Three ways to light a warehouse

Design criteria

Warehouses can be very large. As well as rows of racking, they may also contain packing areas and loading/unloading bays.

Some open areas where goods, often on pallets, are stored are no more than, say, 1m - 1.5m (5’) high. Racking, on the other hand can be up to 6m – 10m (20 – 35’) high.

In relation to warehouses, EN12464 says that a continuously occupied space, where little perception of detail is required, should be lit to 200 lux. Manned gangways/aisles should be lit to 150 lux. 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.

Whenever you are lighting a space, you need to consider what activities are involved. We most probably think of staff moving up and down the aisles but others might be at a workstation or checking area for long periods of time. 200 lux is sufficient for general movement and stacking but you may need 300 lux if staff have to read labels or write shipping documents. You might even need 500 lux in some areas to read the small print on boxes.

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 renderings show part of the warehouse and the area in view is approximately 30m x 27m. The tall racking is 8m high and floor to the roof apex is 11m. The warehouse is illuminated to at least 200 lux horizontal in all areas.

This whole warehouse has been illuminated with just one fitting type but by using a variety of beam spreads. The Rackline has five different optics from a very narrow beam used for high racking in narrow aisles to wide beam and opal diffusers for lower and open areas.

It is designed to be mounted continuously, but it is also available in individual 1.5, 3.0 and 4.5m lengths. In the 8m high aisles, we have used the Ultra High Rack version and this achieves over 350 lux at floor level and an impressive 180 lux average on the racking.

The foreground uses a wide beam and this ensures that there is good illumination on the end of the aisles and the general circulation areas.

The opal version has been used on the mezzanine and the shelving underneath to provide comfortable view at low mounting heights.

You can see the beam distributions by looking at the pattern on the end walls.

Tech spec A
  • LuminaireRackline
  • Optical controlPmma lenses
  • Total installed load4.2kW
  • Illuminance Horizontal in open areas, 375lux. Average vertical on racking, 180 lux
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Another good solution is to use the Expo. This rectangular luminaire has a low glare optic designed by the in-house technical team at Tamlite. Sports halls are another major application of the Expo.

The standard version is IP54 so it is also suitable for damp or dusty environments. An advantage of the Expo is that due to its high lumen output, fewer lighting points are required. This is especially important when lighting large areas.

Even mounted above 8m, the Expo achieves over 200 lux at floor level. You can see that the racking is particularly well illuminated at high levels.

In the mezzanine and shelving areas, we have used another luminaire, the linear TBX which is described more fully in option C.

Tech spec B
  • LuminaireExpo
  • Optical controlPmma lenses
  • Total installed load3.25kW
  • Illuminance Horizontal in open areas, 205 lux. Average vertical on racking, 150 lux

You sometimes have the situation where you need to replace old fluorescent lighting with more efficient LED ones but have to use the existing lighting positions. The TBX is an ideal replacement for T8 or T5 fluorescent units. It is available in 1.2m, 1.5m, 1.6m (4’, 5’ 6’) lengths. The physical appearance of the TBX is also very similar to a fluorescent luminaire.

It has a low glare/narrow beam polycarbonate diffuser and is available in standard and high output versions.

We have replaced the existing fluorescent with the TBX on a 1:1 basis.

It produces a similar horizontal illumination to the Expo but higher vertical levels at the top of the racking.

Tech spec C
  • LuminaireTBX NB
  • Optical controlPolycarbonate  low glare diffuser
  • Total installed load4.3kW
  • Illuminance Horizontal in open areas, 235 lux. Average vertical on racking, 180 lux

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