Dutch Phalaenopsis orchid breeder Sion Young Plants B.V. operates according to three core values: Inspire, Innovate, and Connect. Growing on an area of 6,7 hectares and shipping to more than 30 countries around the world, Sion is committed to developing and assuring the future of beautiful Phalaenopsis orchids for florists, nurseries, and consumers everywhere. With plans for further expansion into Asia and the development of a new laboratory to add to its advanced facilities in the U.S. and Germany, the team at Sion keeps an eye on the future as well as the present.
Immediate savings unlocked
With this in mind, Sion took the decision to review and update its horticultural lighting, a core element of its state-of-the-art cultivation facility, working with Current on a hybrid setup alongside a 100% LED trial. With energy costs spiking and no clear end in sight, one immediate short-term benefit of switching to LED from HPS is an immediate decrease in electricity consumption and monthly bills, with the Arize® Element R1000 fixtures offering an over 30% reduction in energy consumption compared to traditional HPS lamps.
A more sustainable strategy
However, short-term savings were not at the forefront of Sion’s decision. Creating a more sustainable operation, with lighting fixtures that perform at their best for longer, with less waste going into landfill at end of life, was a critical part of Sion’s strategy. According to Gijs van Adrichem, Cultivation Specialist at Sion, “We aim to use 100% LED lighting within the next 2-3 years,” outlining an ambitious timeframe for operational testing and replacement of all HPS lamps used across all parts of the business.
With Current’s Arize® horticultural LED portfolio supported by a five-year guarantee as standard, the R1000 model selected for the hybrid installation has been tested to the extreme in order to stand the test of time, delivering more targeted light wavelengths to complement the HPS’ broad spectrum as the older technology is phased out.
A leap forward in future orchid cultivation
It was Current’s brand new, modular Arize® 1000 W fixture that inspired Sion to combine its ambitions for a more sustainable operation with its drive to innovate in the way it develops and produces new varieties of orchids. As the first LED top light on the market to feature three separate LED modules that can be easily swapped without needing to change the surrounding fixture or electrical system, it allows growers to mix and match different light spectra and easily replace the LED light bars at end of life.
“Very little is yet known about what spectrum is best for orchids, and more research is needed,” notes van Adrichem. “As more information comes in, we will be able to easily switch to the more optimal spectrum without the cost or waste of a complete refit. This gives us many benefits for the future.”
The 1000 W fixtures have been installed across two separate greenhouse zones with a growing area of close to 4,600m2, allowing Sion to explore the impact of two different light spectra on orchid propagation, growth, and flowering.
A new breed of horticultural LED lighting
With the ability to blend up to three light spectra from a choice of seven in each L2000 fixture, offering efficacy levels that reach 3.6µmol/J and a maximum output of 3600µmol/s, the L2000 is a powerful replacement for HPS lamps, helping growers save on their energy bills and fine-tune their lighting plans. By only swapping out individual LED modules for those that deliver the optimized spectrum for their plants, growers can evolve their operations with the latest research, maximizing yields and profit as they go.
A valued partnership
After working closely with Current’s lighting designers to create the optimal layout of fixtures to maximize output with the minimum number of lamps, Sion coordinated closely with the team to ensure a swift and smooth installation.
“The switch to the new lighting system was very fast and organized. The team at Current were great in communicating with our team and stuck to the delivery times we agreed,” notes van Adrichem. And now that the installation is complete? “They look great. There’s a good spread of light, and the fixtures themselves are robust and well-designed with an open structure that doesn’t overheat,” he adds. “Now we wait and see how the different cuttings react to the spectra we’re testing and how this transforms our business in the future. You’re welcome to come and visit to see how we get on!”
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