How to Determine Light Fixture Requirements for an Industrial Area


The lighting intensity level required for industrial work areas depends on several factors. A storage area normally needs less light than one where manufacturing processes are carried out. A shipping or office area usually requires an intermediate lighting level. Fluorescent tubes are used for almost all industrial lighting. Determining light fixture requirements is a matter of choosing the proper lighting level and calculating the number and size of fixtures needed. Proper lighting is essential for good working conditions. Good lighting also increases productivity and enhances workplace safety.

Things You'll Need

  • Area dimensions
  • Task specifications

Evaluate the type of work to be performed in an industrial area. Lighting intensity is measured in foot candles (defined as one lumen per square foot). Operations that necessitate only limited visual tasks may need a light level of about 20 foot candles per square foot. At the other extreme, visual tasks that involve work with small items or high precision may need 300 foot candles per square foot. Some special operations may require even more intense light levels. For guidance in choosing the proper lighting intensity, consult the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America Handbook.

Find the dimensions of the area to be lighted. Multiply the length times the width in feet to calculate the square footage. For example, a 40-by-90-foot shop area has a total of 3,600 square feet.

Multiply the intensity level needed by the square footage to determine the total lumens needed (lumens are the measure of the amount of light). For example, if you want an intensity of 50 foot candles per square foot in a 3,600 square foot area, you need a total of 180,000 lumens lighting capacity.

Select lighting fixtures and lights sufficient to produce the required number of lumens. For instance, if you choose fluorescent tubes that are rated at 5,000 lumens each, calculate the number of tubes required to achieve a lighting capacity of 180,000 lumens. Divide 5,000 into 180,000 lumens. You will need 36 tubes and lighting fixtures that are designed to use tubes of that size.

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