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.
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.
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."
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
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.
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'
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
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."
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."
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.
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