8 Illuminating LED Lessons

*By Ryan Hertel, Managing Director for Ports & Maritime, Phoenix Lighting*

Back in 2011, LED lighting was seeing some of its first installments on ship-to-shore cranes. In the nine years since, the lighting industry has progressed significantly, and LED lighting has fundamentally changed the way we illuminate terminals. Throughout this evolution, both the lighting and the terminal industries have learned a lot. Here are eight of the biggest highlights:

1. All fixtures are not created equally

While the components in every LED fixture are generally the same, product differentiation comes from design and integration. LED lights should incorporate components that increase performance and have optimized brackets, lenses and optics to ensure the most reliable and effective lights for port environments. If poorly made, even LEDs can incur additional maintenance and repair expenses. Plus, a well-constructed, ideally weighted fixture can mean a better EPA rating and easier installation for the port.

2. New lighting technology is virtually maintenance free

LED has brought an entirely new mindset to ports when it comes to lighting container yards. Maintaining yard lighting was once a full-time job that cost the port thousands of dollars every year. Manufacturers would sell robust service contracts with their fixtures because the traditional lamps and ballasts would need to be replaced so often. Before upgrading their high pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures to LEDs, the Port of Savannah was spending nearly $40,000 on maintenance annually. With a light source that now lasts many years, high mast light maintenance is a thing of the past. Lighting manufacturers are now challenged to set themselves apart through purpose-built construction and technological advances.

3. The benefits of LED go far beyond energy savings

The improved efficiency and corresponding energy savings gain the most headlines for LED. However, no one sees a bigger benefit than the crane operator. The instant-on features along with shadow and glare reduction and better illumination of operations have changed the game. Nassau Container Port’s previous 1000W metal halide lights did not provide adequate lighting levels or coverage to meet safety standards. Today, their new 500W LEDs provide bright, clear illumination at half the wattage.

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