42 JULY/AUGUST 2017 LEDsmagazine.com
ssl projects | INDUSTRIAL LIGHTING
“We have a huge river pump house where
we bring water in for the steel mill,” said
Stidham. “We have cameras down there. It
was always low lit. We could never light it up.
So we went down there and put up Dialight’s
area lights. We put up around 12 of them
on the river, and it lit up like daylight. Not
only that, the LEDs are great for our secu-
rity cameras. You can really see the colors
and everything’s really good on the cameras.
That’s our first case study with Dialight —
the river pump house.”
That marked a good start. But LEDs were
not yet up to the indoor challenges at the
NLMK plant, where it would have had to
use two Dialight LED lamps to replace each
“LEDs were still struggling because they
didn’t have the lumen output, due to the
drivers,” said Allenbaugh. “They didn’t have
the drivers perfected yet. That took them a
couple of years.”
The turnaround came in 2011. By 2012,
NLMK placed an order with Dialight for
hundreds of LED street lights, thus bypass-
ing a previous plan to replace existing sodi-
um-vapor street lamps with MH.
Around the same time, it also installed
about 20 high-bay lights in the mill’s electrical
repair shop, a relatively small space by steel
mill standards, and one where the 30-ft-high
ceiling is considerably lower than other areas,
thus providing a good test area to help study
performance of different types of high bays.
Hitting the heights
Soon after, a full-scale replacement initiative
began, which to this day proceeds steadily.
Outdoors, the new lighting has reached just
about everywhere. Indoors, you can find
Dialight LEDs of various shapes and sizes.
That includes high-bay lighting in the hot
strip mill, where three furnaces (not blast furnaces) heat 10-in.-thick, 30-ft-long, and an average of 48-in.-wide slabs of metal to 2300°F so
a roughing mill can press them into thinner
1-in. sheets and roll them into coils. The LED-lit finishing mill can roll them even thinner.
NLMK also uses LED high bays in its pickling
area, where it cleans the coils in an acid bath
and with a water wash. And LED high bays also
light up the cold rolling and annealing areas,
both of which can stretch the metal more. Cold
rolling uses a machine called a 5-stand tandem
mill. Annealing involves heating the metal
again, to around 1900°F, and it can yield a final
product as thin as aluminum foil.
Dialight high-bay LED lighting also now
illuminates the warehouse areas, the maintenance shops full of pipe fitters, welders,
electricians and the like, and the rail area.
NLMK has installed another LED format
— Dialight linear LEDs — in electrical substations, as well as in inspection rooms.
“Fluorescent is what everyone used to
want for the inspections,” said Stidham.
“But now the quality of light is so good on the
LEDs that we’ve been able to replace those.”
NLMK has so far installed about 4000 or
5000 Dialight LED luminaires, or nearly 50%
of the project. The swap is not one-for-one, as
some of the LEDs are doing the job of more
than one of the previous MH lamps or fluorescents. Stidham expects to continue at roughly
the same pace, which means the mill should
have a full complement of LED lighting across
the site, including on new facilities there, by
2022 — 10 years after it all began.
Less energy, better color, fewer outages
The upshot is that NLMK is saving a bundle
not only on maintenance but also on energy
consumption. The company says that so far it
has slashed its lighting-related energy bill by
62%. The combined savings from energy and
maintenance — Stidham ranks them as virtually equal in their contribution —have so
far reached around $100,000.
There have been at least three other signif-
icant benefits as well. For one: NLMK endures
power outages from time to time, which in
the past meant waiting for lighting to warm
up before full illumination returned. But
now, “As soon as the power comes back on,
the LEDs are on — they’re instantaneous,”
said Stidham. “Whereas with metal halide, it
takes them time to warm up. We used to have
to wait on the lights to come up.”
The LEDs have also reduced the frequency
of power cuts. With the metal halides, “It was
always overloading, we were right on the
max of the fuse limitation,” said Stidham.
“But once we put the LEDs in, that dropped
dramatically down, because they use a lot
less power. So our electrical equipment that
we had been looking to upgrade because it
was just too small for the amount of high-
bay lighting that we had, we didn’t have
to do anything to them. We just replaced
the overhead lighting with LEDs, and that
dropped the load on all of that equipment.”
And according to Dialight’s Antonikas, the
LED lighting has vastly improved the color
rendering. As Stidham pointed out, that has
helped support security cameras. Antonikas
added that color rendering can be particularly important in safety areas, where colors
such as reds and yellows mark out safety alerts
or special operation tags, such as the lock-
FIG. 2. These Dialight LED high bays in the NLMK hot mill can take the heat, dust,
and dirt that’s thrown their way. Temperatures can even drop below freezing during a
wintertime shutdown at the plant.