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Lighting is an important aspect of sustainability. In 2023 the production of fluorescent lamps will stop and the switch to energy-efficient LED lighting will become really urgent. Some companies have yet to start, others have been working on it for years. Like food company HAK, which has been carrying out replacement projects in cooperation with lighting expert itsme for years. Here too, HAK's brand values of health and sustainability are in the spotlight.

HAK, known for its Dutch vegetables, has grown from a traditional cannery for the Benelux to a branded vegetable food company for Northwest Europe. In the North Brabant town of Giessen, 150 employees annually produce millions of the well-known glass jars and, for several years now, stand-up pouches. "Because we depend on nature, our biggest challenge is to get the product in good quality into the jars and bags," says Henk de Graaf, technical project leader and industrial automation engineer. "We are dealing with a seasonal product that depends on weather conditions and must be harvested and processed at the right time." The production process is highly automated and recent investments include energy and water savings. 

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Lighting plan

Sustainability is a major theme at HAK and lighting certainly counts. Partner for this is itsme, which has been supplying electrical engineering components and materials for over thirty years. "For example, we have supplied HAK with advanced fluorescent fixtures in the past. Because with them, quality always comes first," says Hans Verlinden, lighting expert at itsme. "That applies again now to the transition to LED lighting. After all, you are talking about fixtures and lamps that will last for many years. Starting next year, fluorescent tubes will no longer be produced and so companies will have to switch to LED at some point." HAK has been working on that transition for years, reports De Graaf. "Inside, we have already replaced some of the fixtures. In our warehouses, for example, we have almost completely switched to LED. We follow a multi-year plan and replace lighting in one or more halls every year. Currently, about 50% of the fluorescent fixtures on the premises have been replaced. The rest will follow in the next five years."

"That brand stands for quality - exactly what HAK wanted."

For the exterior lighting around the factory, HAK has already started working with itsme as well. Additional challenge here is that the factory is in the middle of a residential area, explains De Graaf. "Appearance to the surroundings we therefore included in our considerations. Our factory was there before and over the years more and more houses have been built around it. Therefore, we want to take the surroundings into account. Good light only falls on the spot that needs to be illuminated and gives as little stray light to the surroundings as possible." Verlinden: "From HAK we got a drawing of the whole plant and with Henk I walked around the grounds to see the locations where new lighting was needed. Because every location is different, in terms of the height at which the lighting should hang and what should or should not be lit. Then we made calculations of the lighting plan to show how the site would be lit in the evening and at night." The final choice was German company Schuch. "That brand stands for quality - exactly what HAK wanted." De Graaf: "Schuch came out on top, with the optimal amount of light versus a limited amount of energy required to do so." In technical jargon, Schuch had the best lumen-to-Watt ratio. "Another advantage of the Schuch fixtures is that you can also tilt them down slightly if necessary, to make sure they don't shine too much forward. That was ideal, although it turned out afterwards that it wasn't necessary."

Energy reduction and safety

The first half of the outdoor fixtures has already been replaced in 2020, the second half is scheduled for this year. Verlinden: "It is very common to divide such a large project into parts, because the costs are considerable. The first part was pulled by my colleague Jan Straetemans just before his retirement." With the first round, HAK has already realized substantial savings, says De Graaf. "In wattage you go down from 250-400 to 70-105 per bulb; that's more than a halving. We can't reflect it exactly in our energy consumption because we have implemented other savings measures at the same time. For example, we have switched to more modern, frequency-controlled pumping systems." Moreover, HAK is not only looking at energy reduction. "We are also doing this for the safety of our production staff. For us, health counts in consumption as well as production."

"A nice even illumination on the work area, without a disturbing shadow effect.

About the cooperation with itsme, De Graaf is also positive. "We like that very much: good advice, fast delivery and good communication. And if there is something, it is solved quickly." Speaking of good advice: tilting fixtures afterwards was therefore unnecessary; apparently itsme's light calculations were correct. "The resulting light image is clear: a nice even illumination on the work area, without a disturbing shadow effect. We have not received any complaints from the neighborhood about this. Yes one, but that concerned a luminaire that had been mounted 180 degrees the wrong way round and was therefore shining into the neighbor's garden. We fixed that and now there are no more complaints."

Looking Up

About HAK's commitment to saving energy on lighting, an enthusiastic Verlinden - "light has been my passion since I was young" - also has absolutely no complaints. However, not all of itsme's customers have reached this point yet. "Light is often a neglected child. It's burning anyway, we have light," is often still the thought. But when fluorescent lamps are no longer available, Holland is in trouble; then they all come to us at once. Some companies have been verLEDding for years, but others still have old stuff hanging around. 'Guys, you suddenly get a financial hit when there's no more TL,' I tell them. 'You could have distributed it better.'" On top of that, when the time comes, there will have to be mechanics to install all those LED fixtures. Verlinden: "That's why I tell our people who visit customers: look up! It's up to us to help customers with fluorescent lighting by pointing out the benefits of switching to LED in a timely manner. Just like HAK has done." 


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