Holophane Leader in Lighting Solutions
Acuity Distribution Center

Food Processing US Tobacco

U.S. Tobacco improves morale,
promotes cleanliness with Vantage luminaires

U.S. Tobacco Manufacturing Limited Partnership (U.S. Tobacco) was striving to boost employee morale and improve conditions when management at the Nashville, Tennessee, facility made the decision to retrofit the lighting. Previously, the plant was illuminated with standard, high bay industrial-type luminaires with acrylic and aluminum reflectors. The fixtures, which utilized high-pressure sodium lamps, cast a yellowish light that made the atmosphere appear dark and gloomy. The luminaires also attracted dirt and were difficult to clean and maintain.

“Cleanliness is particularly important in this plant,” commented Lamar Walters, plant electrical engineer, U.S. Tobacco. “We were also interested in increasing visibility for our employees because they must be able to see to process, inspect and ship product. Studies show that a bright, well-lighted atmosphere contributes to improved employee morale.”

During the project, nearly 825,000 square feet (out of the plant’s 950,000 square feet) of space was retrofitted, with luminaires installed in processing, packaging, injection molding, shipping and receiving and warehousing areas. The new lighting system is Holophane Vantage® Food Luminaires with 400-watt metal halide lamps. The Vantage fixtures include a high temperature acrylic reflector/refractor optical assembly with a smooth, round ballast housing to eliminate contaminant collection.

“Changing from high pressure sodium to metal halide lamps provides the perception of higher light levels. The Vantage units also supply an element of uplight that illuminates the metal deck ceiling, resulting in an overall brighter environment,” Walters said.

Prior to system selection, Walters set up a demonstration in the engineering office to provide department managers the opportunity to examine the Vantage units firsthand and provide feedback. Following the demonstration, 510 Vantage luminaires were installed throughout the plant, stem mounted at 20 feet on the 24-foot ceiling. Fixture spacing is 18 feet on center. Holophane’s Computer Aided Lighting Analysis (CALA) software was used during the design process to determine light levels and fixture placement.

According to Walters, one of the challenges maintenance personnel faced was where to place the fixtures around existing equipment. The plant includes several mezzanines, conveyors and tall product equipment and HVAC ducts that required the layout to be changed as the project progressed. Maintenance also had to conduct the retrofit while the plant was still in production. Fixtures were installed during the third shift, with all work and clean up completed by the end of the shift. The project required about nine months from start to finish.

Since the retrofit was completed, illumination levels have climbed to a minimum of 50 footcandles and a maximum of 70 footcandles. Department managers have commented about the change.

“Employees like the way the plant looks. The facility is much cleaner and brighter, which has affected employee morale. The Vantage fixtures are also easier for plant personnel to maintain,” Walters said.

Luminaires are group relamped by department every 18 months. The fixtures are wiped down with a damp cloth on a monthly basis.

The U.S. Tobacco facility operates one production shift, with the second shift devoted to maintenance. The Vantage luminaires are turned on and off by a manual switch located in each department.


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