Summary: Providing the right amount of light for a task can have a significant impact on efficiency, productivity, and safety. The amount of light needed to properly illuminate a task or process can vary by application.
The Illumination Engineering Society (IES) recommends illumination levels for hundreds of specific applications in industrial settings. This article explains how to determine lighting needs by looking at lux and lumens.
Lux: The amount of light that is cast on a surface is called illuminance, which is measured in lux. This can be thought of as light intensity within a specific area.
Lumens: The total output of visible light from a light source is measured in lumens. Typically, the more lumens a light fixture provides, the brighter it is.
One lux is equal to one lumen per square meter (lux = lumens/m2). Essentially, as light travels from the emitter, it will disperse throughout an area. The further the light has to travel the more it will be dispersed. Therefore, the amount of lux in an area or on a surface can vary depending upon the distance the light travels and the angle at which it is dispersed.
Where the lumens provided by a given emitter are the same, light that travels less distance and/or is more narrowly focused will appear brighter because lux are concentrated in a smaller area than light that has traveled a greater distance and has been dispersed over a wider area.