the effects of led industrial lighting on manufacturing productivity

The original Industrial Revolution ushered in improvements in manufacturing productivity and product quality that created benefits for companies, their employees, and  consumers of the companies’ products. LED industrial lighting is at the cusp of a new revolution that is adding even greater benefits to the manufacturing industries while improving product quality and reducing prices for consumers.

Human resources specialists who study working environments have long known that manufacturing employees are more productive when their work environments are well-lit. Just as dim lighting can lead to seasonal affective disorder among people in northern climates that see limited amounts of sunlight during winter months, bad lighting in manufacturing plants can lead to poor employee performance and production problems. Natural sunlight provides the best lighting, and LED industrial lighting is the best alternative to create an environment that is closest to natural light. LED specifications typically include a light source’s color temperature, which is a measure of the relative warmth or coolness of the source as compared to natural light. LED industrial lighting that is in a range around 5000 K closely replicates natural light.

Objective studies have shown that LED industrial lighting also improves employee alertness and their general sense of well-being. LED lighting with certain spectral characteristics will reduce melatonin production that can cause sleepiness among the staff at a manufacturing facility. When employees are more alert, a manufacturing facility’s overall productivity level will measurably increase, employees will make fewer mistakes and suffer fewer injuries, and the quality of products from a production line will be markedly improved.

LED industrial lighting will also reduce a manufacturing plant’s overhead costs with reduced operating and maintenance expenses. A manufacturing facility with LED lighting will see an electrical utility cost reduction, on average, of more than 50% due to the greater efficiency of LED’s over traditional metal halide or high pressure sodium industrial lighting. Moreover, LED bulbs will continue to operate at near-full capacity for more than 50,000 continuous hours, and in some cases for more than 100,000 hours. This reduces maintenance and repair costs over the lifespan of an LED industrial lighting system. A facility manager can redirect those cost savings to further improvements in manufacturing productivity and employee safety.

These manufacturing productivity improvement projections are more than just speculation. For example, when a post office in Nevada switched to LED industrial lighting, its employees were better able to sort mail, leading to a 6% productivity improvement and a net profit gain of more than $400,000. A Wisconsin tool and die company experienced productivity improvements of more than 11% in the first year after it spent $3,000 to retrofit its manufacturing facilities with LED industrial lighting. The company attributed the gain to the quicker throughput by its draftsmen, which was made possible by better illumination of their workstations with LED industrial lighting. A broader 2010 study of industrial lighting concluded that manufacturing facilities will experience productivity gains of more than 8% with LED industrial lighting as a result of employees’ performance improvements in visual tasks, their ability to react more quickly in well-lit work areas, and reductions in their fatigue levels and general feelings of alertness, all catalyzed by better lighting.

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