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Germany: A varied range of products for LED plant lightingLED plant lighting has been discussed for many years. LED lighting offers benefits such that the light spectrum can be set to suit the desired production aim. For energy efficiency reasons LED can provide stronger light for the same power input. Many solutions allow this change in lighting systems without new installation and new light spectra are coming onto the market. Specialist journalist Werner Oschek provides us with an overview.
Sanlight is a new name in the LED plant lighting sector. Photo: Werner Oschek
Newly developed light LED-KE 300
With its newly developed light LED-KE, DH Licht (Wülfrath) is replacing the LED production model III DRBFR, which is no longer manufactured. The two newly constructed extruded aluminium housings – one for the electronic driver unit, the other for the LED circuit boards – can be easily connected without the need for tools but can also be operated separately. Both housings are designed in such a way that the drivers and LED circuit boards can be carried out on site. Up to now it was necessary to dispose of the entire lamp, at least with some manufacturers.
The circuit boards are fitted with LEDs with five different spectra from 400 to 730 nm, of which four can be controlled using the software ViSuSpektrum or its upgrade ViSuSpektrum 2.0 with many new functions. The driver technology allows flicker-free regulation of the LEDs. DH Licht calls this option hybrid dimming.
With a power input of 300 Watt the LED-KE 300 produces more than 560 µmol/m²s and a very broad PAR spectrum that is accessible for plants. The lighting angle is set using the LED lens technology – no further reflector is required in order to reduce the efficiency. Besides the opportunity to adjust the lamps as required to the cultures or the growth stage of the plants it is also possible to modify the growth pattern of the cultures. Some research projects have already been created for this purpose.
Reaction to UV radiation
It was possible to prove different reactions of the plants to UV-A or UV-B radiation. Particularly in young plant cultivation and when preparing plants for outdoor cultivation good results have already been achieved with UV light. According to DH Licht other areas are waiting to be researched. The company is committed to looking into this radiation and has developed relevant products for horticulture and the research.
The DIN must be observed for all UV lights and UV lamps. The rooms where UV light is used must be clearly indicated. In particular people must protect their eyes and skin.
Water jet protected LED light MGR-E 400 UV
The MGR-E 400 UV is an IP 65 water jet protected light that comprises two housings with an illuminant in principle wavelengths from 280 to 500 nm. It thus covers the UV-range from 315 to 380 nm. With a power input of 400 Watt, driven by an electronic ballast by DH Licht, this light is suitable for intensive or large-scale radiation according to information from the company.
The MGR-E 424 UV is an IP 65 water jet protected light with UV-A radiation in the wavelength range 315 to 400 nm. A small proportion of two percent of UV-B radiation is also present. The lamp can be dimmed from one to 100 percent and can therefore also be used in smaller rooms. The wide beam angle of the reflector allows the lighting of a large area with little power. The ballasts are integrated into the light. Connection is via the five-pole plug system in the MGR series.
‘Hortisense’: software interprets data
Hortilux Schréder (NL-Monster) is introducing the digital data platform ‘Hortisense’, which displays the light processing in the greenhouse for example. This software interprets the data and offers the horticulturist all the important information that he or she can then call up anywhere and at any time using any device.
A module prevents the overheating of transformers or electrical contacts and secures the power supply. The ‘Light Management’ module displays the light quantity in real time that reached the plants from the sun and the lighting. The maintenance module displays information on further factors such as the lifespan of the lamps or notes on faults or discrepancies. This gives the grower an overview of the lighting system at all times, thus improving the effectiveness of the system and securing the function of the electrical installation, according to Hortilux. The software combines all the relevant information for the lighting.
The software also offers further opportunities, for example lighting strategies on the basis of plant physiology or life cycle. It allows automatic light settings, based on the analysis of forecasts such as the weather forecast, energy or product prices.
‘Direct Drive’: alternatives to sodium steam lamps
Indo Lighting (UK-Southampton) was established in 2007 and terms itself as a pioneer in ‘Direct Drive’ LED street lighting. Direct Drive is a LED technology that was developed by Indo in order to be able to do without LED drivers.
The company offers ‘Direct Drive’ LED growth lighting that can be exchanged 1:1 for existing sodium steam lights and save 50 percent of energy with a claimed lifespan of 100,000 operating hours. This is why the manufacturer claims that the system can be operated for 20 years without maintenance. The otherwise standard LED drivers would normally need to be exchanged after four to eight years.
The fittings are light and thin and do not require active cooling. The light spectrum can be optimised in accordance with the customer’s requirements and the LEDs can be dimmed.
New name in LED plant lighting
One relatively new name in LED plant lighting is Sanlight (A-Schruns). The company was established in 2012 by Martin Anker and David Schmidmayr. It sees its core competence in the development and production of high quality LED plant lighting solutions and in research and consultancy. Besides its serial products the company also develops and produces special solutions. With its own research and through research cooperation it is continually generating new knowledge that is integrated into its products.
According to the company information the Sanlight LED lights increase productivity and improve cost efficiency. All Sanlight products are passively cooled and are characterised by a long lifespan, a robust nature and efficiency.
From a technological point of view Sanlight takes a different approach to many of its competitors. It tries to keep ‘colour conversion’, through which red light is generated from blue light, to a minimum. If red is generated directly by means of the corresponding semiconductor combination then this is much more effective, according to Schmidmayr.
Another point is the special free-form look, through which the light is applied purposely in a square form onto the target area, giving the same intensity at all points. This results in homogeneous stocks across the cultivation area.
The Sanlight P4 series offers lighting over large areas
According to company information the Sanlight P4 series is the first choice for the lighting of large areas and in rough conditions. It has an IP64 protection class and was developed for use in greenhouses and in multi-level systems with high light requirements. It is available in different versions, for example with regard to beam characteristics or spectra and it can therefore be adapted optimally to individual requirements. It represents a full-value substitute for traditional lights.
The standard spectrum produces a warm white light for pleasant working conditions and a natural display of the plants that looks similar to sunlight. The growing pattern in this spectrum is also said to be comparable to that under natural sunlight. Besides the natural spectrum special spectra are also available, for example to promote compact growth. For maximum economy and efficiency the company states that this requires the individual light planning and consultancy that it offers its customers.
The Sanlight S2W was developed for medium-sized to small indoor cultivation areas. The Sanlight M30 module was developed for small to very small indoor areas.
The LED plant lighting modules Flex 10 and Flex 20 were developed as flexible, modular plant lighting systems for professional use, indoors and outdoors. They are particularly suited to space-saving multi-level systems and as a replacement for traditional neon tubes.
Natural spectrum with professional LED growth light
LightDNA is a new line of products with professional LED growth light by Valoya (FIN-Helsinki). The aim of the LightDNA products is to deliver a natural outer beam with regard to the spectrum range, the light intensity and the photoperiod. After the Valoya LightDNA Dynamic Light, which was first presented in 2016, the ‘2 Channel Light’ and the ‘8 Channel Light’ are now being introduced.
The light spectrum in the ‘2 Channel Light’ is very close to the spectrum of sunlight in a clear sky and can simulate twilight and light cloud cover. The field light of any location around the world can be simulated using the ‘8 Channel Light’.
Werner Oschek is a freelance journalist for the green sector and works for the specialist periodical ‘Gärtnerbörse’ and other publications.
For more information:
T: +49 7321 9594 290
F: +49 7321 9594 299
Publication date: 2/12/2018
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