New Hampshire Ball Bearing Begins Facility-Wide Upgrade to Lower Energy Costs and Improve Workforce Experience

Download PDF


New Hampshire Ball Bearings, Inc. (NHBB) is a leading manufacturer of precision bearings and complex bearing assemblies for the aerospace, defense, medical, dental, and high technology markets. The company operates three manufacturing facilities in the US and employs over 1,500 workers. Founded in Peterborough, NH in 1946, NHBB was purchased in 1985 by the global manufacturing conglomerate, MinebeaMitsumi.

The Astro Division, located in Laconia, NH, is home to a 157,000 square foot manufacturing facility that employs 475 workers operating three daily shifts. The lighting in the factory had become dim. Keith Taylor, NHBB’s Project Engineer used a light meter to test the situation to start gathering data to support a needed capital improvement. Their T5-HO system was over ten years old, and changing out the lamps that caused the diminished quality of light on the tandem four-foot fixtures required the maintenance team to remove a worker from their station. Even though NHBB has a facility-wide preventative maintenance program, the lamp light output was inconsistent, yellow, and increasingly hard to control. Knowing Eversource, NHBB’s energy provider, had commercial LED lighting incentive programs available, NHBB created a phase one request for proposal seeking innovative lighting solutions that would improve the facility lighting long-term, decrease energy costs, qualify for incentives, and achieve the return on investment needed to gain capital expense approval. NHBB chose a phased approach for their LED lighting upgrades to validate the expected outcomes and to optimize the utility incentive programs.


Leading Edge Design Group (LEDG) evaluated NHBB’s current lighting system, facility needs, and potential energy savings. NHBB chose a linear LED 8-foot fixture and intelligent lighting control solution for phase one which covered a third of the manufacturing area and a quarter of the entire facility.

The new LED lighting system provides a higher quality of light throughout the phase one area. The lighting controls occupancy sensors enabled NHBB to program areas for light output to snap on, gradually increase, or decrease, as an example, by 30%. NHBB also created zones and programmed the light output depending on activities in the area. The implemented controls solution is a business intelligence platform that combines connected lighting, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, and software. The platform supports a smart-building strategy enabling facility managers to automate other areas when they are read, like connecting their HVAC system to take advantage of the occupancy sensors to manage the temperature for large conference rooms and tie in CO2 sensors for air exchange optimization.


The new LED lighting solution with Eversource incentives is projected to have a 2.6-year ROI and an annual energy savings of 221,000 kWhs. With the on-demand data provided by the controls solution, NHBB was able to apply for incentives programs for phase two and three that includes the expansion to LED task and machine lighting. The addition of lighting controls enabled NHBB to achieve the required ROI needed for corporate approval of all three phases.