Dutch LED innovation: More scalable and improved light source

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“Simply adjusting a few sliders won’t work for long.” That accurate observation comes from Niels Damen of Climalux. In Hoek van Holland (the Netherlands), they quickly realized that a ‘computer’ was needed alongside the complete LED fixture to properly manage all the options available to growers. The light source and the self-developed Power Supply Unit are finished, and the company has expanded its product range with a new Horticulture Control Unit.

However, the Operational Manager of the lighting producer, known for a fixture with an integrated fan, realizes that the rapidly evolving LED market is never ‘finished’. For this reason, the company is attending GreenTech Amsterdam to showcase an advanced light source. From now on, the company offers two options.

Horticulture Control Unit
The current Horticulture Control Unit (HCU) from the CTR series, could have already been seen at the horticulture fair IPM in Essen. “It was the first HCU we brought to market. This HCU resulted from several prototypes over the past years. This CTR series is centrally positioned in the greenhouse and can be flexibly controlled and operated.”

The new HCU, from the MOD series, was developed in collaboration with an external Dutch partner. “They gave the hardware an update. The new PLC we are using is more compact and scalable, and in the field it is deployable in a modular way. In principle, you can now unlimitedly connect our CLX V1000 grow lights.”

Climalux at IPM Essen 2024

New product line
From now on, Climalux will offer two product lines of HCUs. The difference lies in scalability. “Our current CTR series is suitable for an area up to about five hectares.” In the run-up to the fair in Amsterdam, the new product line undergoes what Niels calls ‘a stress test’. “After that, we will launch the product for practical use in the winter of 2025-2026.”

Alex Dekkers of Climalux during the stress test, with Van Wensen Elektrotechniek and Paneelbouw, partners of Climalux. The grower can choose for analog or digital control of the LED lighting system. Especially in case of emergencies, manual operation or a timer can still come in handy.

Lighting plan
In both cases, the connection of the lighting systems to the customer’s climate computer is the same. “We opt for a wired connection via our HCU. It’s important to set up the system with all its possibilities at once as soon as the connection is established. We use the grower’s lighting plan to do so.”

The Climalux fixtures are equipped with a daylight spectrum. The fixture is dimmable, the intensity is adjustable, and the fan can be controlled independently of the lamp. “You can dim the lamps by sets of four. Customers can indicate groups to do so. In this way, it’s very well possible to light up dark spots a bit more.”

The possibility to adjust the LED lighting based on the current energy price has already been tested, says Niels when asked. “You can dim in steps of 1 percent, in this way the light can be adjusted smoothly and precisely. Growers tend to still take the daylight sum into account when they adjust the lighting. It’s possible to have lighting that is exactly opposite to daylight. In this way, you maintain a stable net light level throughout the day.”

Left: Niels Damen of Climalux during the test with the new HCU

Further developing the light source
As mentioned, Climalux is also concerned with developing the light source. “We’re going to work with a different type of LEDs,” explains Niels.”This allows us to respond more quickly to market demand, and it increases the efficiency of the fixtures. It also allows for a more flexible spectrum choice.”

The spectrum remains a daylight spectrum, emphasizes the Operational Manager. However, the new fixture can respond to specific spectrum wishes of customers. “For example, more or less far-red, or changes in red or blue light.” In Amsterdam, Niels is eager to discuss the new options of the fixtures with fair visitors. The new fixtures were entirely developed in the Netherlands.

Crossing borders
Developments in the LED lighting market are still changing quickly. “The time when we had to calculate ourselves how many mmol came out of an LED is far behind us,” Niels says. “Challenged by the market, we’ve once again thoroughly examined and confirmed all the advantages of our systems. With the further development of our light source, we kill two birds with one stone. The efficiency, also of our already known fixture, improves and the new fixture gets additional options.”

Climalux used to be a development company, but is increasingly shifting towards becoming a production company. For this reason, they’ve recently slowed down their activities concerning the lamp. However, new improvements have been made. “In the meantime, we’ve totally completed our product range.” Climalux wants to enter the international market with this range. “All the developments happening in this competitive market are just as relevant for growers across the border.”

At Climalux, they see an important role for the LED lamp in The New Cultivation. “We utilize hundred percent of the lamp energy: fifty percent for light and fifty percent for heat. This makes our fixture 25-30% more efficient than HPS fixtures, and we achieve a gas saving for heating of 35%.”

Climalux will be at GreenTech Amsterdam from June 11-13, 2024: stand 05.307.

For more information:
Niels Damen
[email protected]

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