Digitalization Lights Up Manufacturing

Digitalization Lights Up Manufacturing

This piece was originally published in the April 2018 issue of electroindustry.

Caption: Before (right) and after photos of a Telsmith manufacturing facility demonstrate the impact of an LED system retrofit. Photo courtesy of Eaton

Joe Bokelman, Marketing Manager, Eaton

Because of advancements in light-emitting diodes (LEDs), luminaires can be integrated with smart sensors to capture real-time data related to energy usage, occupancy status, building usage, and equipment tracking. Connected lighting adds to the growing list of everyday products with added networking and sensing features, known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

This prompted Telsmith Inc., a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of equipment for the global mining industry, to improve operating efficiency at its corporate headquarters. Founded more than 100 years ago, the company has a history of innovation.

Using an energy audit from an energy services company, Telsmith decided to optimize its energy costs with an upgrade to an advanced LED-connected lighting system. Beyond the initial energy-efficiency goal, Telsmith also evaluated the performance, color, and quality of LEDs. It replaced outdated high-pressure sodium and fluorescent fixtures.

The lighting system that Telsmith chose includes a network of wireless integrated sensors, which not only meet code for occupancy and time schedules but also track energy usage and overall performance. The new system was installed throughout the headquarters, including the manufacturing plant, offices, conference rooms, and parking lot.

Completed in January 2018, the LED system retrofit resulted in:

  • Utility bill savings on lighting of more than 50 percent the first month, which is a 30 percent overall monthly energy reduction/savings
  • Estimated yearly lighting maintenance savings of $18,000
  • Brighter, more uniform illumination in the office areas
  • Customized light levels in private and open offices
  • Higher vertical lighting along the walls in manufacturing and warehouse areas
  • Energy monitoring of the lighting fixtures with facilitywide dashboards
  • Reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 874 metric tons

“The ability to monitor the energy usage, evaluate, and tune the lighting to save on energy costs has been simple and successful,” said Nick Lollino, manufacturing engineer at Telsmith. “Using ongoing adjustments, such as dimming the new parking lot fixtures from 100 percent brightness to 50 percent, is saving additional energy costs while improving safety for our employees and buildings.”

Telsmith and its parent company are examining the results of the new lighting and controls system to use as a template for other facilities. Next, the company is evaluating upgrading its HVAC system with IoT capabilities and integrating the systems together for increased performance.

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