage area lighting effectively turns the demand for lighting around 90 degrees. Lighting in the production area begins with the illumination of the horizontal plane (the floor and the horizontal workbenches); in the storage area it is the vertical surface that needs to be properly illuminated. It’s also possible that the storage racking could be as high as 6m above floor level.
The despatch bay: which includes goods in as well as goods out, of course. This is the dynamic interface between the company and the outside world, where the truck with ‘Logistics’ written down the side, meets the planned shipments. There is another word that goes well with this function and that word is ‘expedition’, used in the sense of accelerating the progress of an action.
Despatch bay lighting, on first appearance, is all about shifting big boxes into an even bigger box – the truckbed. But there is something far more detailed also happening. Every pallet and parcel has associated paperwork; even when everything is recorded electronically, there is still essential labelling and paperwork.
Specialist activity: can mean whatever the company needs it to mean, but these spaces usually involve more intense and focused activity; product testing and examination; research; working with hazardous materials; fine-detail activity.
Specialist activity lighting has a single common element. Specialist areas demand that close attention has to be paid to the job in hand. Specialist activity often calls for additional localised and task lighting to lift the general ambient to a higher illumination to assist efficient working.
Case study: South East Water
New Tamlite lighting solution at South East Water saves almost 80% on energy bills, enhances worker wellbeing and provides waste recycling service.
South East Water supplies drinking water to over 2 million customers in the South East of England. Decision makers at its Morley Road depot and offices recognised that through the upgrade to LED, plus associated lighting controls, significant long-term energy savings can be achieved.
Tamlite Lighting was specified to carry out the project, supplying the ideal lighting solution throughout the warehouse, depot and offices.
Luke Kavanagh of Lake Electrical commented, “The customer is delighted with how the installation has turned out, and we were very happy with how smooth the supply chain was – delivering the products from Tamlite, to CEF Tunbridge Wells, to us.”
Enhanced Energy Efficiency
The lighting system upgrade also delivered significant energy savings for the Morley Road site. Replacing 400W high bay fittings with Tamlite’s 112W EXPO luminaires in the warehouse went some way to achieving the reduction in energy consumption.
The total energy savings from the project were calculated at 79%. This, in conjunction with additional lighting controls, will lead to a swift payback period for South East Water.
PIR sensors were installed throughout the offices and break out areas, minimising the time of use of the fittings, further improving energy savings and reducing maintenance costs.
WEEE Recycling Solution
Tamlite, in partnership with its sister company EWRG, provided a recycling solution for South East Water, collecting the existing fittings once they had been removed from the site and stored at CEF Tunbridge Wells.
EWRG processed and recycled the old luminaires, and gave verified paperwork to South East Water as confirmation that its previous system had been removed and processed responsibly.
With over 70% of commercial buildings still using traditional, non-LED light sources, Tamlite wants to make it clear that significant cost saving can be achieved in your building or facility with the switch to next-generation LED luminaires.
Improving Worker Wellbeing
In addition to the substantial energy savings, the quality of illumination has been vastly improved. The previous lighting system in the offices was causing problems for employees at South East Water, due to glare from computer screens and the fittings themselves, so they looked to upgrade their lighting.
Tamlite specified a low glare modular solution, designed to reduce the prevalence of visible glare, and create a more comfortable working environment for staff.