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Plants Avondale Mills
 

Lighting eliminates hazards,
facilitates production at Avondale Mills


Safety is always a concern in a textile mill because of potential fire hazards. When Avondale Mills, based in Graniteville, South Carolina, constructed the new 217,000-square foot addition at its Horse Creek plant, the facility installed enclosed luminaires to help eliminate any hazards associated with the lighting system.

Avondale Mills is one of the largest manufacturers of denim in the United States. The textile mill, which processes raw cotton into denim cloth, operates nine plants in Graniteville with more than 1.5 million square feet of production space.

“At some of our other plants, we had encountered problems with lint packing itself into the ballasts of the existing fluorescent luminaires,” said Paul Locklair, corporate electrical engineer, Avondale Mills, Inc. “The last thing we need in a cotton mill is to create a spark.”

Prismalume® Enclosed luminaires from Holophane with 400-watt metal halide lamps were installed throughout the addition. The units’ enclosed optics are suited to the mill because of its environment. Because the glass is an inert material, the plant has experienced no problems with dirty luminaires due to static electricity.

One of the challenges in lighting the facility was placing the luminaires where they would minimize shadows. The plant has a large amount of ductwork on the ceiling, which had the potential to create shadows on the production equipment.

“Employees work with individual yarns that must go through the looms,” said Locklair. “Operators must be able to see if there are any broken ends or if the ends are not tracking correctly through the looms. The dark color cloth makes it particularly hard to detect imperfections.”

The new addition is designed for 100 footcandles. The Prismalume Enclosed luminaires are mounted 19 feet above the finished floor and provide 20 percent uplight to illuminate the open truss ceiling. Each fixture is stem mounted since the roof is sloped and the ceiling height varies. Software from Holophane was used to help design the system.

Avondale Mills installed Enduralume® luminaires from Holophane with 400-watt metal halide lamps and enclosed optics at its 280,000-square-foot Townsend plant, which is also located in Graniteville. The luminaires were used to retrofit the existing eight-foot fluorescent system, which created a problem because lint was packing in the fixture ballasts. Visibility was also substandard.

“To provide employees with the light levels required, the fluorescent luminaires had been placed very close to the machines, which created a dark, cavernous ceiling.” Locklair said.

The Enduralume luminaires are stem mounted from 17 to 19 feet above the finished floor. The concrete slab ceiling in much of the facility is 20 to 30 feet high. High angle light from the fixtures illuminates the ceiling, eliminating the feeling of a dark, cavernous environment.

Since the lighting system had to be installed around existing ductwork and machinery, luminaire spacing varies from 19’ x 19’ to 20’ x20’. In some areas, it was difficult to get the light through to the alleyways because of machine locations and the rolls of cotton above the machines. Lighting fixtures in the spinning room are installed in a crisscross pattern since the alleyways are so narrow.

High bay Prismpack® V luminaires from Holophane with 400-watt metal halide lamps were installed in the Townsend facility’s weave room, where the ceiling height ranges from 25 to 30 feet. The self-cleaning action of the luminaires’ borosilicate glass reflector creates a steady stream of air that carries lint and other dirt particles out of the top of the luminaire.

Illumination levels in the main part of the Townsend facility are 75 footcandles maintained, and 90 footcandles in the weave room.

“The high intensity discharge (HID) system has updated the plant’s appearance and made it seem much brighter,” said Locklair. “Employee morale has improved and we have seen a slight increase in production because the aesthetics are better. It’s hard to place a dollar value on how much it is worth for employees to have a desirable work environment.”

Luminaire efficiency and the level of energy Avondale Mills uses at all of its plants have allowed the company to receive a very competitive rate for electricity. Avondale Mills operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, which means the Holophane fixtures are constantly illuminated. The luminaires are cleaned during the plant’s annual shut down and are scheduled for relamping every two years.



 

 
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