Going Greenhouse the Fohse Way

Going Greenhouse the Fohse Way

SPONSORED: The masters of LED exploring new solutions to old problems.

November 13, 2020

“Build innovative products, operate sustainably, and inspire the best among our industry”

Those words are not just platitudes, they are the way the folks at the Fohse Company have approached their craft since day one. They knew that taking on the High-pressure Sodium (HPS) legacy in the grow lighting industry would be a challenge, but one that needed to be undertaken. In 2016, it was time to take down this dogma and unearned loyalty to HPS lighting and reimagine what LED lighting could do at the same time.

Fohse’s Chief Technology Officer, Alex Gerard along with his partners Ben Arnet (President) and Brett Stevens (CEO) got to work on solutions to the deficiencies they found in the landscape of grow lights for the cannabis industry. Gerard, bringing almost two decades of experience from the medical industry and the military, took his engineering and automation skills that had been honed while working on defibrillators, welding components, and laser markers and set them loose on building a prototype of a highly efficient LED grow light. After two years of research and development, resulting in the creation of a suite of grow lighting fixtures, the team at Fohse was ready to introduce their product, along with their vision of what grow lighting should be able to deliver to folks in the horticultural industries.

“When everyone else was trying to figure out how to make their lights more efficient to lower the electric bill, we were trying to get higher yields” the leadership team at Fohse recounted. The Fohse team refused to take part in the losing strategy of just trying to make cheaper fixtures and instead vowed to design fixtures that operate with higher efficiency “pound for pound” than anything out there on the market. They unveiled their first product line at Toronto’s 2019 Lift and Co. Cannabis Expo and have hardly been able to keep up with the overwhelming response and demand for their innovative product line. The Fohse folks have been in a growth mode ever since. They have designed lighting solutions for large growing operations across the United States and North America and are going more global every day with their network of distributors.

After taking on the cannabis industry by storm less than two short years ago, the Fohse Corporation is now breaking into the greenhouse grow space with their lighting fixtures, the O6i and the brand-new Pleiades lights. Field tested and modified in a real-world hemp greenhouse; these lights were designed with one goal: increase yields. In addition to their proven performance in the cannabis industry, these models are perfect for the indoor produce and floriculture industries as well. Whether growing fruiting crops like tomatoes or cucumbers or foliar and floral crops like poinsettias or mums, these products will become the industry standard just like Fohse products have become in the world of indoor cannabis production. Either of these innovative fixtures can be incorporated into existing greenhouse architecture or are perfect for new design-builds.

Now, the Fohse company manufacturers innovative grow lighting for all types of crops and growing spaces. “Fohse,” an acronym for the Future of Horticultural Science and Engineering, is also a play on the Greek word for light, “fos.” The future of grow lighting is exactly what American-engineered Fohse products are. The O6i and the Pleiades fixtures are just the latest in a string of innovative lighting products for the horticultural industry.


The O6i Fixture

The O6i is the perfect fixture to replace old, inefficient HPS grow lighting. There is no retrofitting of greenhouse electrical infrastructure needed as the O6i can just be plugged into existing outlets. It is powerful at 1200 watts, but much more compact than most HPS systems at only 16” x 8” x 13” (40 cm x 20 cm x 33 cm). Like all Fohse’s lighting products, these burn much cooler than traditional HPS lights. Aircraft-grade aluminum heat sinks, and high efficiency variable speed fans maintain the O6i’s LED lights operating at their optimum levels. These fans have an estimated useful life of 175,000 hours. With cooler running fixtures, the service life of Fohse lighting fixtures will far exceed their inefficient HPS counterparts.

Dimmable, with a photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) of 2400-3000 µmol/s, the O6i does not just put out more light, it packs more photons into each footprint, distributing bundles of light more effectively than inferior fixtures. This greater photon density leads to more carbon assimilation, which means more biomass, which creates thick, lush canopies of any crop. Fohse uses best-in-industry LED lights made by the Cree Lighting company for their O6i fixtures. These awesome fixtures reimagine what efficient greenhouse lighting looks like.

The Pleiades Fixture

The very latest in the arsenal of Fohse’s unique and dynamic offering, the Pleiades fixture is unlike any other before. The sleek design of the Pleaides fixture means that the fixtures themselves will not cast shadows onto the crop canopies. These small vector, low wattage (320w) lights are so narrow that they can fit into the profile of greenhouse trusses or other elements of the structure. Traditional grow lights create shadows, either from the sun or from the position of other grow lights in the room. Pleiades fixtures reduce the incidences of these shadows.

Like other Fohse lighting products, the Pleiades fixtures are highly efficient. Their cooling mechanisms keep the fixtures running at peak performance without raising the electric bill. The specific amount of light called for by any crop or any stage of a particular crop’s development can be met with these dimmable and programmable lights.

Both the O6i and the Pleaides fixtures can be programmed so that any grower can optimally harvest not only the crop that they are growing, but light as well.

cannabis plants
Pictured: Green Life Productions. If growers' success with Fohse's other models is any indication, the O6i and Pleiades models will certainly disrupt the greenhouse lighting market.
Light Harvesting

The concept of “light harvesting” in greenhouse settings is relatively simple; create the conditions for the most amount of light possible for optimal crop growth and allow for the crops to capture it. Fohse lighting products are ideal for this practice. These models both, the O6i and the Pleiades, are bundled with sensors that respond in real time to the actual light conditions in the greenhouse or grow room. These sensors measure the ambient light and when the pre-programmed matrices for optimal photon levels are not met, the lights respond accordingly.

If a cloud rolls by, the lights increase their intensity to make up for this temporary deficiency. As sunlight levels fluctuate over the course of each day, and over the span of the seasons, these fixtures pump out the appropriate amount and intensity of light to make up for it. Fohse fixtures can self-adjust to as little as one-tenth of one percent of output in real time based on the conditions in the greenhouse. The plants never even know that the sun is not fully shining on them at all times. Older HPS lighting is either outright not dimmable, or does not have the range that these Fohse lights have been able to attain. Their dimmability is not linear and they lose efficiency as they step down in power. This does not happen with the O6i or the Pleiades fixtures. The Fohse fixtures can actually mimic natural sunlight in a way not ever achieved before by commercial grow lights.

Other Fohse products

While the O6i and the Pleiades represent the cutting edge in commercial greenhouse grow lighting, they are not the only quality grow lights that the Fohse team produces. Consider some of their other options if you do not grow on a large, commercial greenhouse scale.

A3i – the flagship model, the A3i is an all-around workhorse and suitable for grows of all sizes

F1V – this model is designed to give the same incredible results as Fohse’s other innovative grow lights but is ideal for vertical growing operations.

The Aries – this small, but mighty grow light is perfect for the hobbyist or home grower.

The engineers at Fohse would love for you to give them a chance to show you how their lighting will outperform any of their competition. They can provide anything from a demonstration of their products, to coming to your location and quoting for modifications of an existing system, to fully engineering a totally programmable and monitored system unique to the distinctiveness and idiosyncrasies of each individual greenhouse or grow space. In your “due diligence” phase the Fohse team can connect you with growers who have made the switch to Fohse lighting products so you may learn, see, and hear from them firsthand how changing over to Fohse fixtures has increased their production and profits.

Selecting Fohse fixtures for your growing operation is an investment in your success with tangible ROIs. The photon footprint of a Fohse fixture is superior to any other comparable grow light. Simply put, you will get much higher and more uniform delivery of PPFD (photosynthetic photon flux density) with a Fohse fixture, which will mean higher yields and more sellable crop per square foot than any of their competitors.

Visit Fohse.com to see the specs of the Pleiades, the O6i and all of their other quality products. Find out for yourself why the team at Fohse has never had to buy back a single one of their fixtures for failing to deliver on the promise of higher yields and they never will.