Constant production and optimum quality
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2 September 2019

Constant production and optimum quality

An important aspect of achieving optimum results is to have sufficient light reception in the crop along with light distribution that is as even as possible. This contributes to constant production as well as crop quality. A light plan is usually used to achieve this. As grow light systems become more capital-intensive, partly due to the rise of LED, growers and investors are increasingly thinking about efficient grow light and what that means for them.

If a grow light system is to make an optimal contribution to achieving the objective that the grower has in mind, an integrated approach is required. Based on this integrated approach, a good light plan takes into account the need for even distribution of the grow light. Uniformity is important for optimum crop production. We promote this optimum production as part of a light plan by finding the optimum between different variables:

1.   Distance between fixtures in the row

The desired light level is used to determine the distance between the fixtures. In order to keep energy consumption at the desired level, sometimes fewer fixtures are used. This means more space between fixtures, which has an impact on evenness.

2.   Distance between rows

The distance between rows is determined by the output of light from the light source, the reflector, and the greenhouse construction. The width of the greenhouse construction and its height in relation to the crop are the limiting factors here.

3.   The available height in the greenhouse

The available height relative to the crop determines the choice of light source and the capacity applied. It also has a direct impact on the evenness. 

4.   Type of light source

The type of light source chosen (HPS, LED or hybrid) is an important factor in the light plan. The choice of light source is based on energy and cultivation technology factors.

5.   The beam angle

The beam angle of the light source also has an effect on the evenness of light on the crop. Low greenhouses and low desired light intensity call for a wide beam angle, i.e. using wide-angle fixtures. In high greenhouses and with a high desired light intensity, narrow-angle fixtures are used.

The optimum between the above variables is identified by a careful examination of the grower's situation and objectives. For example, the energy supply might be insufficient, the investment budget may be fairly low, or there may be a need to reduce operational costs. All of these interests are discussed at a brainstorming session with the grower, Grow Light Performance Consultants, the technical engineer and the account manager. A specially developed light calculation program is used to check the plan developed from this brainstorming session and ensure that it has the desired evenness. In most cases, a business case is created based on the light calculation. This business case includes the Total Cost of Ownership – an accurate representation of the initial investment costs along with recurring operational costs. This is used to come up with the best solution for every customer requirement.

 

Would you like more information on the possibilities for your crop?

For more information, please contact Hortilux's Grow Light Performance Consultants: Stéphane André (06 -10282335 or s.andre@hortilux.com) and Hans de Vries (06-57011488 or h.devries@hortilux.com).