Industrial, News

Radical plasma lighting installed at warehouse

This 11,200 m2 distribution centre has become one of the first in the world to be lit with high-efficiency plasma lighting.

A revolutionary lighting technology has been used to illuminate a warehouse in the UK.

High-efficiency plasma lighting has been installed at a contact-lens distribution centre in Farnham, UK, making it one of the first facilities in the world to be lit this way. The 11,200 m2 warehouse – which employs over 500 people – has a maximum ceiling height of 11m.

HOW IT WORKS: High-efficiency plasma technology is a unique genre of electrodeless, radio-frequency driven lighting invented by Ceravision. The RF energy in the microwave range creates a high-intensity plasma discharge in gas and metal halide salts. The lighting platform consists of four integrated elements:Quartz RF resonator/plasma burner (lamp), the transition unit (the system which couples the RF energy from the source into the resonator), the RF microwave source in the form of a magnetron and finally the AC/DC power supply. The resonator/burner contains an inert gas and metal halide salts. RF microwave energy resonating within the lamp ionizes the gas to form a plasma that combines with the metal halide to vaporize the metal halide salts, emitting an intense, bright light.

Following a review, CooperVision facility manager Mark Hickman initiated a lighting revamp with two clear objectives in mind. Maintenance of the incumbent T5 lighting system had become inconvenient and very expensive and the company wished to slash the cost. In addition the company wanted to improve considerably the amount and quality of light that was provided in all the working areas. 

However, whilst wanting to improve light quality the company is very aware of its environmental responsibilities and was keen not to increase energy consumption. In addition, as tasks carried out in various areas are so different, as well as taking place at different times, it was important that any new lighting system could be dimmed and controlled automatically. 

‘We have some very high racking and in the aisles, with our previous lighting, the operators found it hard to read labels below shoulder level’, says Hickman.

Hickman then explored plasma lighting with supplier Ceravision. The patented technology provides full spectrum light with excellent colour rendering in a small light source that can be optimally focused and dimmed to 50 per cent. The plasma lamps are housed in specially constructed high bay luminaires.

The number of plasma fixtures installed compared to the original fluorescents has been reduced from 285 to 190. With the current usage pattern and lamp lifetime of 25,000 hours, the installation will be maintenance free for four years, says the company.

Lighting levels have increased from the 250 lux achieved previously in open areas (and much lower in aisles). 450 lux is now achieved in open areas and 300 lux in aisles. Whilst not the overriding objective of the reinstallation, an energy saving is now being achieved of 39 per cent. 


  • Lux is hosting a special Lighting for Logistics and Warehousing conference in Amsterdam on Thursday 29 September and Friday 30 September. It’s free for all those involved with the management of storage and distribution. To view the details and register for a free place, click on the conference logo here