LED: It’s Payback Time

LEDs are a no-brainer for factories and warehouses. So why are they so rare in production environments?

When Ensto acquired Alppilux in April 2014, Tallinn Plant Director Peeter Mõrd examined their products. “I’d already put LEDs in my home, and so I wondered why not the Ensto plant, too?” So he visited Alppilux’s homepage, consulted their team, and together they made some calculations.

In November 2014, Tallinn became the first warehouse in Ensto to switch to LED lighting. One hundred and thirty LED fixtures, plus motion sensors, were installed with an investment of 68,000 euros. The payback period: 4.3 years. In August 2015, 120 LED fixtures were installed in the production area with an investment of 47,000 euros. Payback: 2.5 years. The grand total investment of 115,000 euros resulted in an average payback of 3.5 years.

Mõrd says that investment in machinery for factories generally requires a payback period of five years or less, and payback is never guaranteed due to potential shifts in the market. “But lighting calculations are simple,” he says. “We know how many hours we operate, so as long as we’re present in the building, we’re going to pay back the investment.”

If it’s so obvious, then why don’t all factories have LEDs? “Production people tend to focus on production issues,” speculates Mõrd, “and we tend not to replace things that already work.” But with the Tallinn plant leading the way, this is one good idea that might just be contagious.

Author: Scott Diel