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Tough Light Fixtures Meet the Challenge of Die-Casting Plant's Harsh Environment

Wed, 08/08/2001 - 11:12am
Die-casting is a century-old process of injecting molten metal into a steel die under high pressure. The metal - aluminum, zinc, magnesium or copper - is held under pressure until it solidifies into a net-shape metal part. Die casters produce precision and high-strength products at a rapid production rate, from automobile engine and transmission parts, to intricate components for computers and medical devices.
Able to withstand rigorous cleaning, new SealSafe luminaires provide better light for workers at Abeco Die-Casting in Lewisburg, TN.
In order to produce quality castings, die-casting facilities must be cleaned frequently with high-power water jets - a treacherous environment for most lighting fixtures.

The Abeco Die-Casting Plant in Lewisburg, TN, had lighting difficulties due to it extreme working conditions. Abeco managers had operated the plant with standard low-bay luminaires, but these units could not withstand the heavy water spray needed to clean the extreme dust and dirt without breach or ingress. Constant dirt, dust and contaminants collecting on the lamps and internal surfaces of the optical assembly began to degrade light output over time.

"Our lighting system was not conducive to our rigorous cleaning processes and we were progressively losing light output," says Wendall Pigg, Abeco's quality control manager and tooling coordinator. "We were faced with a decision to either add more fixtures or replace the current ones." Since adding fixtures would have increased energy usage, Abeco decided to replace its low-bay luminaires in a particularly dirty portion of the plant with SealSafe luminaires, manufactured by Day-Brite Lighting, Tupelo, MS.

According to the company, SealSafe luminaires reduce the effects of luminaire dirt depreciation (LDD) on the fixture. The reflector and lens in the SealSafe system are mechanically sealed to the enclosure to keep dirt, dust, liquid and moisture outside the optical assembly. The unit's IP (Ingress Protection) rating of 66 is significantly higher than the typical enclosed luminaire rating of 54, meaning the optical chamber is dust-tight and protected against powerful water jets. In addition, the SealSafe system, developed for metal-halide and high-pressure sodium lamps from 250w to 1000w, reduces the rate of air exchanged by respiration. This prevents the rapid suction of air from the outside. As a result, less dust means higher lighting performance and reduced luminaire dirt depreciation, which translates into lower operating costs.

In October 2000, SealSafe 400w metal-halide luminaires were installed in the dirtiest section of the Abeco plant. The installation involved removal of the plant's standard low bay fixtures. The new pendant-mounted SealSafe fixtures proved to be a simple and standard installation. "We were delighted with the quick and easy installation," says Pigg. "This meant less down-time for the plant."

By installing SealSafe fixtures, Abeco maintained its light levels and reduced energy and maintenance costs. Using SealSafe fixtures versus a typical enclosed luminaire resulted in a projected $10,000 savings in the first year, with less than a two-year payback for the installation. "Our employees are enjoying a brighter workplace," says Pigg, "and we are all proud of our successful cost-saving project."

Day-Brite Lighting, South Green Street, Tupelo, MS 38804; 662-842-7212.

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