Industrial-Commercial Applications

Lighting Options by Space or Area

Warehouse and Storage Area Lighting

 
Good lighting is an important requirement for the activities of a warehouse or inventory & distribution facility, whether standalone, or part of an industrial complex. Putting items into inventory, accounting for them, retrieving and consolidating them for shipping are found in business operations of every type. The traditional concept of a warehouse has changed radically in recent years.  Automated inventory control, bar coding, high rise racking, robotic forklifts, high speed conveyer systems, are just some of the new techniques being used to increase the throughput of these facilities.
 
Some typical areas within a warehouse building:
  • Open floor storage of large goods (rackless)
  • High rise racks (decks up to 100 feet high)
  • Fixed racks.
    • Rack spaces 3-12 feet wide, 8-30 feet high
    • Items loose, binned, or packaged
    • Rack and item labels of different sizes and legibility
  • Mobile racks on wheels or rails create different aisle configurations
  • Paperwork stands and computer terminals within the storage aisles
  • Stockrooms
  • Cold storage areas
  • HazMat storage areas
  • Emergency zones
  • Shipping & receiving
  • Loading docks
  • Equipment maintenance areas
 
Design Tips
  • The structural framework of industrial buildings, especially warehouses, forms interior spaces called “bays”. Selection of general lighting luminaires is based on the height of the bay and should provide more or less uniform illumination of the area :
  • Low-bay – bottom of luminaire is <18 ft. off the floor
  • Medium-bay – bottom of luminaire is 18-25 ft. off the floor
  • High-bay – bottom of luminaire is >25 ft. off the floor
  • The majority of tasks occur in the vertical plane
    • Provide 20-30 foot candles of uniform illumination on the vertical surface of goods stored on the racks
  • Horizontal illumination is a secondary concern but is important for navigation in the aisles and reading of pick tickets by forklift operators
  • Reflected glare affects readability and scanning accuracy.
    • Avoid clear plastic tape and wraps on packaged goods.
    • Light colored packaging and dark contrasting text labels provide better contrast and enhance readability
  • Glare from light sources should be avoided
    • Light sources, especially HID, should be shielded to avoid disability glare when looking up to tops of racks
    • Indirect luminaires combined with reflective ceilings produce good visual comfort especially when display screens are in use (workstations, handheld terminals, and on forklifts)
  • Luminaire considerations:
    • Aisles can be illuminated with classic high-bay HID luminaires (15 feet and above) Must be spaced close enough to eliminate dark areas between luminaires
    • Spacing can be increased when using low-bay luminaires or aisle-lighting luminaires with if an asymmetric light distribution pattern
    • Highly efficient T8 and T5 HO fluorescent luminaires can be used at mounting heights up to 30 feet. Typically installed in continuous rows along an aisle or individually mounted. (reflector, lensed, or open designs)
  • Warehouse spaces that are accessed intermittently provide opportunities to save energy. Motion sensors and control devices interface with HID and fluorescent multilevel ballasts to lower light levels when spaces are unoccupied by personnel or equipment.