Aperam makes 70% energy saving with switch to LED

Stainless steel manufacturer Aperam Genk is counting on ESAS to replace all its lighting with LED lights over the next 2.5 years. This will improve lighting for employees and give them a more pleasant environment to work in, with the organisation also making an energy saving of 50-70%.

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LED instead of high-pressure sodium lamps and fluorescent lighting

Aperam had been looking for a solution to replace the high-pressure sodium lamps in its production halls for several years. ‘They were 30 years old and the main disadvantage was that their light output diminishes very quickly, so we had very high replacement costs,’ explains Rudi Lens, Energy Manager at Aperam. ‘The amount of light they produced didn’t satisfy current norms for working environments. So after a number of tests with induction lighting and LED, we opted for the LED lighting from RGB-LED, and for ESAS to coordinate the project. The switch will be completed by the end of 2019. We’re also switching from fluorescent lighting to LED in our offices, but only doing this gradually, as and when the bulbs need replacing.’

More light, less energy consumption

The new LED lights produce more light and are more energy efficient, resulting in an average energy saving of 50% for Aperam. ‘We’re also making a 70% saving in our production halls where we’re replacing the bulbs one by one,’ says Lens. ‘The energy saving is of course a bit less in the places where we need to install additional lights – because there wasn’t enough light previously. But the advantage comes from having a better illuminated work floor, so we’re in line with European lighting standards and employees are happier with their working conditions. The new lighting is also safer because it’s shielded better.’

A better working environment

The reactions from the employees are already very positive. ‘The LED lights are much more pleasant to work in,’ explains Lens. ‘We’ve tried to make it like natural light, so there’s much less difference between inside and outside. Clear lighting is important for the quality of our products, and has possibly also had a positive effect on our productivity.’

Fast lighting and dimming

The cost savings are realised in a number of ways. The LED lights operate at full capacity straight away, whereas the previous lighting took an average of 15 minutes to reach full brightness. This results in us having more time and using less energy. The LEDs are also dimmable, so the brightness can be adjusted. Rudi Lens: ‘We can have the same brightness everywhere now, whether there’s light coming in from outside or not.’

Lighting lease

The collaboration with ESAS runs very smoothly, but then Aperam didn’t make its choice overnight. The stainless steel producer from Genk took two years to test various suppliers before ultimately making its decision. ‘ESAS organised a test setup for us and that’s what made the difference,’ says Lens. ‘Now they’re taking care of all our contracts, including the lighting lease. We’re doing it like this because we decided not to buy the lights and to lease them instead, so we can spread the costs for our accounts. We’re organising the installation of the lighting ourselves for reasons of safety and flexibility, and because we’re very confident in the products from RGB-LED; it’s high-quality lighting manufactured in Belgium.’

10-year guarantee

The 10-year guarantee provides peace of mind. ‘If a light fails, we get a new one,’ says Lens. But Aperam shouldn’t worry about problems with the new lighting. ‘LED lights last for a long time,’ confirms Lens. ‘We’ve also purposefully chosen lighting that can cope with the high temperatures of our machines, so there’s no danger of us needing to replace everything any time soon.’

Fast payback

1100 people are employed at the Aperam site in Genk, with around 700 in the production departments. ‘We work around the clock in teams of 150 to 200 employees,’ says Lens. ‘And the factory operates 365 days a year, so the lighting is on all the time in most places in the production halls, meaning we recuperate our investment even faster.’

www.aperam.com

 

Fast Facts

  • replacing 2500 - 3000 lights
  • total capacity of 1.1 megawatt
  • average 50% energy saving
  • factory operates 365 days a year
  • 1100 employees at Aperam Genk
  • 10-year guarantee for the lights

Rudi Lens, Energy Manager at Aperam:

‘The new LED lighting produces more light which is more pleasant to work in, and it’s more energy efficient and safer too.’