Why is it Important to Have Optics in Grow Lights?
Providing PAR exposure to a crop requires that the grow light both produce an impressive amount of PAR and effectively distribute it to the plant canopy. Unfortunately, most grow lights are not equipped with the optical technology necessary to control the direction in which PAR leaves the fixture, so this valuable energy is absorbed by the walls, the floor, the isles and the plant canopy. While fixtures with poor or non-existent optical systems may produce adequate levels of PAR, they cannot effectively deliver it to the plants, resulting in low PPFD values and lackluster yields.
The OpticPAR™ technology found inside SpecGrade LED grow lights aims every micromole (µmol) of PAR produced by the luminaire onto the plants. The increased intensity of PAR delivered to the plant canopy penetrates the canopy and reaches the lower levels of the plants, resulting in higher yields.
The advanced optics in SpecGrade LED grow lights can distribute PAR in many different patterns to accommodate the unique layout and size of any grow operation. The available optics are described in terms of the degrees in which they distribute the light. Optics are available in symmetrical and asymmetrical distribution patterns. Symmetrical patterns of 30° x 30°, 60°x 60°, 90°x 90° provide a balanced and uniform output on either side of the fixture. Asymmetrical patterns, such as 30° x 90°, 30° x 110° distribute light in a more oval-shaped pattern, a better fit for vertical farming operations or greenhouses.
The OpticPAR technology integrated into SpecGrade LED grow lights create PAR-rich and uniform environments fosters a dramatic plant growth and produce impressive crop yields.
What Metrics Should You use to Compare Grow Lights?
Sunlight is uniquely formulated to provide plants with the range of energy they need to carry out photosynthesis, referred to as photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). Photosynthesis is the primary process through which plants absorb the nutrients that they need to grow. This metric has been refined in the professional plant cultivation industry by horticulturalists that focus on the optimal amounts of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) plants receive from artificial light in order to improve crop health, yield, and quality. Even under natural lighting conditions, the amount of PAR that plants receive will vary seasonally and as a function of the latitude of the growing operation. Artificial horticultural lighting attempts to both standardize and optimize PAR exposure regardless of these seasonal and geographic variables.
Controlling PAR levels is one of the many critical elements of large-scale plant cultivation. SpecGrade LED engineers and manufactures LED grow lighting that includes advanced optics and other features to give cultivation specialists the best optical technology for their operations.
The photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) emitted by its LED fixtures. PPF is a measure of the total amount of light that an LED or other light source emits within a given amount of time.
The photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) of grow lighting, which is a measurement of the number of photons that reach a defined area within a given amount of time.
What Should I look for in the Construction of a Grow Light?
The operative term here is Robust Engineering. Indoor horticultural facilities will find a growing number of options for LED grow light systems, all of which will generate a certain quantity of lighting to support the facility’s operations. The differences between those systems are generally found in the engineering that goes into their designs and functions. SpecGrade LED has incorporated the most robust engineering in the lighting industry into its next generation LED grow light systems, bringing more than 30 years of experience in designing and manufacturing LED lighting for commercial and industrial facilities.
What sets SpecGrade fixtures apart from other lighting manufacturers is the highly sophisticated engineering process and OpticPAR Technology that goes into each product in our lineup. We’ve raised the bar for industrial lighting and we’re proud to introduce next level LED technology to growers and horticulturalists worldwide.
All of OpticPAR’s LED grow light systems include the following advanced LED engineering innovations:
Our 10-year Warranty says it all. We believe that our products are engineered to stand the test of time.
Why Should I know about Photosynthesis?
Plants use photosynthesis to produce carbohydrates from inorganic substrates. All organisms need energy to grow and reproduce. The respiration reaction uses carbohydrates like glucose as a substrate. Whereas humans eat food to provide the fuel for respiration, plants make their own through photosynthesis.
Why is µmol/J important?
The ratio µmol/J is important simply because it demonstrates the fixture’s efficacy. The higher the number the more efficient the fixture operates. However, this number does not tell the whole story. Ultimately, the amount of PPFD, or the amount of photons that reach a defined area within a given amount of time and of course the yield, is ultimately the most important metrics that should be considered.
What is PAR & Why is it Important in Artificial Lighting?
Plants need light to live. More specifically, plants need exposure to photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), the spectrum of light wavelengths used by plants for photosynthesis. During photosynthesis, plants absorb PAR and convert it into the chemical energy necessary for survival. Maximizing the PAR exposure received by each plant stimulates unprecedented growth and flower production, increasing the overall yield of the crop.
How do you Measure PAR?
There are two metrics commonly used to measure the amount of PAR available in a grow area. The photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) measures the total amount of PAR produced by the lighting fixture, but it does not consider whether the fixture delivers the PAR energy to the plants. The photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) describes the amount of PAR that reaches the canopy of the plant. It is measured in micromoles per square meter per second (µmol/m2/s). Reputable grow lighting manufacturers will provide an average PPFD value provided by a grow light and include details such as the recommended distance from the light source to the canopy, example room size, and the calculation density (the number and spacing of PPFD measurements used to generate the average PPFD value). The higher the PPFD value of a grow fixture, the more PAR exposure it provides to the plant canopy.
Why is Spectral Quality Important?
Sunlight is uniquely formulated to provide plants with the range of energy they need to carry out photosynthesis, referred to as photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). Providing indoor plants access to PAR-rich light is a key challenge faced by the cultivator trying to grow a healthy, productive, and high-yield crop. SpecGrade LED grow lights now offer professional growers the spectral quality to mirror the light energy delivered by the sun or provide a tailored, proprietary spectral blend that more efficiently delivers the specific types of light used by the plant for photosynthesis and growth.
The spectral quality of a grow light describes the light energy it produces. Sunlight contains some UV radiation, but is mostly comprised of visible light and infrared energy. The range of energy that plants use for photosynthesis, called PAR, exists between 400 and 700nm. Sunlight contains every wavelength of light in the PAR energy spectrum at a relatively similar intensity. The balanced and comprehensive spectral quality of sunlight is visible in its spectral power distribution (SPD) curve. SPD curves illustrate the output of a light source it terms of the various light energies it contains, often represented by its correlating visible light color, and the relative intensity at which they are produced.
For years, lighting manufacturers struggled to create a light source with an SPD curve that imitated the smooth and balanced SPD curve of the sun. The output of fluorescent, metal halide and other discharge lamps was often marked by bursts and valleys of the different light energies, creating SPD curves with sizable gaps or significant skew to one wavelength of energy or another. In terms of farming, these light sources provided plants with incomplete light, containing only a portion of the total PAR energy that could be used for photosynthesis.
SpecGrade LED grow lights feature a unique blend of LEDs which allow the fixtures to produce white light with the full spectral quality of daylight.
SpecGrade LED grow lights combine various kelvin temperatures of white and deep red LEDs to produce white light that contains the full and complete spectrum of PAR energy found in daylight. Now growers can nurture their indoor crop with the unique blend of light energy that used to be found only in nature.
Beyond PAR energy, plants take an incredible number of growth cues from the spectrum of light they receive. Both leaf size and stem length are influenced by the type of light energy absorbed by the plant. SpecGrade LED can build a custom-printed LED circuit board enabling a grower to precisely tailor the spectrum of light delivered to the crop.
Why Use an Entire Life-Cycle Full Spectrum White Light?
In a word, ‘experience’. Although ‘Full Spectrum’ a marketing term implying that the product emulates natural light Grow Lights are specifically intended to support plant growth with varying degrees of success and energy efficiency. Because plants need different wavelengths of light at different points in their growing cycle it is important to look at test data for your plant before specifying a spectrum. More specifically, more blue wavelengths enhance vegetative growth and development, while the addition of increasing amounts of red light enhances budding, flowering and fruiting which is critical to the many of these types of plants. As you can see by our spectrum we integrate larger amount of these colors into our LED chip counts so that the grower needs to use only one spectrum for the entire life cycle of the plant.
What is an IP Rating & Why is it Important?
The use of water and liquid chemicals, as well as the dirt and dust in the air, can challenge the lifespan of the LED lighting fixtures not designed to withstand a wet and dirty environment. Luckily, there is a rating standard that clearly identifies grow fixtures designed to prevent liquid, dust and dirt from penetrating the electronics and shorting out the circuit board.
The Ingress Protection (IP) rating system, established by the International Electro technical Commission (IEC), rates the ability of electronic equipment, or enclosures for electronic equipment, to prevent the ingress of solids and liquids. Products earn an IP code, comprised of the letters IP followed by two digits (example: IP65). Each digit classifies the degree of protection the product is designed to provide against the intrusion of solids or liquids. The first digit quantifies the level of protection against the ingress of solid objects (such as fingers, dust, and dirt). The second digit represents the level of protection against the ingress of liquids. The higher the value of each digit, the more robust the defense provided by the product.
Featuring thoughtful and robust engineering, SpecGrade LED grow lights have received IP ratings of either IP42 or IP65, indicating that the fixtures will not be damaged or become unsafe in either damp (IP42) or wet (IP65) locations. The VERTA™ vertical grow LED fixture, with a IP rating of IP42, is protected against the ingress of falling drops of water and condensation, enabling this fixture to function in damp environments. Both the CANNA™ commercial grow LED and the LINEA™ compact grow LED have achieved the IP65 rating, indicating that these fixtures are protected against liquid ingress from condensation, falling drops, sprays, splashes, and even low-pressure water jets from any direction.
With the electrical connections and electronic circuit boards safely and securely sealed, the use of water and liquid chemicals does not threaten the functionality of SpecGrade LED grow lights. Specify rugged SpecGrade LED grow lights and spray away.
Why is a Grow Fixture’s Thermal Management System Important?
As LED fixtures produce light, they also produce heat. The thermal management system in the fixture pulls the heat away from the LEDs and dissipates it, so that the heat-sensitive diodes do not fail prematurely. A passive technology called a heat sink is typically used to absorb unwanted heat, but, there is a tremendous difference in the size and quality of heat sinks used in grow lighting. If the heat sink is poorly constructed, a motorized fan is often added to the fixture to assist in cooling it down.
Unfortunately, motorized fans are poorly suited to survive the conditions of a grow operation. The accessible vents and whirring blades are vulnerable to the bugs, dirt, water, debris and chemicals commonly found in the space. Fixtures with motorized fans feature more potential points of failure. If the motor or fan is damaged or unable to effectively cool the fixture, the LEDs are likely to overheat and fail, exposing an operation to downtime that may compromise the crop. Avoid these potential pitfalls by selecting a grow fixture that uses a 100% passive thermal management system.
Why is SpecGrade LED’s Grow Light Lifetime Guarantee Important?
Our Lifetime Guarantee assures you that your SpecGrade LED investment will always remain current with technology. Your purchase of any of our grow lights qualifies you to have the LED printed circuit board updated when the efficacy improves by at least 20% at a minimal cost. Our modular engineering will allow you to replace the boards yourself to minimize downtime.
Why is a 10-year Warranty Important?
We are so confident that our LED lights will stand up to the harsh elements of a grow environment we are willing to extend a 10-year warranty to our customers. Before purchasing your next grow lights you should ask yourself the following question: Why is our competition not too offering a 10-year warranty?
Need a custom lighting layout design for your greenhouse, vertical farm, or other facility?
Our team would be glad to provide one for you. Simply provide us the details by completing one of our custom lighting layout request forms. Email it to us along with any pictures and/or DWG file. We will provide you with a custom layout diagram with optimal lighting placement to maximize yields.
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