AJ Hurst and Dextra provide perfect prescription for Almac’s lighting needs

Global pharmaceutical giant, Almac, is enjoying significant lighting energy savings at its Craigavon headquarters thanks to the latest partnership between AJ Hurst and Dextra Lighting.

A market leader in the supply of lighting, electrical control and automation, energy and power products, AJ Hurst Ltd provided a bespoke lighting solution for Almac using energy-efficient lighting from Dexeco (part of the Dextra Group).

The collaboration for this successful project came about following a study by Almac’s management team on the existing efficiencies associated with lighting within its clinical services’ secondary production facility in Craigavon. This was prompted by key issues concerning the variable quality of the existing lighting and high running and maintenance costs.

Due to the pharmaceutical industry’s strict hygiene regulations and procedures, the luminaires in the production rooms were installed in unventilated enclosures to ensure full access for cleaning, and were to be left untampered. The problem, however, was that, over time, the resulting heat build-up affected the lumen maintenance and control functions of each fixture, causing discoloured diffusers, reduced lifespan of control gear and lamps and an increased failure rate of components. To keep light levels at the required levels for each area, Almac had to adopt expensive, and often disruptive, maintenance routines to frequently change lamps and perform repairs.

Keen to resolve these lighting problems promptly and cost-effectively, Almac Clinical Services contacted several companies to provide samples and quotes for the new lighting. Out of the list of competitors, AJ Hurst won the contract by proposing to retrofit Dexeco’s customised LED gear trays into the production room’s existing housing enclosures. The advantage of this approach is that it significantly lowers the total cost of ownership of the installation, avoiding the expense and impracticality of completely replacing the luminaires or altering the ceiling’s infrastructure.

“From its inception it became apparent that an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution was not going to be an option as a number of obstacles had to be overcome,” explained Bill Gray, Business Development Manager at AJ Hurst.

“The main challenge we faced with the project was the clean environment in which the fittings were located. The existing enclosure housings were unventilated and had to remain in place in compliance with the strict pharmaceutical industry’s procedures. We had to come up with a bespoke solution that could be retrofitted into these existing housings. An additional benefit of being able to do this meant that any potential damage to the ceilings could be prevented.”

AJ Hurst surveyed the site and supplied Almac with a detailed audit and designs to suit the company’s specific needs; this included a plan to adapt the existing equipment by removing the PL55s, control gear, wiring and diffuser.

“A detailed installation schedule was also agreed, allowing us to install the new panels over a number of consecutive weekends to minimise operational disruption,” said Bill. As an added service, AJ Hurst arranged for Dexreco (Dextra Group’s waste management subsidiary) to collect the used fittings free of charge and to recycle them in compliance with the current WEEE legislation.”

Upgrading to LED was the first step by Almac towards a more sustainable system as, when compared to fluorescent lamps, high-quality LED chips are more power-efficient, have far longer lifespans, and have an extended lumen maintenance (maintaining their light intensity for longer). The reliability and long life of the latest Lumileds LEDs used in Dexeco’s products will, therefore, ensure that the installation at Almac will perform as it was intended to for longer, providing uniform light levels throughout the premises, with minimal maintenance.

The solution was to replace the existing 3 x 55 Watt PL lamps (183 Watts per fitting) with a made-to measure, surface-mounted MODS L35 LED fitting from Dexeco. Each of these fittings gives a 3,500 lumen output at 26.8 Watts. A total of 310 fittings were supplied and installed, with minimum disruption to staff and production.

The 310 fittings included 67 emergency fittings and 15 dimmable luminaires, which were used in areas where light-sensitive products are handled, and where previously light filters had to be applied each time the products were used.

As a result, the lighting load has reduced from over 51kW to approximately 8kW. A t 70% utilisation, the electricity saving is almost £400 per week (£21,000 per year approximately), and the payback on investment is less than 1.5 years.

Installation was carried out by AJ Hurst quickly and efficiently, over consecutive weekends, to minimise disruption to Almac’s manufacturing operations, whilst closely abiding by the strict regulatory procedures of the site’s controlled environments.

What really made AJ Hurst’s solution unique against the competition was the complete ‘in-house’ package it offered, as well as the impressive list of ‘blue chip’ clients it has already worked with. Other companies had to rely on a third party to either audit, advise or install, but with

AJ Hurst the project was carried out entirely by its own personnel, giving the client reassurance that its project was in expert hands.

The outcome has been highly successful, with production staff at Almac now able to appreciate the even light levels within the production rooms, whilst management are very satisfied with the reduction in both electricity and maintenance costs.

AJ Hurst, Unit 10, Graham Industrial Park, Dargan Crescent, Belfast, BT3 9LP
T: (NI) 028 9077 0037 or (RoI) 048 9077 0037 – E: online-sales@ajhurst.com
W: www.ajhurst.com – Twitter: @AJHurstElectric