In its new plant in Ripon, Calif., Diamond Pet Foods, Meta, Mo.-based family-owned manufacturer of natural pet foods, wanted to aim for energy efficiency and sustainability. However, the nature of the facility’s processes posed particular challenges for the lighting system. The 300,000-square-foot plant, a Class II Div 2 facility as dictated by its use of raw materials, which arrive in powder form and then are extruded into a pellet and dried in an oven, required Class II Div 2-certified fixtures that would provide safety and reliability even in hot, humid, and dusty conditions with a high-vibration rate. It could reach up to 120°F in the extrusion areas. In addition, the lighting system had to be compatible with the solar energy system the company requested for its new facility.

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But that wasn’t all. The facility’s design contained many hard-to-reach and low-clearance areas near process equipment, which demanded low-profile, low-maintenance lighting fixtures that would last a long time. For these reasons, Nelson & Sons Electrical, a Turlock, Calif.-based specialist in lighting and electrical construction for the food processing industry, decided to use LED lighting technology. The firm began with a trial of 16 Dialight DuroSite high-bay LEDs in the receiving area. Satisfied with their performance, the entire facility was eventually outfitted with 304 2-ft and 4-ft LED linear fixtures, 145 LED high bays, and 89 LED area lights, for a total of 538 Dialight LED fixtures. The low profile of the Dialight LED fixtures enabled mounting in areas that would have been difficult with other bulky conventional lighting fixtures.

The facility went online in May 2012. Diamond expected a full return on its investment in two years through combined energy and maintenance savings. However, as a result of the energy and maintenance savings, the company already hit its goal. Visibility at this plant is noticeably different than in others too. Employees immediately noticed the white, glare-free light at the Ripon, Calif., facility. Now, Diamond is considering an LED retrofit at its Lathrop, Calif., plant just 30 miles away.

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