Operations & Management
LED fixtures light the way to energy efficiency
January 18, 2013 by Special to Manufacturing AUTOMATION
A leading manufacturer of super premium, nutritious and natural pet foods, Diamond Pet Foods is a family-owned business with more than 40 years history of providing the highest-quality pet foods at an affordable price for dogs and cats of all ages. Thanks to its rigorous 151 Checks ingredient and product quality system, the brand has become the choice of top breeders, kennel owners and families worldwide.
Planning to construct a new manufacturing facility, the Missouri-based company had been so impressed with the work ethic of employees at its Lathrop, Calif. plant, Diamond chose neighboring Ripon, Calif. for the new site, just 30 miles away. The 300,000 square foot plant would be a Class II Div 2 facility as dictated by its raw materials, which arrive in powder form, are extruded into a pellet and then dried through an oven.
Aiming to minimize energy consumption and achieve more sustainable operations at the new facility, the company installed solar panels designed to provide roughly one-quarter of the electricity to power the building.
The manufacturing environment posed a number of lighting challenges. First, the company needed an ultra-energy- efficient system to reduce consumption and fully leverage the benefits of its solar system. Second, they required Class II Div 2 certified fixtures that would offer safety and reliability amid the high-vibration and dusty conditions. Ambient heat and humidity was also an issue, driving a need for lighting that would safely withstand up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity in the extrusion areas. With many hard-to-reach and low-clearance areas near process equipment, Diamond also needed dependable fixtures that offer longevity, low maintenance and ease of installation.
All things considered, LED lighting was the natural choice. Diamond consulted with Nelson & Sons Electrical, the company’s electrical service partner for more than 15 years and a specialist in lighting and electrical needs for the food processing industry, to help specify the best solution. Diamond began with a trial of 16 Dialight DuroSite High Bay LEDs in the receiving area, prior to the facility coming online.
Satisfied with what they saw, the company gave the green light to outfit the entire facility, including 304 2-foot and 4-foot LED Linear fixtures, 145 LED High Bays and 89 LED Area Lights, for a total of 538 LED fixtures.
The low profile of the LED fixtures enabled mounting in areas that would have been difficult with other bulky conventional lighting fixtures, and the company can expect to use at least 50 per cent less energy compared to other options.
Employees immediately recognized the difference in the crisp, white, glare-free light at the Ripon facility compared to other plants that do not yet use LED. In fact, the project at Ripon has been such a success, Diamond is considering an LED retrofit at its Lathrop plant just up the road.