There is no denying the importance of lighting when working on a task. Working requires lighting that aids in visibility without harsh shadows to help get the job done right. Whether operating a large-scale operation or a small local setup, there are a few things to know about choosing a machine shop lighting application.
The first step is to evaluate the needs of general lighting. General lighting is the light in a space that is not task-based or accent related. When it comes to this type of lighting for a machine shop lighting application, you should first evaluate the space and natural light sources. If your location has adequate natural light sources, it will help reduce the need for artificial lighting. Even with good natural light, you will still need a few types of general lighting to accommodate shifts in the location of natural light, areas without light, and night time work.
One of the most common types of lighting for a machine shop lighting application is overhead fluorescents. They are long-lasting with an average life rating of up to 30,000 hours in most models and offer a clean, bright light in various lumen outputs. This light can be surface mounted, recessed, or suspended, depending on your preference and location. You can even opt for the slightly more expensive option of LED which will last even longer than fluorescents and offers no warm up time. Another form of general lighting that is great for workshops is track lighting. This lighting is great for illuminating a specific area instead of a more overall lighting. It is especially useful for areas where the natural lighting isn’t as powerful. This lighting is a good choice also because it is versatile and changeable. If you want to re-direct where the illumination is cast later, it is easy to do so without much effort.
For areas such as shelves, drawers, and cabinets, undercabinet lighting and rope lights are a great choice. This allows visibility perfect for workshops. Adding an overhead light to this type of area might not provide the illumination needed if the fixture is obstructed by a cabinet. You would only get a small percentage of the light available and it would mostly likely produce harsh shadows which would further reduce visibility. With rope lighting, you get illumination directly in the areas where you need it most.
Once you have figured out your general lighting setup, the next step is task lighting. Floodlights are a great choice for illuminating large projects while smaller projects usually require a smaller light. Task lighting is all about improving visibility. For many shops, work requiring better visibility is performed at a designated location such as a work table. When choosing lighting for this area, what matters is how you place it. In general, the closer the fixture to the work area the better the visibility which is why you should aim to stay within the work plane guideline when possible.
When it comes to lighting your workshop, you will definitely need to try different lights mixed together to achieve the right balance and brightness. Remember, the most important factor in all areas will always be visibility so make that the focus of your lighting layout and create a well-lit environment in no time.