It’s too easy to assume that something as basic as machine lighting will be adequate when making a machine purchase, especially online with an overseas product. With our focus often on speed, safety, and return on investment, rudimentary details slip through the cracks. Unfortunately for manufacturers, ‘the devil is in the details’ when it comes to the equipment we purchase. Low cost equipment is low cost for a reason, and even important elements like lighting can be designed cheaply in order to justify the price tag. Here’s what can go wrong when you cut corners on machinery lighting.

Poor Lighting Equals Poor Output

In manufacturing equipment, lighting is fairly essential to the process, as one might imagine. Under poor lighting, operators cannot maintain standards of quality control, accuracy, or safety. Injuries are more likely to occur, resulting in liability, medical costs, potential OSHA fines, work stoppage, and loss of skilled workers when lighting is not bright enough, or frequently fails1. No machine, no matter how automated or advanced, can safely and efficiently operate if employees and machinists cannot adequately monitor its functionality.

As a result, a seemingly cost-effective machine can rack up all kinds of unforeseen expenses in potential ruined product and accidents without a proper lighting upgrade. If you’ve already made an equipment purchase before reading our blog, don’t worry, you still have plenty of lighting augmentation options for ensuring quality control and high standards of workplace safety and output.

LED or Fluorescent?

Machine lighting specialists like Waldmann Lighting design an array of quality lighting for CNC machines that can be installed post-assembly in the event that your equipment purchase arrives with inferior lighting for your application. CNC machines specifically can utilize incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, or LED lights, however, “not all lighting is created equal” according to Richard May Jr., industrial sales manager for task lighting manufacturer O.C. White Co. LEDs, though superior in targeted light production and longevity, can be up to three times the cost other lighting options, according to CNC Solutions’ own president Ron Roehl as quoted by Cutting Tool Engineering Magazine in their own article on machine lighting.

However, as previously mentioned, ‘the devil is in the details’ and a higher upfront cost does not necessarily mean a higher price overall. Other more inferior lighting requires more frequent maintenance, resulting in work stoppage, and light bulb replacement costs. LEDs might cost more initially, but their quality and longevity can actually make them a more cost effective solution at the end of the day. Ron laid out the following scenario in Cutting Tool Engineering Magazine to get the point across:

“If a lamp burns out, you have to shut the machine down, hire an electrician who has to pull the light out, disassemble the enclosure while, hopefully, not compromising the integrity of the waterproofing, put a new bulb in, then reverse the process. Between the cost of the bulb and the cost of all that downtime, how much money are you really saving? The cost of changing two bulbs is going to add up to the difference in the price of buying the LED in the first place.”

As you can probably imagine by now, ensuring that your machine is outfitted with the right kind of lighting is not always a simple process, and multiple lighting options have their own set of pros and cons. At CNC Solutions, our automation and equipment engineers frequently manage the retrofitting of existing machinery to the customer’s unique needs. Some processes even require an entirely custom solution, and we are more than up to the job. If you are still in need of additional guidance in upgrading your machinery lighting please don’t hesitate to connect with our lighting experts at CNC Solutions.

LED Lighting

Above: An example of LED lighting CNC Solutions can provide


1 Comment

Add Comment