As energy optimization leader at the 4.7-million-sq.-ft. General Motors’ Orion Assembly plant in Lake Orion, MI, Edward Fish is responsible for driving and supporting corporate energy conservation initiatives in GM’s manufacturing and non-manufacturing facilities.
The facility was built in 1983 and is where the Chevrolet Sonic and the Chevrolet Bolt EV are assembled. It is the first GM facility to receive the Clean Corporate Citizen designation by the state. In addition, it received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Leadership Award for 2016.
With linear fluorescent lamps from various manufacturers approaching end of life, Fish and his team performed an extensive evaluation of various tubular LED (TLED) product manufacturers. The company performed a technical review, followed by an on-site product evaluation to assess performance. After the studies, Fish selected products from Starco Lighting, Buffalo, NY.
“The business case for the corporate energy conservation project was based on engineering calculations, which demonstrated a simple two-year payback from energy savings,” Fish stated.
Starco’s extensive line of 2-, 3-, 4-, and 8-ft. product lengths and wattages ranging from 9 W in a 2-ft. tube to 36 W in an 8-ft. tube was first tested at the GM Components Holdings facility in Grand Rapids, MI.
DES Electrical Services of Detroit was brought in to perform the retrofit. Gaining access to some areas without impacting production required good communication, planning, and coordination with tech support teams, specifically above the robotic welding cells in the body shop.
Work was done in various phases. Ceiling heights ranged from 12 ft. in office areas to approximately 24 ft. in manufacturing areas. The retrofitting of the light fixtures was accomplished primarily during non-production hours, but some work was done during normal business hours.
“We upgraded areas from linear fluorescent to tubular LED in the body shop and throughout general assembly, material storage, kitting, paint shop, final assembly, trim shop, maintenance areas, and administration building office areas,” Fish explained.
Contactors on the energy-management system serve as master controls for large banks of lighting fixtures throughout the plant. Some areas use occupancy sensors on individual fixtures for improved control, which provide additional energy savings.
Starco lamps were installed in retrofitted TCP Elite six-lamp fixtures in the manufacturing space. Starco lamps were also fitted to two-lamp open-task line lights used for line lighting. Office lighting retrofitting was accomplished in 2 x 2 and 2 x 4-ft. troffers.
The only issue with the project was employee feedback that 18-W lamps initially installed in the office areas were too bright. These areas were re-lamped with 15-W lamps to achieve a more comfortable light level.
Overall, light levels with the LED lamps were consistent with linear fluorescent. Later phases of the project used an improved-technology Starco lamp with increased lumen output and higher efficacy. This increased initial light levels from 29 footcandles to 34 footcandles and assured that lighting intensities remain adequate even at the end of the lamp’s life.
“The Starco lamp results in a 40% reduction in energy consumption in manufacturing spaces, and a 54% reduction in office areas,” Fish said. “We expect to save just over $300,000 annually in energy and maintenance costs from this lighting change.”
The tubes are backed with an unconditional 8-year warranty. The shatterproof lamps are designed for the challenges of energy reduction and industrial safety compliance. The polycarbonate circular lensing is shatterproof and doesn’t require any extra protection. Starco’s LED driver system withstands extensive surge voltage and high ambient temperatures and works seamlessly with the Fast-Fuse socket kit.
Starco products have been used to retrofit 17 General Motors plants in the U.S.
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