Conrail is a terminal and switching service provider that operates in New Jersey, Detroit, and Philadelphia. They aim to provide high quality rail service that is safe, reliable, and fast. To help them achieve these goals, Stouch Lighting recently completed an LED retrofit for Conrail that had great results. Conrail had two primary goals: to improve the illumination under an overpass, and to reduce maintenance costs associated with high bay lighting. Let’s discuss how LED lighting technology can address these two concerns.
Why use industrial LED high bay lights for high abuse environments?
On the project in question, industrial lighting was used to illuminate a railway that went under a bridge. This is what is known as a “high-abuse” environment because of the vibration and corrosion that is associated with bridges and overpasses. Previously, Conrail had metal halide (MH) lighting, but LED high bay lights were a better fit for many reasons. Stouch Lighting replaced and installed 21 MH fixtures with IP66 rated, tempered glass, and NEMA 4X enclosures. How did these features improve the lighting situation for Conrail?
- “IP” stands for “Ingress Protection," and refers to a lighting enclosure’s ability to protect against particles and water. IP66 is the highest particle protection rating, and one of the highest water protection ratings available. An IP66 rating is equivalent to a NEMA 4X rating (see below). It’s a great choice for outdoor industrial lighting applications.
- Tempered glass is more robust than annealed glass, and for this reason it is a good choice for lighting applications where contact can occur (ie, debris, flying rocks, etc).
- NEMA stands for National Electrical Manufacturers Association, and one of their roles is to specify how particular lighting enclosures perform. According to the NEMA website, 4X enclosures like the ones we used for Conrail are “made of stainless steel, aluminum, fiberglass, or polycarbonate. NEMA 4X enclosures are used in harsh environments where corrosive materials and caustic cleaners are used.” This level of protection is important for applications such as bridges because of the elements the lamps will be exposed to.
High bay lights are a common choice for large areas that need to be adequately illuminated, such as warehouses, department stores, and yes - underneath bridges! High bay lighting fixtures typically hang from the ceiling via hooks, chains or pendants, or they may be fixed to the ceiling directly (similar to troffer lights). Visit our High Bay Lighting Product Application page to learn more.
Industrial LED lighting vs Metal Halide High Bay Lights
Metal halide lamps are common in sporting and warehouse or industrial uses (as well as any setting where large, high spaces need to be illuminated). Benefits of MH lights include decent color rendering and comparatively adequate foot-candle levels (as opposed to other types of conventional bulbs). Some of their major drawbacks, however, are that they take a long time to warm up (sometimes up to 30 minutes) and they are expensive to maintain. Their failure characteristics include flickering on and off, and much of the energy they produce is wasted as heat. Read more about LED versus Metal Halide Lights.
What were the results of using LED high bay lights on the overpass?
After completing an LED retrofit, Conrail had some impressive results, including a huge reduction in energy use. Let’s take a look:
- More than $3,000 saved each year in annual maintenance costs
- 68% reduction in energy usage, which means energy savings of $7,635 each billing cycle
- Greenhouse gas emission reduction of more than 184,000 lbs
- Eligible for more than $2,000 in rebates
Why LED technology for industrial lighting applications?
LED lighting technology is superior to conventional lighting solutions in three important ways: decreased maintenance costs, higher quality lighting, and reduced energy consumption. This can have important effects for industrial and commercial lighting applications, where dozens (or even hundreds!) of bulbs are utilized.
- Reduced maintenance costs with LED lighting solutions. Did you know that LED lights last four to forty times longer than conventional technologies? What this means is that organizations do not need to spend as much money on parts and labor to replace bulbs burning out. This also means that hard-to-reach and hard-to-maintain environments (such as overpasses) become more manageable because fewer resources are required less often to maintain the same foot-candle effect.
- Improved lighting quality. Many types of conventional bulbs fall short of LED technology in parameters such as color rendering index (CRI), foot-candles, and more. LED high bay lights will have a better light distribution, with more consistent lighting throughout.
- Reduced energy consumption with LED lighting fixtures. LED lighting uses a different technology (electricity rather than fuels and gases) than most other lights, and this makes it much more efficient. Another quality that decreases required energy is that LEDs are directional, which means that they can output light towards a desired 180° or less, as opposed to emitting light in 360° with much of that being wasted as heat or non-useful light.
Where can you learn more about high bay lighting or industrial LED lighting applications?
Please visit our Lighting Education page to learn everything you need to know about various applications, and to become familiar with the benefits of LED lighting in particular. As always, you are welcome to contact us (use the form below) directly - we look forward to helping your organization achieve its lighting and energy goals!