Specifier's Notebook: Illuminating Facts on Industrial Efficiency

Last month, thousands from the manufacturing industry—including the press—invaded Chicago's McCormick Place, taking over all three halls of the sprawling exhibit complex to conduct National Manufacturing Week. In my forays through the numerous exhibits...


Last month, thousands from the manufacturing industry—including the press—invaded Chicago's McCormick Place, taking over all three halls of the sprawling exhibit complex to conduct National Manufacturing Week.

In my forays through the numerous exhibits, I picked up some interesting information on industrial trends. For example, T5-HO lamps are hot—pardon the pun. Just two issues back we analyzed the technology in terms of its benefits in the context of underfloor heating and cooling ("Shedding Light on VDV," Feb. 2002, p. 38), but major lighting manufacturers at the show indicate that it's even better suited for the industrial environment.

As the February article pointed out, T5-HOs function best at around 95°F—perfect for the kind of manufacturing environments where cooling is not a critical function.

According to Jared Callison, a product manager for Lithonia Lighting, T5-HOs not only generate about twice as much light as a standard T-8, but also provide "instant on" capability, create more uniform light, consume less watts and offer a longer life span. T5-HOs can also be battery-powered for emergency lighting, he says.

Doug Bagrowski, with Phillips Lighting, has also marked the trend. In fact, he says they're selling more T5-HOs than T-5s. One of Phillip's biggest clients for the product is grocer Safeway, who is retrofitting a number of warehouses with the lamps.

A key issue that arises in many industrial environments, however, is ceiling height. "Fluorescents generate more diffused lighting so they're good for anything 25 feet and below," says Callison.

Filling the gap are metal-halide lamps, explains a products rep from Lithonia competitor G.E., particularly for directional control in a high-bay environment. "We're putting a lot into improving their [metal-halides] light output and energy consumption," he says.

G.E. is also experiencing success with another offering—its Coverguard set of T-8s. The lamps are specially coated with a hardening material so that if they fall out of a fixture for whatever reason, assembly lines don't have to be stopped to clean machinery or remove glass fragments. This product has sparked a lot of interest in the food processing industry. Motor Decisions Matter

Elsewhere on the floor, representatives from Baldor Motors were sporting their "Motor Decisions Matter" buttons and promoting the value of their latest line of energy-efficient motors.

The campaign, which was begun last June by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE)—a conglomeration of motor industry manufacturers and service centers, trade associations, electric utilities and government agencies—is promoting the values of energy-efficient motors. A past problem was that manufacturers all had their own definitions as to what constitutes energy efficiency. But with this campaign, the various parties reached consensus with NEMA to implement an industry wide standard.

According to Baldor's Charlie Hubbard, their line of NEMA Premium motors are not cheap—about 20% more than a standard offering—but are 96% efficient, meaning a very short payback once electricity bills and motor life are factored in. "With the right application they pay for themselves," he says.

According to CEE, energy represents more than 97% of total motor operating costs. In large industrial plants, motor energy costs can exceed $1 million annually. In fact, motor electricity consumption can approach 90% of the total electric bill of the pulp, paper and textiles industries. The U.S. Dept. of Energy says greater attention to motor system management can reduce energy costs by as much as 18%.

The challenge, of course is getting the word out. According to DOE, only 11% of motor customers have written specifications for motor purchases and only two-thirds of those customers included efficiency in their specifications.

But as noted in this space last August by CSE editorial advisor Ken Lovorn, improved motor efficiency is just a starting point—albeit a good one—as focusing on improving the efficiency of the device the motor powers, and the system as a whole, can lead to even greater energy savings.

Why T5-HOs in your plant?

Instant on

More uniform lighting

Longer life span

Less watts

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