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C&R's LED Conversion an 'Obvious Right Decision'
Groveport Business Delighted with Solutions from LEDtronics

C&R in Groveport is "now all LED with zero regrets, zero compromises, zero complaints," says the project manager. (Photo courtesy C&R)

As a thriving specialty stainless steel welding fabrication business of nearly half a century, C&R Inc. knows that with constant use of heavy-duty equipment comes heavy-duty electricity bills. What the Groveport company didn't know was that half of its energy usage wasn't from the arsenal of electric welders, shears, press brakes and other metal fabrication power equipment, but lighting.

This revelation surfaced a couple of years ago when the company looked to replace the 20-year-old plant's original lighting system. Tired of the cost and maintenance of replacing burnt-out and failing bulbs and ballasts, C&R sought answers and a bid from a local electrical supplier. The vendor recommended replacing all 91 units of 400-watt Pulse Start Metal Halide (PSMH) fixtures with fluorescents. The proposal was met with a cool reception.

"On review, we did not believe the exposed bulb fluorescent fixtures they proposed were appropriate for our shop environment," said Don Saunders, C&R project manager. "Not only would the project require extensive wiring changes due to different fixture positioning, but we'd still have the issue of replacing degrading bulbs and ballasts."

The vendor didn't win the lighting contract, but it did turn on a light bulb over C&R's head. Information presented in the proposal not only educated the company on savings incentive programs offered through its electric utility, AEP Ohio, but also provided C&R with an analysis of energy usage.

"Although we are a custom metal fabrication shop with a large array of welders and heavy fabrication equipment used to cut and form a variety of metals, we were astounded to discover that lighting comprised half our electrical energy usage," Saunders said.

Equipped with this new-found knowledge, C&R sought a lighting solution that tapped multiple avenues of savings in addition to improving illumination for its employees at the 55,000-square-foot plant. Familiar with the benefits of LED lighting from a past purchase, C&R's eyes turned toward that technology. Saunders and team were delighted to learn that LEDs had advanced considerably – and gone down in price – in the 20 years since buying their first bulbs from Torrance, Calif.-based LEDtronics.

"Since we had a prior relationship with LEDtronics as a supplier of small indicator lamps, we reviewed their offerings," Saunders said. "We quickly saw that LEDs had matured to be the most desirable solution."

Working with Regional Sales Solutions in Dayton, C&R was presented with multiple options and a luminaire schedule, a photometric, graphical and descriptive tool that provides detailed information about luminaires, the industry term for lighting fixtures, used in a tailored lighting model. The schedule enabled C&R to compare shop floor lumen levels of different fixture scenarios.

"This was useful to not only understanding the brightness of the individual fixtures, but also the dispersion between the fixtures to avoid shadows, especially around some of our larger equipment," Saunders said. "We ultimately chose a solution to replace our existing fixtures one for one since this would require minimal electrical modifications, allowing us to complete the install in-house.

The solution more than doubled C&R's shop floor lumens and increased fixture dispersion, greatly reducing shadows.
Net-net, C&R wanted to retrofit the building with as many LEDs as made sense, according to Lynn Adams, owner of Regional Sales Solutions, LEDtronics' supplier in Ohio and parts of Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

"First, in 2016, they replaced 400-watt metal halide (MH) high bay lights with our LED high lumen, low profile high bays," she said. "They wanted the shop to be much brighter and no longer deal with the drawbacks of MH lights, which take a long time to warm up, waste energy, are expensive to maintain, and flicker when they start failing.

"Then in 2017 they did their office and hallway lights, converting from fluorescent tube fixtures to our thin ceiling light panels. In 2018 they ordered even more, and they've been happy with the better lighting and energy savings ever since."
The customer can't agree more. In Saunders' words, "We are now all LED with zero regrets, zero compromises, zero complaints."

"Our complete conversion to LED started with replacing shop lights and exterior lighting, and culminated with replacing all office fluorescents with ultra-thin, edge-lit LED panels," he said. "These changes have made a huge difference in our shop, providing not only more light, but a better-quality light – more comparable to daylight. This is especially welcomed in the winter months when all the shop doors are closed, eliminating any natural light enhancement."

Another plus is the silence enjoyed by the workers. Gone is the constant buzz inherent to PSMH lighting.
C&R's bottom line also has seen a positive difference. Besides the elimination of maintenance costs, energy savings is more than half over the 400W PSMH and ballast, according to the company. Reduced energy usage, alone, calculates to a three-year payback, sweetened by AEP Ohio's energy efficiency program award. Additional savings are achieved with C&R's lighting system now being maintenance-free.

"If the overall costs considering electrical usage, maintenance and opportunities for environment improvements are considered, the answer is apparent," Saunders said. "This is an obvious right decision."

By David Dickstein

Originally posted in the Columbus Local News, June 21, 2019

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