Our Move to LED Lighting In Middlesex Aerospace

Middlesex Aerospace Offices LED Lighting

What is the one thing we have in common with the vast majority of businesses across the UK? We believe it is our drive to reduce our impact on the environment. As a manufacturer, we have already taken huge steps to reduce waste. We have removed single-use plastics, recover fluids, and recycle machined metal much more effectively. But we also need to reduce our energy consumption. Which brings us to our move to LED lighting in Middlesex Aerospace.

The End Of Fluorescent Tube Lighting

Good lighting is crucial in our business processes. It allows staff to be able to conduct visual inspections of components. And it is vital for everyone’s safety too. A badly-lit workplace is an unpleasant environment containing a haven for trip hazards and other injuries. So, for safety and quality, we must ensure we have the best lighting possible.

The To provide excellent lighting, our facilities have historically used fluorescent tubes. While these can reliably provide a good spread of light, they also have their issues, including:

  • Efficiency: Although fluorescent tubes are more efficient than incandescent bulbs, they still consumer a lot of power. A typical tube producing 3,000 Lumens will use 55watts – plus another 5Watts for the ballast. Multiply that by the dozens we have in the factory and offices, and that’s a lot of energy.
  • Short Working Life: In terms of their real-world operating times, flourescent tubes can be a bit of a lottery these days. You will see some claim they will work for up to 5 years, but we find any more than 2 years and they are on borrowed time.
  • Recycling: As they contain mercury, fluorescent tubes are not good for the environment. In fact, tubes are commonly just dumped for incinerating.

Why Go LED?

If you compare LED lighting to the points above, three major benefits spring up.

First, LED lights are far more efficient. To produce the same amount of light as a fluorescent tube, LED systems use less than half the amount of energy. Plus, they don’t require a ballast, saving even more.

Second, LED lights last far longer. Real-world usage shows LED lighting to have a working life of up to 4 times more than a fluorescent tube. That’s around 8 years, meaning less business interruption from maintenance.

And third, LED lighting is more straightforward to recycle. The metal components can be stripped out and the electronics sent to the same facilities which recycle computers.

But perhaps the biggest incentive to upgrade from fluorescent to LED lighting is cost. Compared to our old tubes, LED lights need as little as 10% to keep our facilities bright, productive and safe. Which, in today’s climate of high energy bills, is a major plus.

Moving To A LED-Lit Future

For these reasons we have been undertaking an ongoing programme of upgrading all the lighting currently in place in our facilities. During January we have been completing the final significant stage of this change to LED lighting. Now, all the office spaces within Middlesex Aerospace will feature LED technology, taking our total usage of LED systems to over 95%.

This shift from fluorescent to LED lighting is a major step-change in the sustainability of our business. From lowering our energy consumption to improving recycling – and reducing toxins being released – along with improving safety and quality, our move to LED lighting in Middlesex Aerospace simply can’t be overstated.


Celebrating International Women’s Day

Middlesex Aerospace celebrate International Women's Day

International Women’s Day, falling on 8th March this year, is a good moment for us at Middlesex Aerospace to look at how we could encourage more women to pursue a career in engineering.

We take pride in our efforts to ensure our apprenticeship scheme is open to female students. But this has to be taken in context that, in our wider society, women remain very much a minority.  The UK, like the US, only has around 16% of engineers that are women. Now that is a massive rise from sixty years ago, where women accounted for around 1% of all engineers, but we recognise much more work needs to be done to raise that percentage further.

There is no simple answer to how we can achieve this. And, to be fair, huge strides have been made within education to try and overcome deeply ingrained attitudes to women wanting to work in science disciplines. But if we were to make one small suggestion, it is to try and dispel the myth that, historically, women were never involved in engineering – and to make their achievements much more widely known.

When you look back, women have not just featured in the history of engineering, but also been responsible for many innovations too. We’ll list a few short examples here to illustrate this.

Notable Women In Engineering

When you look back, women have not just featured in the history of engineering. They have also been responsible for many innovations too. We’ll list a few short examples here to illustrate this.

  • Beatrice Shilling, a MSc in mechanical engineering, developed the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine that gave fighter pilots a distinct advantage in combat (Beatrice’s birthday was, coincidentally, also the 8th March).
  • Amy Johnson, famed for her record-breaking solo flights, was 22 years old when she became the first woman to receive a ground engineer certificate from the British Air Ministry.
  • Women have played major roles in NASA space programmes over the years. Honourable mentions here to Kitty O’Brien Joyner, NASA’s first woman engineer, as well as Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.
  • The development of gas-turbines for aircraft is largely down to the work of Dr Margaret Fishenden into combustion and heat transfer.
  • Computing has perhaps seen the most visible achievements from women engineers. There was Ada Lovelace, the very first computer programmer for Babbage’s Analytical Engine. we will also make an honourable mention of the role of so many women in the development of electronic computing in the post-war period.
  • You may know Hedy Lamarr as a famous actress but she was also responsible for developing frequency-hopping technology found today in the likes of Bluetooth enabled devices.

There are many more across different areas in engineering that could join the women highlighted above. The post-war cultural changes to the workplaces has ensured engineering is a career field that can be open to women. But as we are celebrating International Women’s Day we must work harder to remove the barriers that some women may feel are in place. We must celebrate the role than women have played in engineering. Then we will encourage a new generation to take that step and join them.