GM Lordstown will save $800,000 annually with LED conversion
By Jamison Cocklin
General Motors Lordstown Complex is expected to save $800,000 annually after the company recently finished converting the stamping plant’s lighting system to run on LED bulbs.
The stamping plant, which is part of the facility’s metal center in the West Plant, was opened in 1970. More than 1,500 incandescent lights were replaced with 1,246 LED bulbs in the 40-foot-high bay lighting system above the stamping plant.
The conversion, completed in the spring, is GM’s largest in North America to date.
The goal was to install lighting that provided workers with the same brightness and illumination while saving money, energy and time on maintenance.
The LED (light-emitting diodes) bulbs are projected to reduce energy consumption by 84 percent and cut carbon-dioxide emissions at the plant by about 8,500 metric tons, according to GM.
“We saw this project as a great opportunity not only to enhance lighting in our facility and realize significant annual energy and maintenance savings, but also to do our part to reduce our carbon footprint as a company and help GM continue to be a leader in innovative, green- technology solutions,” said Steve Rhoades, manufacturing engineering director at Lordstown.
The new lights also are expected to operate maintenance-free for more than 1,500 hours.
LED bulbs can be six to seven times more energy- efficient than conventional incandescent lights, and they cut energy use by more than 80 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Globally, GM is working toward reducing energy consumption at its facilities by 20 percent by 2020 in a growing trend among the world’s leading automakers.
Both foreign and domestic automakers are working to reduce the waste generated at their production facilities by reusing materials for new vehicles, recycling cafeteria, break-room and bathroom waste and employing new tools to reduce scrap metal and energy consumption.
“A lot of managers and senior executives are looking more seriously at sustainability and its objectives,” said Fred Wentzel, executive vice president of the National Council for Advanced Manufacturing in Washington, D.C. “They’re saying, ‘If we can cut down on energy usage and reduce the waste taking place in our production facilities, if we can save on the amount of water we use, then ultimately that will add to our bottom line.’ It’s good for the environment and good for the company’s profitability.”
The fixtures at Lordstown are equipped with built-in, wireless control systems, which allow operators to schedule lights in certain parts of the plant at certain intensities to follow production schedules. They can be dimmed during breaks and between shifts, too.
“We can wirelessly control our lights without having to spend a lot of time and resources installing a separate control system,” said Chuck Simpson, site utilities manager.
Tom Mock, Lordstown communication manager, said GM is looking at integrating LED bulbs in other parts of the complex.
He said the company has made major gains in recent years in reducing the water it uses and curbing the amount of power generated to run the facility.