Astro Shapes opened its doors as a family business in 1971 and produced its first extrusion on a 1,000-ton Lombard 5-inch press. Now with 400 employees and operating in affiliation with National Material L.P., Astro Shapes uses state-of-the-art equipment—including four presses—to manufacture intricately shaped, custom-finished aluminum extrusions used in such markets as transportation, building and construction, and electrical.
Its round-the-clock operations require the lights to always be on, but lamp failures and sporadic replacements of failed older metal halides created inconsistent lighting throughout the building, as well as an inefficient use of energy. Plus, its tall ceilings—some as high as 35 feet—made maintenance inconvenient as it required trained personnel and special equipment such as scaffolding and lifts to maneuver around the presses and other equipment.
Plant Manager Bill Cene, whose uncle started the Astro Shapes business, was motivated to replace the old lighting with more energy-efficient fixtures that would create a consistent look in the plant while reducing energy and maintenance needs.
“You always have to maintain the lights, and I was at that point in time where I had to relamp the facility,” he said. “I didn't want to spend money on metal halide high bays. I had different colored lights throughout the whole plant—I had white, I had yellow, and I had some in between as the lamps were going toward the end of their life.”
Senior Lighting Consultant Joe Stoner, with Lighting Services Inc., provided a detailed analysis and comparison of different manufacturers' LED light fixtures, including their wattage, efficacy and annual energy cost. One fixture came out on top: GE's Albeo LED light fixture, which has a superior efficiency of 137 lumens per watt. And since Astro Shapes extrudes components of the Albeo fixture, it was a “win-win” decision to proceed with the installation, Cene said.
“The Albeo fixture offers the lowest wattage, the best light level and the best ROI compared with other LED high bay fixtures,” Stoner said. “It has helped Astro Shapes achieve its primary goal of energy savings while improving the light quality in the facility.”
During the annual holiday shutdown in the winter of 2014, the legacy lighting was replaced with 606 of GE's Albeo ABV1 LED high bay light fixtures. Three lumen packages were used in the facility to best suit the ceiling heights, which range from 18 feet to 35 feet.
Results & Benefits
“The light levels averaged anywhere from 9 to 25 foot-candles (fc), and now we're at 45-plus fc throughout the whole plant. That's huge,” Cene said. “We're noticing that people are more enthusiastic because of the brighter environment. Before, it was fairly well lit, and now it's very well lit. The overall atmosphere is much improved.”
The new Albeo fixtures are expected to provide annual energy savings of more than 1.85 million kWh, which translates to more than $10,000 in monthly cost savings—or $122,000 each year—compared to the old lighting, Cene said. Additional savings are found through diminished maintenance needs, calculated at nearly $7,000 annually, due to the rated 100,000-hour life of the Albeo fixtures compared to a rated 20,000-hour life of metal halides.
The project received a rebate of about $94,000 and will have a payback period of less than two years, Stoner said.
“I always prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and this process went very smoothly,” Cene said. “I was surprised, and I don't get surprised too often.
“It is a totally different atmosphere because it's much brighter. Plus, the energy savings is making a big difference.”