Worthington Cylinders Search for Maximum Lighting Efficiency and Integrated Controls Ends with Intelligent LED Upgrade


Customer: Worthington Cylinders
Location: Westerville, OH
Facility Size: 177,000 ft2
Environment: Ambient/Manufacturing
Operational Schedule: 24 x 7
Previous Solution: 400 and 600 W HPS
Installation: Retrofit
Energy Savings: 1,051,200+ kWh annual

Project Secures 85% Lighting Energy Savings and Places Control Over Facility Lighting Firmly in the Hands of Managers

Established in 1971, Worthington Cylinders is the world’s leading global manufacturer of pressure cylinders and tanks used for the storage of liquefied petroleum, compressed natural gas, refrigerants, oxygen, and industrial gases. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, the company markets its products in 70 countries and operates 17 manufacturing facilities in six countries, including the United States, Austria, Canada, India, Poland, and Portugal. Worthington Cylinders is a division of Worthington Industries, a leading diversified metals manufacturing company with 2012 fiscal year sales of $2.5 billion.

A best-practice manufacturer that takes enormous pride in the quality of its product and service offerings, Worthington Cylinders’ workforce actively seeks best-practice solutions to business challenges, including all facets of its manufacturing operations.

So when the management team at its 177,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Westerville, Ohio, needed to replace the aging 400- and 600-watt high-intensity discharge (HID)and high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting, they thoroughly researched and evaluated all of their options. Working with Mark Wiley of Impact Energy, they began the process with an in-house energy audit, which made it abundantly clear that they were using too much energy to provide an adequate level of lighting in support of their 24×7 manufacturing operations.

Following two years of intensive investigation and testing, including a variety of LEDs — both with and without controls — the Worthington team decided to upgrade the facility’s lighting to the Intelligent LED Lighting System from Digital Lumens. Replaced existing luminaires on a one-for-one basis, the Digital Lumens system has enabled the Columbus manufacturing facility to:

  • Reduce its annual lighting-related energy use by 85%
  • Save more than 1,051,200 kWh of electricity and 742 tons of CO2, annually
  • Leverage ambient daylight to reduce lighting energy use, where possible
  • Eliminate costly and disruptive re-lamping and re-ballasting exercises
  • Leverage the significant energy and maintenance savings to create a three-year payback, with a lifetime of savings to follow


According to Fredric Timm, Plant Engineering Project Manager for Worthington Cylinders, “With this lighting upgrade, we were extremely cognizant of the fact that our decision would have long-term economic consequences for our facility. We were looking for more than just incremental energy efficiency improvements; we wanted major savings that for the lifetime of the installation.”

Eliminating Unused Lighting Adds-Up to Big Savings

By combining a low-wattage, highly controllable LED luminaire with integrated occupancy and daylight sensing, LightRules lighting management software, and wireless networking, the Intelligent Lighting System provided the tools the Worthington team needed to manage and fine-tune lighting within the facility — without ever having to touch a light luminaire.

The ability to control luminaire settings, individually or in groups, to optimize lighting delivery has enabled the team to:

  • Eliminate the over-lighting of production space by reducing 100% full ‘on’ settings to between 83% and 91%, depending on the location of machinery and specific task needs.
  • Incrementally reduce timeout delay settings within production spaces, from three minutes initially to 150 seconds today. When the space around a machine or specific groups of machines is unoccupied for more than 150 seconds, lighting is dimmed to 10%, instantaneously returning to full-on when needed.
  • Reduce aisle and storage area full ‘on’ settings to between 65% and 85%, with a 30-second timeout delay when a space becomes unoccupied.
  • Create scheduled settings that change lighting profiles to account for differing shift needs and less intense weekend schedules.
  • Make incremental adjustments over time to ensure workplace safety and employee comfort, a critical factor in gaining the widespread support of Worthington employees.


“At any given time, hundreds of different tasks are being performed within our facility, each with different lighting needs,” continued Mr. Timm. “Timeout and dimming settings in aisles and storage areas where forklift operators are rapidly moving about, for example, tend to be much shorter than for areas where machine operators are at work in our production spaces. Rather than over-lighting space due to lack of control, we now deliver exactly the right amount of light when and where needed, resulting in extraordinary savings that go directly to our bottom line.”

Complex Facility Benefits from Flexible Lighting Design

Specifically designed for industrial applications, the Intelligent Lighting System has also enabled the Worthington facility to:

  • Direct lighting into hard-to-reach places, such as around long rows of oversized and closely packed products, through the three independently aimed light bars in each luminaire.
  • Leverage available natural light through integrated daylight harvesting sensors, which smoothly adjusts light output — luminaire -by- luminaire — to meet targeted foot-candle requirements. More than 50% of the Worthington facility has access to natural light.
  • Coordinate sensor control around groups of machines, so that if any occupancy sensor is activated, all of the lighting in the group instantaneously returns to full-on.
  • Eliminate onerous maintenance events. With oversized machinery closely positioned within its 177,000-square-foot production space, the frequent re-lamping and re-ballasting associated with its previous HPS luminaires were not only costly but highly disruptive.


“The contrast between where we were with our lighting a year ago versus today is nothing short of remarkable,” concluded Mr. Timm. “We’ve never had this level of control over how we use lighting, or the ability to document its use, down to the individual luminaire, for planning, learning, and further optimization.”