Signify to acquire two livestock lighting companies

Spectrally tuned systems can help fatten up indoor poultry, pigs, and other animals, and can even help calm them down, the companies claim.

Once says that its lights can help broiler chickens like these keep calm and carry on eating. [Photo credit: Image courtesy of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS); available in the public domain. Photo by Stephen Ausmus.]
Once says that its lights can help broiler chickens like these keep calm and carry on eating. [Photo credit: Image courtesy of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS); available in the public domain. Photo by Stephen Ausmus.]

With human-centric and horticultural lighting both getting plenty of attention these days, Signify this week gave equal time to animals, agreeing to acquire two companies that specialize in tunable indoor LED lighting intended to assure healthier, better fed, and less stressed livestock.

The world’s largest lighting company said the deal to acquire Once Inc. (Plymouth, MN) and iLOX (Vechta, Germany) should close this quarter.

Once Inc. had agreed to acquire iLOX last year.

Between them, the companies make lighting systems geared toward raising poultry, pigs, fish, and other animals so that they fatten up well.

In a promotional video on its website, Once states that its proprietary “photo-biology systems...are designed to influence desirable biological processes to achieve optimum results.”

For example, it said that its AgriShift systems leads to “significant increase in weight and improved feed conversion” among chickens reared indoors.

Once said that it tunes barn lighting to reds in the morning and in the evening in order to simulate the sun’s colors.

“A sunrise and sunset combination recreates an enhanced natural environment to reduce stress,” the company says. It uses a variety of spectra including reds and blues, the upshot of which “makes birds calmer, less aggressive, and put more feed energy into growing,” the company states.

iLOX describes its dimmable LED lighting in similar terms, noting that one of its goals is “to ensure the wellbeing of the animals and long-lasting product quality in livestock breeding.”

iLOX was founded as an independent company in 2007, and Once in 2009.

Once claims to be the only company to make species-specific lighting systems — a claim that rivals might dispute.

It has 43 patents and 178 patents pending, a portfolio that probably helped catch the eye of Signify, which itself has a large bank of patents across many lighting areas that it leverages for revenue. Over 1000 companies pay Signify for intellectual property related to luminaires and bulbs, for instance.

Signify’s pending pickup of the two animal-centric lighting echoes the lighting industry’s expansion into tunable lighting systems geared around human circadian rhythms, and at systems geared to growing plants and crops.

“With this acquisition, we add know-how, technology and expertise in animal lighting that complements ours in horticulture lighting,” said Signify’s Bill Bien, business leader agriculture. “This next step in the development of our agriculture business addresses the global need for feeding the world’s growing population, further unlocking the potential of light for brighter lives and a better world.”

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist (markhalper@aol.com).

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