An online Horticulture Lighting Calculator launched by Lumileds enables SSL product developers to quickly determine the potential of luminaire system designs in terms of photosynthetic photon flux and spectral power distribution.
Packaged LED manufacturer Lumileds has announced a Horticulture Lighting Calculator intended to help solid-state lighting (SSL) product developers through the process of mixing different colors of LEDs in pursuit of optimum plant recipes for plants. The online calculator is preloaded with the operational characteristics of the Luxeon SunPlus families of packaged LEDs that the company announced back in September 2016. Prospective developers can specify mixes of members of the SunPlus families and immediately calculate the system-level output of a luminaire in terms of horticultural-specific metrics such as photosynthetic photon flux as well as the full spectral power distribution (SPD) of the design.
As we have covered numerous times of late, the horticultural industry is working hard to both develop meaningful metrics for the application and optimum light recipes for different cultivars or even for the same cultivar at different stages in the plant-growth cycle. In a recent issue of the magazine, we reported on the latest work in the area of metrics. And our coverage of our inaugural Horticultural Lighting Conference covered some of the latest thinking in the area of light recipes that can boost yield and even influence taste or appearance.
The new calculator from Lumileds can’t help developers decide which light recipes might be idea for a given application. But a developer can certainly use the tool to quickly experiment with how to reach targets in terms of light characteristics, whether the intended end product has a fixed SPD, or whether it might be dynamically tunable. In a tunable project, the development team would simply have to run multiple iterations of calculations to account for the dim level or on/off state of specific LEDs in a mixed-color design.
The Horticulture Lighting Calculator from Lumileds helps product developers set parameters for a horticultural LED luminaire.
Indeed, the developer can set parameters such as a specific LED for a luminaire, the number of such LEDs in the product, and the operating conditions including drive current and junction temperature. And the tool enables the addition of multiple specific members of the SunPlus family with the ability to set the conditions mentioned above for each type of LED in the luminaire configuration.
The key advantage of the online tool is time to market in that system-level characteristics can be accurately evaluated without the need for building and testing prototypes. Jennifer Holland, product manager of the Luxeon SunPlus Series LED, said, "With the Horticulture Lighting Calculator, fixture manufacturers can test many lighting scenarios in a short period of time, so that their optimum designs can be brought to market much more quickly and efficiently than if each potential fixture were built and tested individually."
Product developers can freely access the calculator on the Lumileds website. As mentioned earlier, the tool only supports the SunPlus LEDs. It could be useful if Lumileds adds support for some of its earlier horticulturally-targeted LEDs to the tool. Developers working with LEDs from other manufacturers certainly couldn't get direct results from the tool, but might still find the tool instructive, although Lumileds clearly developed the calculator to support its own customers and win news ones in the horticultural space.
We continue to be surprised about the growing interest, pun intended, in horticultural lighting. To keep up with the latest news in the space, make sure to monitor our Horticultural Lighting microsite that is a companion to our normal website. Also watch for coming news for our 2017 Horticultural Lighting Conference plans.