How to light a warehouse

Warehouses are always big but they aren’t all the same. As well as rows of racking, they may also contain packing areas and loading and unloading bays.  The lighting has to be efficient in order to minimise the electrical load. It also has to be designed to meet the particular tasks involved.

There may be some open areas where goods, often on pallets, are stored are no more than, say, 1.5m high. Racking, on the other hand can be up to 6m to 10m high. There is usually a small desk for dealing with documentation. A weighing area is also common. Both these areas require enough lighting to read small print or digital readouts.

Whenever you are lighting a space, you need to consider what activities are involved. EN 12464 says that 200 lux is sufficient for general movement and stacking where perception of fine detail is not required. The vertical illuminance on the racking should also be 200 lux where possible. Although it does mention that achieving this on a vertical surface near ground level can be difficult.

However, you may need 300 lux if staff have to read or write shipping documents. You might even need 500 lux in some areas to read the small print on labels.

Any new or retrofit scheme should include dimming and motion sensors. There can be huge savings by dimming aisles that are not in use.

Our warehouse is 35m x 27m and 12m to the apex of the roof. It is lit to at least 200 lux horizontal in all areas.

The i80 is a versatile unit that can be used in a wide range of warehouses. A feature of this unit is the variety of mounting options from a simple suspension wire to catenary, wall and ceiling brackets. When you want increased light output in a particular area, you can cluster the i80 in pairs or fours.  You can see that we have enhanced the illumination over the work station.

The i80 is IP66 and will operate from -40C to +40C. There is also the choice of four beam widths and a tempered glass or acrylic cover.  

This is a powerful unit measuring less than 400mm square and 140mm high.

Tech Spec A

Luminaire 

i80

Arrangement

7 x 5 plus cluster of four over workstation

Optical control

 4-cell silver coated aluminium reflector

Total installed load

4.6kW

Illuminance 

Horizontal in open areas, 370 lux

Mounting height

8.5m

The GIR LED is a development of the original T5 unit. This featured a quick install system that saved up to 50 per cent installation time.

The LED version can emit up to 16,000 lm from the 127W, 1.5m, long unit. Typically, this unit would be used at 4 – 6m mounting height but Glamox also offer an extreme narrow beam reflector, XNB, for greater heights.

It will also operate down to -25C which is useful for retrofitting cold stores.

Tech Spec B

Luminaire

GIR LED

Arrangement

 7 x 5

Optical control

Silver coated aluminium reflector

Total installed load

4.4kW

Illuminance

Horizontal in open areas, 270 lux

Mounting height

6.5m

When I reviewed high output highbays, the Glamox i90-P got top marks. This is a really powerful unit and we have used a wide beam in order to achieve a uniform spread of light right to the tops of the 6m high racking.

Far fewer luminaires have been used than in the other options; 20 luminaires instead of 35. We could have achieved equally good results even if the warehouse was twice as high.

This is the unit to use where you have a really large warehouse.

Roof spaces in high warehouses can be a lot warmer that lower down but the i90-P will operate in 60C. It is also IP65.

 At-a-glance

Luminaire

 i90-P

Optical control

Specular aluminium

Arrangement

4 x 5

Total installed load

5.2kW

Illuminance

Horizontal in open areas - 250 lux

Mounting height

8.5m