Bright idea for industrial lighting

When it comes to specifying the lighting systems for commercial buildings, flexibility and speed of installation, reconfiguration and customisation is just as important as low running costs and energy efficiency.

One of the symptoms of the recession seems to be that, when a construction or refurbishment project does get the go ahead, installation needs to be carried out on a fast track basis, across the board. This is particularly the case with lighting and electrical services, an aspect of the build that has traditionally had to cope with last minute design changes, with costly rewiring expenditure often proving a headache.

However, a significant development in the commercial lighting world has been with the improvement and take-up of lighting trunking systems and, in particular, with the quality of components and connectors that combine to enhance the lighting runs that serve buildings such as retail warehouses, sheds and manufacturing plants, often turning the systems into multi-purpose commercial assets.

Forgetting energy usage and lighting performance for the moment, swift installation is always a priority with these types of industrial buildings, where commercial pressures on completion are high. For a newbuild, getting the operation up and running quickly is important for a number of obvious reasons but, furthermore, the nature of storage units or production lines means that changes in operation are common and, for refurbishment projects, the ability to alter lighting runs to match the task in hand is also important. 

Flexibility and a means of reconfiguration, without the need for costly, time consuming rewiring is important, therefore, and is a priority demand from lighting specifiers. Ridi has certainly concentrated a great deal of development in answering the call for an adaptable industrial solution and, in collaboration with the connectors manufacturer, Wago, has produced the new LINIA trunking system that incorporates an innovative robust push/clip-in connection and embedded wiring system.


Toolless assembly

Key to minimising delays and achieving a successful trunking installation is the simple and reliable connection of all gear trays, attachments and sensor components.  With the latest trunking systems, toolless assembly, using a quick twist-lock mechanism, drastically reduces installation time.

This toolless benefit applies to all accessories, with fixing clips for tube, wire or chain suspension devices able to be connected anywhere along the trunking run. Combined with an innovative embedded wiring mat, which is located at the top of the trunking, this enables fast and accurate electrical termination. The system is also securely earthed throughout.

Another major design benefit of modern trunking systems is their adaptability when it comes to energy saving configurations. Whereas, in the past, flexibility was limited to, perhaps, switching between lampways, today’s trunking allows for the addition of low voltage communication lines for additional features such as dimming and lighting controls, as well as emergency lighting circuits for either LED or integral lamp conversions. Phased switch lines are catered for with simple internal slider switches and sensors can be positioned anywhere along the trunking for optimum positioning, offering the potential for sizeable energy savings on big production areas.  Critically, the system allows foolproof wiring for dimming systems, the addition of which so often creates problems. Ultimately, these systems are simple to commission, especially where DALI control is used.

Versatile trunking in practice

These savings are well illustrated at the landmark Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen, Germany, founded in 1915, and subject to a recent refurbishment to accommodate the all new C-Class production line. Here a significant lighting overhaul was cited as central to the company’s sustainability targets. Along with simplified planning at the re-fit outset and a demand for much reduced material and installation requirements, as well as lower maintenance costs, Mercedes required a lighting concept that incorporated an intelligent means of controlling energy usage – needs that can all be met with the use of an adaptable continuous lighting system. 

This was a sizeable refurbishment project, requiring the installation of over 700 luminaires, taking in the main production line and also extending use of the lighting system to specialist test sections and administration areas. Energy savings ranged from 40 to 48% across each section, with trials of plug-in light and occupancy sensors delivering a 50kg reduction in CO2 per luminaire, per year. 

However, in addition to these impressive energy savings, also crucial to the project was the overall efficiency offered by the luminaire attachments. The development of a high efficiency anodized MIRO aluminium reflector, designed for high intensity industrial applications in combination with T8 lamps, allowed Mercedes to use the lighting runs for a dual purpose – as well as illumination, the lighting could also double up as a quality control tool, with the uniform reflection of the luminaires picking out any blemishes or irregularities on the production line. 

Alongside this additional benefit, the installation of specially developed occupancy micro-sensors – integrated easily within the Dali controlled gear trays – allowed movement related dimming, with lights extinguishing slowly at non-active sections along the production line, without the need for specialist equipment or additional wiring. The DALI control gear backbone to the system enhanced this efficiency feature with optimised hot start, to prolong lamp life, soft start and unobtrusive dimming.

Importantly for the economical refit of the plant, the through wiring component of the LINIA trunking allowed the lighting designer to position the sensor controlled gear modules at precise locations along the production line, allowing absolute bespoke system design but without the need for a specialist contractor onsite at installation stage. 


Bespoke system

Completing the versatility of the LINIA trunking, junctions can be used to create angled runs and patterns, with an adjustable angle between luminaires of between 60? and 300?. Coupled with a wide range of reflectors, louvres and panels, the new continuous lighting system can be quickly adapted to changing requirements with minimal installer input and much reduced operational disruption.

In terms of regulation and safety, naturally, different activities place a variety of demands on a luminaire. LINIA’s trunking is compliant with either IP20 or IP54 protection ratings.

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