Light quality and spectrum controllability is a prerequisite for the maximized use of light energy to save energy, reduce growing cycle times, enhance production, and improve product quality.

Using LED Technology Improve Plant Cultivation

Q&W with Ryan Barrier, Management Team | ThinkGrow

Tell us about TrolMaster Agro Instruments.

TrolMaster Agro Instruments Co., Ltd. is an agriculture technology company, offering next generation environmental controllers and LED lighting within the horticultural market.   We have deep roots in the horticulture industries, and have invented a platform that is easy-to-use, smart, and connective. With incredible flexibility, our platform can cover each individual grower's needs, from the home hobbyist to large industrial facilities.  We deliver automation, control, data collection, monitoring, and optimization of your facility, large or small. The upgradability of our control systems also offers the value of continual improvements.  LED grow lights are a truly remarkable triumph of technology and are by far the most efficient horticultural lights available. Beside the advantages of minimizing cooling needs, minimal maintenance, and optimized and adjustable spectrum, ThinkGrow is proud to provide lighting solutions that offer the best controllability along with TrolMaster control systems to cover each individual cultivator’s needs, from the home hobbyist to large industrial facilities.  When TrolMaster and ThinkGrow products are used together, we can provide dimming control and Sunlight simulation, as well as to offer spectrum control. We allow the user to adjust the LED spectrum output by individually modulating 4 channels of LEDs, with each channel representing different spectral "colors". By combining our LEDs, and our controllers, users can reproduce the best part of mother nature within their indoor growing environment, while eliminating the unwanted variables experienced with natural outdoor environments. 


How does white LED Technology impact plant cultivation?

The number of White-based Full Spectrum diodes accounts for more than 90% of a modern horticultural LED. Choosing a high-quality, reliable white LED is crucial for planting high-performance products. After trials and many rounds of research and testing, we have found that Samsung’s white-based full spectrum diodes are best suited for plant cultivation in the grow light market. ThinkGrow’s commitment to excellence demanded that our engineering team produce a truly first-rate grow light, so we never hesitated to partner with Samsung, a pioneer in LED technology. In doing so, we became the FIRST company in our market ever to reach a cooperative agreement with Samsung. We have taken advantage of our cooperation with Samsung to create high-quality grow lights, and the results have been nothing short of fantastic for our growing list of customers. ThinkGrow is committed to providing our customers with the most advanced horticulture LEDs by using only top-quality components – Built to last & Engineered to the Highest standards, to enable them to create the perfect grow room. We continually observe, test, and evaluate different (diodes?) on the market. Through deliberate and meticulous comparison, we are confident that we have chosen the most capable partner in the industry by forging an agreement with Samsung.


Tell us about adjustable LED Spectrum. How is this done and what are the advantages?

Light is a key parameter for successful growing operations, and a well-tuned LED light system can provide plants just what they need and result in optimal growth and production.  Light quality and spectrum controllability is a prerequisite for the maximized use of light energy to save energy, reduce growing cycle times, enhance production, and improve product quality.  Research has shown that plant growth can be impacted dramatically by manipulating the light spectrum.  It can determine plant features like flavor, taste, color (depending on the anthocyanin and chlorophyll concentrations):, size and flowering time.  Different cultivars in each stage of growth will require different ideal light spectrums and intensity for optimal yield and product quality. For example, Far Red light can stimulate flowering, while the Red/Far Red ratio regulates stem elongation and branching, leaf expansion, and reproduction.  It is also found that adding far-red light would increase the quantum yield of photosystem II by an average of 6.5% and 3.5% respectively, meaning a potential better yield.   In short, Spectrum manipulation = Better Control on Plant Development and Metabolism, triggering potential benefits.  TrolMaster Hydro X Pro combined with the ThinkGrow 4 Channel Lighting System make an impeccable combination for supreme spectrum controllability.


How do you address the challenges of Lighting & Controls & Smart Lifters from design to energy efficiencies?

To achieve maximum light efficiency, the distance between the LED light and plant canopy should be maintained at a close and ideal distance. When grow lights are installed too high over the plants, much of the light energy is lost before it can reach the plants. An ideal light lifter system allows Light levels to be dimmed to a lower power level while still providing the desired PPFD and proper light spread on the plants. Being able to easily raise and lower the fixtures at the optimum height level provides the user with higher overall lighting efficiency.  The easily expandable modular LLT-1 light lifter system provides user customization, which means users have maximum flexibility on both weight-bearing requirements and lighting layout, by simply changing the number of the modular lifting units.  The ThinkGrow Smart Light System can also connect to the Hydro-X Pro Control System for additional advanced features, enabling users to connect, control and program synchronized or individual operation on multiple light lifters from a single controller.  Maximizing light efficiency in a large-scale growing facility will save an immense amount of energy over time. Grow rooms with a practical light lifter system installed can easily raise and lower the LED light to achieve and maintain this ideal distance throughout the plants’ life cycle.


Why is Sustainable Design and Control Systems so important for the industry for the future?

Innovative designs such as the V-Shape design of the ThinkGrow Model-I Plus improves light distribution, which lowers the height from canopy needed as it reduces light energy loss.  Four spectrum channels including UV, White, Deep Red and Far Red are fully controllable to dial in the exact recipe of light your plants need.  These functions are only available with the TrolMaster HCS-2 / Hydro X Pro & HCS-3 / Hydro X Plus control systems, providing precise external controllability and can control up to 256 fixtures per channel with outstanding efficiency.   The web-based software that comes with the HCS-2 and HCS-3 provides easy access and more advanced remote-control features.  Onboard data acquisition and the ability to store and share settings between multiple HCS-2 controllers, means that user-defined programs & settings can be saved and loaded into multiple Hydro-X Pro units with ease. A personalized screensaver and password protection page can be configured by the user to prevent unauthorized access to critical settings within the Hydro-X controllers.  As facilities continue to need and implement more advanced systems, TrolMaster & ThinkGrow will continue to provide technology to continuously upgrade those systems, therefore providing the customers the tools they need, for years to come.


Tell us about other unique functions of TrolMaster | ThinkGrow performance values that benefit specific CEA applications?

As the industry continues to evolve fast, we are committed to providing the latest "smart" technology and efficient lighting and control solutions.  We provide almost unlimited control options. We can simulate natural outdoor environments with our Cloud Effect function, which reduces light related stress on a plant and increases energy savings. We also offer a Full Spectrum Quantum Sensor, four adjustable individual spectrum channels consisting of UV, White (full spectrum), Deep Red, and Far Red.  Our DLI Control calculates the exact amount of light needed based on the PPFD to enhance growth rates.  Built-In Calendar control offers multi-week crop lighting schedules, environmental condition settings and helpful reminders can also be programmed into the calendar.  The Sunrise and Sunset feature will automatically Ramp Up / Ramp Down the light intensity and spectrum to closely simulate natural outdoor conditions.  Group and Group Spectrum Control allows the user to separate LEDs into up to 10 groups, so that each group can run based on individual settings and spectrum.  Spray Mode will automatically reduce power of lights, shut down air-handlers, dehumidifiers etc during foliar feeding/spraying, and automatically return the room conditions back to desired levels after a specific period.   (To mitigate the risk of human error)


The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AgriTechTomorrow

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