Consider ambient temperature in lighting decisions

Select the correct fixture for the appropriate environment


While facilities will differ in their lighting requirements, designers should consider several elements when planning a lighting retrofit. One such conideration is ambient temperature.


Heat is a tremendous challenge in many manufacturing facilities and not only degrades the light but can negatively impact the fixtures’ electronic components. Designers should always specify luminaires with a third party listing agency designation, such as Underwriters Laboratory, to insure that it is suitable for the ambient temperature that it will be subjected to.


UL classifications for light fixtures are typically 25ºC (77ºF), 40ºC (104ºF), 55ºC (131ºF) and 65ºC (149ºF). Light fixtures should always have a higher rating than the ambient temperatures at the location that the lighting fixture is mounted.  Ambient temperatures at mounting heights often substantially exceed those at floor level.


If for example, the ambient temperature is 35ºC in the area where fixtures will be installed, the luminaires should have 40ºC rating. An installation with a 59ºC ambient temperature should install 65ºC rated fixtures.


A 65ºC ambient rating is the highest fixture rating available. If the ambient temperature exceeds 65ºC, fixture ballasts should be remotely mounted in an area with a lower ambient temperature.


Foundries are an excellent example of an application that will require 55ºC or 65ºC UL rated luminaires. A quality high intensity discharge (HID) system with core and coil ballasts can operate efficiently at these higher temperatures when designed with adequate measures to dissipate heat.  Most electronic HID ballasts are also able to tackle 55ºC environments provided the fixtures include adequate heat sinks and conductivity to ensure the fixture keeps the internal temperatures (“case temperatures”) of the ballast below their maximum operating limit as indicated by the ballast manufacturer.


The electronic ballasts in fluorescent systems have similar construction but T5 and T8 lamps are not designed to operate in extremely hot or cold environments. Lumen output is usually substantially diminished within industrial environments where elevated heat is of concern.


For example, a heavy equipment manufacturer wanted to boost light levels to 60 footcandles in an area of the plant that was previously lit with a combination of aged high pressure sodium fixtures, T12 fluorescent luminaries and mercury vapor units. The manufacturer considered a fluorescent system but opted for a high bay HID system with electronic ballast because fluorescent luminaires are highly sensitive to heat.


The HID system installed, which uses 315-watt ceramic metal halide lamps, has a UL/CUL 55ºC ambient listing and can withstand the facility’s excessive heat, which is even worse during the summer. The manufacturing facility also benefitted from the luminaires’ extended 5-year warranty.


Lighting fixtures are available that are marine and IP66 rated to protect against the harsh elements found in hazardous environments and facilities such as food processing plants where hose downs occur daily.




Tamar Williamson's full article, ‘Illuminatig the Path To Savings' is one of the topics in Plant Engineering’s Forecast issue, which will be published in mid-February. To receive the digital edition of Plant Engineering in time for the Forecast issue, which also will feature the 2011 Plant Engineering Salary Survey, click here:

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.