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Food Processing BASF Corporation

BASF boosts light levels, decreases
maintenance with Holophane system

A preventative maintenance program was almost impossible for the original fluorescent lighting system installed at the BASF Corporation's Fibers Division Synthetic Filament Plant in Lowland, Tennessee. The shipping area in the plant, constructed in the mid-1960s, was lighted with 720 four-foot fluorescent fixtures, each with two lamps. Forty watt lamps were once used with the fixtures, although in recent years the plant had switched to more energy efficient lamps.

"Maintenance was still a monumental task, " said Ray Pankiewicz, BASF project engineer. "We not only had to contend with burnt out fixtures, but with ballast failures. It was a never-ending job. "

Besides facilitating maintenance, another goal in retrofitting the lighting was to boost energy efficiency. The new fixtures installed are Holophane PrismGlo luminaires with 400 watt high pressure sodium lamps. A total of 131 PrismGlo luminaires replaced the 720 fluorescent fixtures, with payback on the system expected at three years.

The decision to install the PrismGlo luminaires was based on prior successes with Holophane fixtures in other areas within the BASF facility.

"Glass refractors are more durable than any other lighting fixture we have tried," Pankiewicz said. "We had used an acrylic refractor on light fixtures in the past but experienced problems with premature aging. The acrylic would turn yellow or brown."

The lighting design was developed using Holophane's Computer Aided Lighting Analysis (CALA) software. When the system was first designed, 250 watt lamps were specified. Budget constraints, however, dictated that fewer fixtures be used to reduce initial costs. The lamps were changed to 400 watt, thereby decreasing the number of fixtures needed.

The PrismGlo luminaires are mounted in rows 40 feet apart, with spacing varying from a minimum of 25 feet to a maximum of 40 feet. Fixture placement was determined by the location of the aisles—as opposed to the matrix pattern used for the fluorescent lighting.

"This is a very active facility. Forklift drivers must be able to read the computer- generated labels on the paper cartons from their seats . This makes good vertical and horizontal illumination especially important, " Pankiewicz said.

Products in the 140,000 square-foot facility are stacked four to five feet high on skids. The skids are then piled three high, which means drivers may be reading product labels as high as 15 feet off the concrete floor.

The angled, metal ceiling in the warehouse is 20 feet, covered with solarized reflector backed insulation. When the BASF building was assembled, the pre-engineered components were installed with 50-foot widths, creating a series of bays separated by a single column. The building has seven bays, with the outside walls constructed of corrugated metal fastened to the columns. The interior walls are also covered with a reflectorized-type insulation paper.

The PrismGlo luminaires provide 40 percent uplight and 60 percent downward illumination, taking advantage of the reflective qualities of the insulation paper on both the ceiling and walls. Footcandle levels range from 15 to 20.

"The area is bright and the product cartons easy to read, " said Pankiewicz. "The combination of uplight provided by the PrismGlo fixtures and the placement of the luminaires above the aisles eliminates the dark spots we had with the fluorescent lighting. "

The PrismGlo luminaires are lighted 160 hours each week, controlled by a local switch. Fixture relamping and periodic cleaning will be performed as part of an ongoing preventive maintenance program.

The Lowland BASF plant produces textile fiber, with its two major product lines polyester and nylon.


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