Lighting management ensures optimal working conditions and energy efficiency at the training institute for the Ford plant in Saarlouis. WAGO provided the components. The special feature is that the trainees participated in the design and implementation.
Lower costs and high productivity are goals that every company shares. Lighting plays an important role in both. The Germany energy agency (dena) estimates that tailored lighting control can provide energy savings of up to 75% while simultaneously increasing employee comfort. When lighting is connected to an energy management system, it consumes less electricity. A tailored use of light improves the health and productivity of workers. Good visibility conditions are not the only advantage. Daylight sets our internal clocks. A greater proportion of natural daylight leads to more energetic employees. And this can be achieved using intelligent lighting solutions, which then prevent fatigue and increase productivity.
The future electrical electronics technicians at Ford in Saarlouis have benefited from optimal lighting since May of 2017. Of special interest is the fact that trainees in the third and fourth years also participated in the design and implementation of the lighting management system for their classrooms.
They gained the necessary expertise in a workshop conducted by WAGO. “By developing the lighting management system, we gained direct insight into everyday working life. Automated solutions are among the areas of expertise expected from the trainees in their subsequent careers,” explains Markus Theobald, an expert trainer in electrical engineering. “In this project, we learned about more than just the technology. The apprentices also gained an appreciation for how knowledge about user requirements is important for good planning.”
System for Two Lighting Scenarios
The necessity for modernizing was clear: the two training rooms, with a total area of 250 square meters, were only equipped with conventional lights and a simple on/off switch. To ensure better working conditions and energy efficiency, the trainees designed two lighting zones: one area for screen work and meetings in the center of both rooms, and working stations located on the surrounding room walls. A constant illumination of 500 lux prevails at the workstations, whereas the central areas are illuminated at 200 lux.
The foundation is a lighting management system that sets the LED illuminants to mimic the natural light that streams in through several windows. A WAGO PFC200 Controller controls the system. All 48 lights are linked to the controller via a DALI Multi-Master Module, with twelve LED ceiling lights and twelve LED light fixtures over the work benches in each room. A presence sensor with brightness measurement determines the intensity of the artificial light, and switches off after ten minutes without human movement. A wireless push-button allows trainees at the workstations to switch the entire system on and off, or to individually dim the light strips over the workstations. This is provided in case other activities are to be carried out there, like manual assembly exercises.
A radio receiver module is linked to the controller, so that the lighting management system can combine the DALI communication protocol with EnOcean technology. As a wireless solution, EnOcean has the advantage that switches and sensors can be installed without cabling. This standard is thus especially suited for use in existing buildings, because no additional cable has to be laid, which can extend for several kilometers in larger structures. Wireless communication also supports flexible installations. This is particularly important for the optimal location of sensors, so that they can precisely measure the environmental parameters.
While wireless communication of components is becoming standard, the EnOcean wireless modules also do not require wiring for electrical supply. EnOcean activates a single signal, implements it, and completes it, all within one one-thousandth of a second. The energy requirements are thus minimal, and the sensors and switches can use so-called “daylight harvesting”: they supply their own power through tiny solar cells on their surfaces. A small amount of daylight is sufficient. By eliminating batteries, operational safety has been increased, and maintenance reduced to practically nothing.
Another important component of the lighting management system is its ease of use. The configuration is carried out using a web interface. In Saarlouis, users can access the software for the controller by using a conventional tablet and browser The visualization is based on HTML5. A local software installation is no longer necessary. The parameters can be set, monitored, and adjusted on the screen using a graphic user interface.
The lighting management can be expanded by linking additional DALI Multi-Master Modules to the extant controller. This allows the adjacent training rooms and labs to be connected to the present system over several investment stages. In addition, WAGO’s 3-phase power measurement modules can be added for energy measurement. The precise detection of the energy consumption is the next project in Saarlouis: the trainees will expand the system over the course of the year. The goal is for the training institute to serve as a model project, to demonstrate the potentials of an intelligent lighting management system within the entire company.
Text: DANIEL KOCKS, WAGO
Photos: VOLKER THEISSEN, FORD