Natural and Adjustable Lighting in Your Manufacturing Facility

It can be argued that there is no business where the margins matter more to success than in manufacturing.  Any drag on productivity hits directly at the profit you make on each manufactured piece.  Since you may be competing with overseas firms that pay their workforce a fraction on what you pay yours, you might already be starting at a disadvantage on expenses.

If your workforce is at its highest productivity, your company will be at its highest profitability. And as we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, lighting has a great effect on the wellbeing of workers. Let’s review why certain lighting has this effect, and how you can leverage it for your benefit and theirs.

The Right Lighting Increases Productivity and Wellbeing

In manufacturing—especially if you’re running a multi-shift operation—keeping workers alert and productive is crucial, but also a challenge. No one can really afford sleepy workers, and workers can’t afford to be less than sharp around manufacturing machinery.

Our alertness and productivity is related to the circadian rhythm, which governs our waking and sleeping cycles and is tied to the frequencies found in daylight. When humans are exposed during their workday to either natural daylight or lighting that mimics it, they are more alert, tend to sleep better, and are more productive. As little as 15 minutes of natural light exposure causes the body to release endorphins, and a study by the World Green Building Council found that natural daylight increased worker productivity by 18%.

The right lighting also reduces eye strain, and the headaches, minor medical issues and production mistakes that result from it.

Finding the Right Color

It’s a simple matter to bring natural daylight into your space via skylights and windows. If you’re in a situation where you’re renovating or constructing a new facility, add as many windows as possible. But how do we add “daylight” to the workspace in non-daylight hours? LED lighting is the best choice, because it uses far less power than incandescent lighting, lasts far longer, and keeps the same brightness and color throughout its life.

LED’s which can have a color temperature of 6500°K is a perfect match for daylight, but Cool White (4000 to 5000K) is available in more lighting options and has a similar effect on circadian rhythms. Daylight contains bluer wavelengths, and so do cool light types.

Even better, Cool White is the best color for detail work, so it will not only increase alertness and reduce eyestrain, but it will also reduce the number of mistakes since workers can see more clearly. Both the main lighting and task lighting in your facility should also be Cool White.

Adjusting Brightness

Dimming Systems can be complicated and expensive. We don’t frequently recommend them unless renovating or there is a higher budget.  A dimming system can help control and adjust the brightness of your lighting system based on the amount of natural light that is present. This will ensure that at any time of day or night, your workers are working in light that helps keep them alert but reduces the amount you spend on electricity during the day.