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Warehouses Kroger Distribution Center

Prismatic lighting facilitates product
movement at Kroger Distribution Center

The goal of any warehouse facility is to store and move product as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. At the 491,000-square-foot Kroger Company, Inc., Kentucky Distribution Center in Louisville, the stacks are 32 feet high and the aisles are 10 1/2 feet wide. Product is moved with rider-reach electric fork trucks.

In lighting the space, one of the primary concerns was to light the stacks uniformly from the top to the bottom.

"If we used standard reflectors, we were afraid we would end up with a scalloping effect, meaning ongoing bright and dark spots. The higher we went the more pronounced this effect would have become," explained Larry Slauenwhite, maintenance manager for the Kroger Company.

Slauenwhite had visited other warehouse facilities and was also concerned about the possibility of a dark, cavernous ceiling, which can happen in this type of application.

"In some facilities, reflectors were used to try to punch the light down. When you glanced up, it was like looking into the headlights of an oncoming car on a country road without any street illumination. The lights were blinding," Slauenwhite said.

Holophane prismatic glass fixtures had been used to retrofit a former Kroger warehouse facility, and the decision was made to install this type of luminaire in the new warehouse.

"Kroger was really sold on the Holophane fixtures," said Barry Hulet, P.E., Food Plant Engineering, Inc., Yakima, Washington, the firm that designed the lighting. "What we liked about the Holophane fixtures was the outstanding efficiency. There are more lumens per watt."

"We had access to a survey indicating operating costs and wattage used. By far, the Holophane fixtures are the most economical to operate. The payback period is less than 2 1/2 years," Slauenwhite said.

A total of 861 Prismalume¬ luminaires with 400 watt high pressure sodium lamps are installed in the dry grocery area. According to Mike Wagner, president of Wagner Electric, Inc., Louisville, the company that installed the fixtures, one of the unique aspects of the job was that the lighting fixtures were hung before the concrete slab was laid.

"Due to the very tight tolerances required for the floor, the lighting had to be installed to provide illumination while the floor was being laid," Wagner explained. "This meant the Prismalume luminaries were exposed to all the dust and dirt associated with construction. When the job was completed, we were impressed with how little dirt accumulation there was on the glass lens."

The Prismalume units provide 20 percent uplight to illuminate the white metal roof-deck ceiling. Holophane's Computer Aided Lighting Analysis (CALA) software was used to determine fixture location and projected illumination levels. The Prismalume units are mounted at 37 feet, with spacing 21 feet on center.

Specifications called for 30 to 35 horizontal footcandles at three feet off the floor, and eight to ten vertical footcandles at three feet off the floor along the stacks.

According to Slauenwhite, these requirements are being met or exceeded. "The illumination is very uniform and goes all the way up the face of the product," he said. "This makes it easy for lift truck operators to read the labels."

Holophane Enduralume¬ luminaires with 400 watt metal halide lamps are installed in the fresh produce area. The metal halide is used instead of the high pressure sodium because of the better color balance, which aids in inspection. The 123 Enduralume fixtures, mounted at 37 feet and spaced 12 feet, have a plastic refractor enclosing the reflector, providing uniform, low brightness.

Prismalume is installed in the truck garage, with 24 units used in the 11,000-square-foot space. Mechanics prefer the white-type light because they work with so many color-coded wires and parts.

"Color rendition is especially important," Slauenwhite said. Fixtures throughout the facility are continuously illuminated 168 hours per week. They are controlled by a circuit breaker. To date, a regular maintenance program has been implemented, and the fixtures will be cleaned about every nine months.

"The Holophane lighting system is virtually maintenance-free," he said. "Not only is the illumination very pleasing and easy on the eye, but it's also quite functional."


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