LED lighting delivers cost savings to terminal operators



Ryan Hertel, Director of Business Development, Phoenix Products Company Inc., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US



Ports and terminals compete fiercely for container traffic. Those with the most efficient operations stand to win the most business and generate the highest profits. Driving down costs is crucial to remaining competitive. Upgrading to the latest light emitting diode (LED) lighting technology contributes to terminal cost control. Light fixtures installed on port container cranes endure  constant vibration, moisture and corrosion – elements always present in marine environments. These extreme conditions result in premature lighting fixture failure, demanding constant maintenance and increasing material and labor costs. Installing properly designed LED fixtures on port container cranes can immediately reduce energy usage, reduce crane maintenance costs and increase operator safety.

LED technology evolving to industrial applications

LED technology has existed in basic form since 1962. It has long been used in outdoor promotional lighting, and more recently in television screens and street lights. While most of these are stationary applications, solid-state LED technology is ideal for installation on industrial equipment subjected to high vibration environments.

Heavy industrial equipment and above ground mining equipment now often operate with LED lighting. Properly designed and manufactured LED fixtures for installation on port container cranes will last, maintenance free, for 50,000 hours, all the while reducing crane electricity draw and maintenance expenses. In the last two years, high brightness LED chips have increased the potential light output from a single fixture. This enhancement quickly broadened LED applications beyond televisions and flashlights. LED technology can now illuminate an area as large as a football field as well as container cranes and terminal yards – all at a fraction of the previous power consumption.

While traditional HID, incandescent and fluorescent fixtures spill light in every direction before reflecting it towards a target, LEDs emit light in a single forward direction. Properly designed LED modules can produce high lumen output at lower wattage. They are also ‘instant-on’ and illuminate immediately upon powering. As terminals begin to electrify RTG cranes, LED technology offers a considerable performance advantage over traditional high pressure sodium (HPS) or metal halide (MH) fixtures that require 15 minutes plus of warm-up time.

Varying optics can be used to control emitted light, offering a range of light spreads towards a target. LED floodlights mounted on an STS trolley use a narrow distribution to focus light on the container below. RTG cranes can use a mix of optics to simultaneously illuminate the stack below, yet provide enough perimeter light to maintain safe working conditions at ground level.


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