Warehouse Lighting Guide
In general, modern warehouses are built using a steel frame construction, covered in metal sheeting to encase all vertical surfaces, other than where doors are installed.
The roof is constructed in the similar format, however there is normally a small number of clear skylight panels providing natural illumination into the space. This benefit works well for open area warehouses as it provides additional illumination naturally at no cost, however the addition of high-level racking in the warehouse combined with narrow aisles can obscure the natural light meaning that all illumination must be provided artificially. Warehouses are built from the small to the extremely large and dimensions can vary greatly from just several metres up to several hundred metres, whilst vertical heights can be from just a few metres to in excess of 20 metres.
The installation of adequate and appropriate lighting will enable staff to perform visual tasks accurately and efficiently within the warehouse environment and the required levels of illumination are detailed within the SNI recommendation which specifies lighting information for a variety of indoor working environments satisfying the requirements of visual comfort, visual performance and safety.
For open area warehouses, a lighting level of 100 Lux is specified, except for where the space is continuously manned, the level is increased to 200 Lux when measured at floor level. For areas where racking is installed, the width of aisles between racking can vary greatly depending upon the method of moving the goods inward from suppliers and outward to customers. Unmanned gangways require 100 Lux and manned gangways 150 Lux when measured on the horizontal plane at floor level for safe access of the warehouse staff and with a requirement for 200 Lux on the storage rack face, all with a level of uniformity of 0.40. Vertical illuminance is important for high-bay racking installations where goods are placed in the vertical racks at heights from floor level to possibly the full height of the space. Providing optimum levels of brightness on the vertical plane is essential for the warehouse staff to quickly and accurately read the pallet labels at the differing heights when standing on the floor or operating a fork-lift truck.
The selection of luminaire type within the different warehouse buildings will depend greatly on the dimensions and height of the space as well as the usage and whether it be as an open area or completely racked throughout, however many applications are a combination of both open areas and racking. An important consideration relates to the tasks being carried out within the warehouse space, making it impossible to provide the scenario of one lighting solution fits all types of application, rather each installation will need to be considered on its individual merits and a lighting solution designed to meet those requirements.
In the open area type warehouse of heights in excess of 6-8 metres, the accepted route of lighting has been with symmetrical beam distribution luminaires installed in a basic grid pattern at high level to provide a uniform level of illuminance on the floor across the whole space. The installation of the robust Takumi LED highbay fitting offers an ideal solution, in being IP65 and available in a few different wattages .
Providing a lighting solution requires knowledge and experience of warehouse applications and the assistance of a lighting designer, who with extensive design experience and knowledge of lighting equipment appropriate to the installation, can create an installation which meets the client’s expectations.