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Reprinted from America's Textiles International
Reprinted from America's Textiles International
Industry Reports • April 1995
Casting New Light On Today's Production
If you're still searching for ways to cut operating costs, the answer may be over your head
Getting Specific
      The latest development in the Mor-Lite system is the design of individual reflective lighting systems for specific textile production processes, Huebner said.
      For example, Mor-Lite has created a system for the latest Picanol and Tsudakoma weaving machines that delivers 95 footcandles of light to the cloth (45 footcandles to the warp aisles). In a recent weave room project the overall lighting load amounted to .501 watts per square foot, he reported. Most weave rooms carry a lighting load of 2 to 3 watts per square foot. In real dollars, this project saved $100,000 in initial installation costs and will continue to save $85,530 each year in operating cost, compared to traditional two-lamp weave room lighting (95-watt, F96 HO lamps; 24-hour, seven-day operation at 5 cents per KWh).
      Similarly, Mor-Lite's reflective lighting designed for Schlafhorst and Savio open-end spinning frames results in at least twice the light delivered to the critical spin box area of the machine at less than half the operating cost of traditional lighting, Huebner said.
      Applications exist in other textile production departments such as opening, carding, drawing and even warehousing. About half of the company's work is made up of new lighting installations, while the other half consists of retrofitting existing fixtures, converting from two lamps to one, tandem-wiring ballasts (often replacing with electronic ballasts) and installing reflectors.
      Investment payback periods for these projects, Huebner said, usualy run 14 and 18 months for plants in the southern United States.

New Light On Technology
      Lighting is not usually the first thing thought of when the industry talks about textile mill technological breakthroughs, but Huebner finds the challenge of lighting a plant for the most cost-effective production and operation to be an exciting one. “We take a lot of pride in the way we do business,” he said, “in the authenticity of our lighting analysis work and in the design, manufacture and installation of our lighting.”
      “We are not a sales and marketing organization. We are a technical company dedicated to our customers' lighting needs and to the constant development of our lighting technology.”

* * * * * *
Associate Editor
      The traditional way of lighting textile plants worked just fine many years ago, when the cost of electric power was a small fraction of what it is today. But the old way — lighting the whole room and installing the production machinery accordingly — is no longer the best way.
      “The textile industry has done a remarkable job of modernizing and improving production efficiency,” said John J. Huebner, president of Mor-Lite Inc., Greenville, SC, a provider of specialized plant lighting. “Now the industry is starting to take a good look at lighting, which is good for everybody.”
      Huebner has been with Mor-Lite since its beginning in 1987 — as he calls it, “the stone age of the energy-efficient lighting industry.” Since that time Mor-Lite has conducted more than 400 lighting energy surveys; designed and installed 100 projects; developed retrofit assemblies for 100 fixture types; designed 200 lighting layouts; sold more than 100,000 specular reflectors; and pioneered the application of reflective lighting in textile plants.
      More-Lite's textile customers include Burlington Industries, Delta Woodside, Fieldcrest Cannon, Greenwood Mills, Guilford Mills, Mount Vernon Mills, Sara Lee, Springs Industries and others.

A Change in Focus
      The innovative Mor-Lite system starts with basic fluorescent lighting technology. Instead of two-lamp fixtures, however, a single-lamp fixture is used with specular silver reflectors attached. “Now we can make the reflectors custom, computer-designed for each application, depending on how high the fixtures are located above the floor and how far apart the light rows are spaced,” Huebner said.
      The reflector, he explained, must be installed precisely to control the light output directionally and to deliver the light to a targeted area five, 10, 20 or sometimes 30 feet away.

“We learned a long time ago that if one of the flexor angles is off a degree or two, then the light beams will be off-target by several feet,” he said. “It has to be done right.”
      Mor-Lite uses 3M Silverlux specular silver material in its reflectors. Huebner said he has tested other reflective materials and, although the 3M material costs more, he has found nothing else that comes close in terms of reflectivity, performance, service quality and warranty.
      Consequently, mills can achieve light output about 25 percent greater than that available five years ago. The reflectors redirect the light onto production machinery, where it does the most good. In effect, one lamp does the job of two.

Operating Savings
“Our lighting costs one-half or less to operate than any other lighting alternative, including traditional fluorescent, metal halide or high-pressure sodium,” Huebner said. “Installed cost is usually less as well.”
      Frankie Blackmon, plant engineer at Burlington Industries' Ranlo spinning plant in Gastonia, NC, backs Huebner's claims. The Ranlo facility, he said, has been renovating its lighting since he joined Burlington about four years ago. During that time Ranlo has been replacing its old lighting ballasts in sections. The plant currently has installed new lighting in about 35 percent of its manufacturing space.
      “The new lighting system has benefited our plant in more ways than one,” Blackmon said. “We've realized significant savings in lighting costs and enhanced productivity in the areas of the plant that have the Mor-Lite lighting.”
      Huebner said there's much more to it than just replacing old ballasts with new ones, adding that studying how to get the most out of lighting in a mill is as important as the lighting system itself.