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Acuity Distribution Center

Food Processing Customer

Basic American Foods boosts sanitation,
improves product quality with Holophane lighting

The lighting system in a food processing facility can help change employee work habits. At Basic American Foods, Inc., in Shelley, Idaho, Rick Lake, electrical project manager, believed that upgrading the lighting would help operators detect defects in the plant’s potato products and would boost employee morale. He also felt that higher light levels would help employees improve the plant’s sanitary conditions.

The 500,000-square-foot facility is a dehydrated potato processing plant producing flakes, granules and sliced potatoes for the commercial and retail markets. The facility employs about 350.

“We wanted to create as comfortable an environment for our workers as possible,” confirmed Lake. “We also felt that increasing the light levels would improve the sanitation because operators could better see debris on the equipment and floor that they might have been missing before.”

The plant’s Granule Line and Upper Preparation areas were retrofitted with Vantage® Food Luminaires from Holophane with 400-watt metal halide lamps. Officials decided to standardize the lighting in the plant after Vantage fixtures were installed above the Slice Line several years earlier. The Vantage luminaires are designed specifically for the food industry and include a high temperature acrylic reflector/refractor optical assembly with a smooth, round ballast housing to eliminate contaminant collection.
Previously, the Granule Line and Upper Preparation areas were lighted with a four-foot fluorescent system, which tended to create a dark, drab environment that made product defects difficult to detect. Illumination levels with the fluorescent system averaged 20 footcandles.

One of the challenges in retrofitting the lighting was working around the processing equipment layout and the overhead lines. Ceilings in the area are tongue and groove concrete plank painted white.

The Vantage units are installed at 10 to 16 feet and spaced 16 to 20 feet—depending upon the equipment location. Because of pipes on the ceiling and other obstacles, the Vantage luminaires are supplemented with Holophane Parkpak® luminaires with 175-watt metal halide lamps.

“We specified the metal halide lamps because the white light provides better color rendition,” said Lake. “Operators are constantly looking at the potato products as they transition through the various stages of processing. The white light helps them better identify any defects.”

The Parkpak luminaires feature an acrylic refractor and gaskets that prevent contaminants from entering the fixtures. The units are installed at nine to 12 feet and spaced 10 to 12 feet. Illumination levels throughout the area are 50 to 60 footcandles.
According to Lake, both the Parkpak and Vantage luminaires are able to withstand the daily high-pressure washdowns and the bimonthly cleanings with chemicals that are part of the plant’s sanitation program. Employees are assigned to specific areas and are responsible for keeping those areas clean.

“Since the retrofit, we have seen a significant improvement in the sanitation. Even the third party auditors that inspect the plant have commented on the difference. Because the area is brighter, it looks better over overall,” Lake said.

The Vantage and Parkpak luminaires are continuously illuminated. For this reason, the units will be group relamped to prevent any loss of efficiency. The fixtures will likely be maintained during the two-week shut down the plant has each summer.
“Feedback concerning the lighting system has been very positive,” Lake said. “Plant officials agree that the system has been an excellent investment.”


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