by Jason Baright
In recent years, continued advancements in LED technology have brought forth tremendous innovation to facility solutions for wet, harsh, and unique industrial lighting. Much of this innovation stems from the ability to create new form factors when utilizing LED technology. LED fixtures are being developed in a variety of unique profiles and housings never before possible with traditional lighting sources.
In the past, achieving significant light output generally required large, bulky fixtures limiting innovation. Manufacturers are now able to design fixtures from the ground up, specific to the needs of an application as opposed to manipulating a pre-existing design. As a result, today’s market has more niche and application specific lighting choices than ever and finding the right product for your environment can be an elaborate but incredibly beneficial endeavor.
There are several important factors to examine when selecting the appropriate LED lighting fixture for your wet and/or harsh industrial environment. These can vary in importance depending on the specific application, but common considerations to examine and understand follow.
The first is IP rating. IP or “Ingress Protection” ratings are used to define a light fixture’s level of sealing effectiveness against intrusion from foreign bodies, specifically dirt and moisture. In most industrial fixtures this rating ranges from IP65 to IP69 — with the higher the number indicating a higher level of ingress protection. As mentioned, new housing designs utilizing LED technology have led to more fixtures with higher IP capability. In most industrial settings you simply can’t have a fixture with a rating too high.
Chemical resistance is another important and often overlooked factor to consider, especially in wet and hose down applications where chemicals are almost always present. Polycarbonate, due to its workability, cost, and general durability, is one of the most widely used materials for lenses. Although durable in many instances polycarbonate can be susceptible to stress cracking, crazing, and color change over time if certain chemicals (especially acid based) are present. If exposure to chemicals may be a factor, be sure to check compatibility with the manufacturer.
Other separating factors of industrial LED fixtures are lifetime ratings and maintenance considerations. LED lifetime is generally a result of two constituents: quality of construction (heat dissipation) and quality of components. The ability to properly and efficiently remove the heat generated from individual LEDs will significantly increase the overall lifetime of the fixture. High quality fixtures that do just that are now typically rated up to 100,000 hours. Extended lifetimes result in less maintenance and greater payback over time. Other potential maintenance and installation cost reduction features to be on the lookout for include quick-connect cabling and the ability to daisy chain fixtures when making extended runs.
With the potential for impactful energy savings and the development of fixtures suited for specific applications there has never been a better time to consider LED lighting in industrial environments.
Baright co-founded G&G LED in 2010 to fill industrial lighting needs for high-quality linear LED products, especially those suitable for wet locations and harsh environments. Since its introduction, the Albany, NY-based company has developed a reputation for innovation and outstanding customer service within the car wash industry and is rapidly gaining traction in the automotive, food/restaurant, transportation, industrial, and agriculture fields.