Multi-vendor Bluetooth Mesh SSL projects benefit warehouse and factory settings

July 15, 2020
Yamaha warehouse and Crystal bottled water facility leverage Bluetooth Mesh to slash energy use with the help of Silvair, McWong, Fulham, PentaLux, and others.

Silvair Lighting Control has released the details of two Bluetooth Mesh-based LED retrofit projects that illustrate the energy savings potential of connected lighting and the ability to mix and match Bluetooth products from different vendors. PentaLux, McWong, Fulham, and Contemporary Energy Solutions also teamed on the projects at a Yamaha engine warehouse located in Pleasant Prairie, WI and at a Crystal bottled water plant in Mableton, GA.

Warehouses were among the applications that were true early adopters for LED lighting and networked controls. We first covered such solid-state lighting (SSL) technology back in 2010 with the promise that connected LED lighting could deliver 90% savings in warehouses. The connected LED technology was a perfect match with warehouses that can sit dark much of the time and lighting that can be turned on or off instantly based on need. Indeed, future warehouses that are totally automated may operate without lights.

Yamaha warehouse

The Yamaha warehouse project is another in a long line of warehouse case studies we have published with positive results in terms of cutting energy usage. The project stood out, however, because it involved technology from multiple vendors that had to be integrated for desired operation. It actually mixes two wireless schemes. And the warehouse case study shows the benefits Bluetooth Mesh affords in commissioning.

The warehouse measures 150,000 ft2 and involved 320 Orion LED high-bay fixtures. In each fixture, the team integrated the McWong TruBlu Bluetooth sensors and controllers. The TruBlu products are based on enabling technology and software developed by Silvair. Moreover, the installation includes a battery- and power-free EnOcean master switch that can switch all of the lighting off. That switch is powered by energy harvesting.

Silvair reported that commissioning of the entire system required only around three hours. “The commissioning process was incredibly fast,” said Tony Savalle, eastern sales manager at McWong. “Working with project partners PentaLux and Contemporary Energy Solutions, we commissioned the entire project in approximately three hours.”

Crystal factory

The Crystal bottled water factory uses a similar system to control 550 luminaires including high-bay factory lighting and also office lighting. Distributor PentaLux designed and commissioned the project. The move to LED lighting delivered a 30% baseline reduction in energy usage. That reduction equates to $85,000 in annual savings for Crystal. The Bluetooth controls achieved an additional $45 in savings per node, bringing total savings to $110,000 annually.

In the Crystal project, TruBlue sensors and controllers and Fulham controllers were deployed in different fixture types. The system has been programmed to dim the light level by 50% after five minutes with no occupancy detected and to extinguish the lights in a zone after five more minutes. PentaLux had used a Silvair web app to create the zone strategy, and that was realized during commissioning with a mobile app.

“The ability to pick and choose from a variety of hardware manufacturers and put them together on the same Bluetooth platform to control the light fixture of our customer’s choosing is a testament to what an open standard control system should look like,” said Romano Vlastelica, founder of PentaLux.

The Bluetooth Mesh technology base appears to be maturing nicely. As we covered in a 2018 story, the technology got off to what some considered to be a slow start. We had also covered the way that Bluetooth and EnOcean technology might be utilized in an installation.

For up-to-the-minute LED and SSL updates, why not follow us on Twitter? You’ll find curated content and commentary, as well as information on industry events, webcasts, and surveys on our LinkedIn Company Page and our Facebook page.

About the Author

Maury Wright | Editor in Chief

Maury Wright is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade. Wright first wrote for LEDs Magazine as a contractor in 2010, and took over as Editor-in-Chief in 2012. He has broad experience in technology areas ranging from microprocessors to digital media to wireless networks that he gained over 30 years in the trade press. Wright has experience running global editorial operations, such as during his tenure as worldwide editorial director of EDN Magazine, and has been instrumental in launching publication websites going back to the earliest days of the Internet. Wright has won numerous industry awards, including multiple ASBPE national awards for B2B journalism excellence, and has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards. He received a BS in electrical engineering from Auburn University.