Solidd Steel Structures: more efficient and sustainable using the right light

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Solidd Steel Structures (hereinafter: Solidd) offers expertise in the design, fabrication and assembly of dynamically loaded, movable, durable steel structures such as bridges, dams and locks. The company also supplies high-quality semi-finished products for crane construction and offshore industry applications.
Solidd’s product range is, without a doubt, impressive. Take the enormous bridges, gigantic lock gates and towering cranes that leave the Solidd factory halls in Sumar, Friesland, sometimes piece by piece. The company’s high-quality steel structures are widely used and integrated in the Netherlands and abroad.

Unnecessary failure costs
Mark Lodewijks is the Technical Director at Solidd, and in that role he is responsible for quality control and initiating and implementing improvement projects in the areas of safety, efficiency and working conditions. ‘We decided that the lighting in our two production halls needed to be replaced,’ he says. An important consideration was that we wanted to reduce unnecessary failure costs in our production process. The right lighting can make a huge difference.’ At that time, the Solidd production halls were mainly equipped with traditional gas sodium discharge lamps and, here and there, fluorescent tubes.

Custom-made lighting plan
Lodewijks contacted an independent lighting design agency, Lichtconsult, where Senior Lighting Designer Koen Smits set out to find an optimal solution for the
situation. ‘Solidd is a wonderful company,’ says Smits. ‘With their impressive products they make an unseen, yet highly visible, contribution to the infrastructure.
Solidd’s lighting installation was outdated, which meant the workers at the production site had to work in monochromatic, rather ‘poor’ light. As is usually the case, everyone was used to it, but there was a general feeling that something had to change.’ Smits saw enormous potential for improvement. Lodewijks adds, ‘We had contacted a number of parties, but it never felt quite right. Then we reached out to Lichtconsult and there was an instant click.’ Based on thorough lighting calculations, Smits drew up a custom lighting plan to establish a luminaire pattern and beam distribution that would, above all, result in consistent illumination levels and a comfortable working environment. ‘Important elements of my plan are the luminaires, for which we called on Attiva, and an intelligent light management system, provided by Nedap.’

Frits Breekveldt is commercial director of Attiva, supplier of professional lighting projects, which provided 82 new, state-of-the-art luminaires for the Solidd production halls. ‘Our approach revolves around the exchange of information, both with the end-customer and with the other parties involved,’
says Breekveldt. ‘We attach great importance to short lines of communication, trust, transparency and frequent consultation. There was truly a sense of partnership between Attiva, Lichtconsult, Nedap and Solidd in this project, too.’ Breekveldt also emphasises the value of the one-to-one contact between Nedap and Disano, the luminaire manufacturer. ‘Everything was aimed at working together to achieve the best possible result for the end-users: the people on the floor.’ On a personal level, he is very satisfied with the extent to which the light transformation at Solidd contributes to sustainability and protection of the environment. ‘Although light accounts for a modest part of total energy consumption – and therefore savings – I am still proud that we were able to contribute with our specific expertise and products.’

Connected lighting
The more than 80 new LED luminaires in the Solidd halls are wired to Nedap’s connected light management system, Luxon. Among other things, this allows online control of each individual LED luminaire lamp and the ability to read out diagnostic data. In addition, over 30 sensors in both production halls ensure that the lighting intensity can be precisely tailored to activities in different areas within the spaces. ‘If no work is being performed in specific locations at certain times of the day, the lighting in those areas is automatically dimmed. If more light is needed somewhere, the Luxon system takes care of that,’ says Peter Wolberink, Account Manager, European Channel Partners at Nedap Light Controls. Luxon automatically provides a monthly management report that includes statistics, environmental performance, any adjustments and necessary repairs.

Significant energy savings
The implementation of Smit’s lighting plan is now also proving its value in terms of sustainability. Lodewijks says, ‘We have reduced our energy consumption for lighting by 70% in six months. That represents a significant savings.’ Wolberink explains that Solidd can count on an attractive ROI: ‘With Luxon – in combination with the use of luminaires with a longer service life – Solidd will recover its investment in the near future.’ Lodewijks concludes: ‘The combination of a sophisticated lighting plan, connected lighting and the right luminaires has made us more efficient and sustainable. There has been a lot of positive feedback from within the organisation. The general feeling is that the new lighting has made the working environment more pleasant and is beneficial to both concentration and precision. Unnecessary failure costs have been reduced, which has enabled us to meet our original target. All in all, this investment has exceeded our expectations.’

“The combination of a sophisticated lighting plan, connected lighting and the right luminaires has made us more efficient and sustainable.”
Mark Lodewijks, Solidd Steel Structures