【Interview】OSRAM Steadily Occupies the First Supplier of Horticultural Lighting with Its Superior LED Chip and Packing Technology

According to the research of LEDinside, the global LED horticultural lighting market saw a growth of 25% to 30% to US$ 369 million in 2019, with an increase of 31% year-on-year. Currently, LEDinside was fortunate to have an exclusive interview with OSRAM, a global leader in LED horticultural lighting, to learn how the future development of the horticultural lighting market is and how OSRAM’s LED technology supports various horticultural lighting applications.

Chi Guangwei, Senior Application Engineer of ILLUmination Department at OSRAM, shared his viewpoints towards this field.

The demand for the LED horticultural lighting market comes to a rapid growth. From the perspective of the global market, Europe and America are still the regions with the largest demand for horticultural lighting. Particularly, the demand growth in North American, which is mainly being actuated by the lifting of ban on special economical crops. Chi thinks the outbreak of COVID-19 will have a great impact on the European, American and global horticultural lighting markets in the short term, but he also believes that after the pandemic, the market demand will gradually recover in the future.

As for Asia, especially in China, companies are completely resuming production because the epidemic is under control. With the support of the government, the investment in the development of modern facility agriculture may not be reduced, but will boost the development of this field, since this pandemic outbreak will make the government pay more attention to the issue of food security. According to LEDinside's observation, since 2020, both local governments and enterprises have been vigorously cultivating and building facilities for fruit and vegetable production bases, promoting the transformation and upgrading of traditional agriculture to modern agriculture, and serving urban agriculture through the plant factory model.

Superior LED Technologies Promote the Progress of Modern Facility Agriculture

As we all know, OSRAM has been a pioneer in the field of LED horticultural lighting, and has developed a variety of LED components for it, including OSLON Square and SSL belong to ceramic grade, OSCONIC P3030 and P2226 which is EMC package, as well as Duris S5 for purple and full spectrum.

The figure below is a list of OSRAM LEDs product lines for color and horticultural fixtures.

Figure 1 OSRAM LEDs Series for Horticultural Lighting

In addition, OSRAM keeps ahead in the red and infrared technology, providing the world's best PPF efficiency Hyper Red LED device (660nm), and its performance in selling is very robust and vigorous. In 2019, OSRAM has launched most powerful OSLSON Square GEN4 for hyper red with 73% radiant efficacy when driving at 1035mW.

Figure 2 Osram OSLON Square Fourth-generation for Red LED

Compared with other competitors, OSRAM's product advantages are mainly reflected in the following two aspects. Firstly, OSRAM’s LED chip uses its own unique technology and has global patents, while other manufacturers use third-party IP products. Secondly, its photoelectric device has high conversion efficiency, for instance, the deep red’s photoelectric conversion efficiency reaches 73% when driving at 1035mW.

According to Chi, artificial light sources are mainly used in the following three segments in the respective of horticultural lighting:
(1) Supplemented Greenhouse, in which LED is a supplementary light source, and its project attributes high requirements for LED reliability and packaging stability, as well as high Q90 maintenance rate;
(2) Plant factory (or Vertical Farming), mainly growing vegetable crops, in which uses no-sunlight and no soil, but adopts nutrient liquid cultivation, which breaks through the limitations of traditional agriculture;
(3) Consume planting, which is mainly for the general consumer market.

For various applications, the LEDs recommended by OSRAM are different. The following are guidelines for each application:

Figure 3 OSRAM LEDs for Greenhouse

Figure 4 OSRAM LEDs for Vertical Farming and Consumer

OSRAM’s advanced LED technology promotes the development of new modern facility agriculture. Generally, the application level of the horticultural lighting market is mainly divided into two categories, one is the professional, including greenhouses and vertical farms or plant factories, and the other is the consumer market, which mainly serves the end ordinary consumers. The market of professional-level requires LED companies to develop together with customers. While, OSRAM has a lot of successful cases in this kind of collaborative projects.

Chi introduced that in the Danish Greenhouse project, Osram cooperated with Fionia company to develop a horticultural lighting system used in several hundreds of square meters of flowers cultivation. In this project, OSRAM provided professional OSLON LEDs colored in 450nm, 660nm and 730nm. With the advantages of OSRAM LEDs, customers can save 40% of energy compared to the use of HPS lamps, and flowers can grow faster based on proper spectrum control.

Figure 5 Denmark Project, Green house, provided by OSRAM

In terms of vertical farming, Osram and Farm Ecology based in San Francisco, have jointly developed OSLON SSL for 450nm and 660nm. In the long-term run, OSRAM LED products have no failures reported. It turns out OSRAM LED has very good reliability. With regard to light efficiency, it effectively shortened the growth cycle of radishes and vegetables to 7~9 days, sprout vegetable to 15 days. What’s more, the taste of vegetables is also recognized and praised by chefs and consumers.

In addition, OSRAM SSL LED is also used in the first functional vertical farming in Italy. In this project, 450nm, 660nm and 730nm LEDs are deployed. Under the perfect light formula, it triples basil output per square meter, and speed up harvest time while insuring a consistent high quality.

Figure 6 Farm Ecology (US), Vertical Farming, provided by OSRAM

Figure 7 Bio Extra Solum farm(Italy), Vertical Farming, provided by OSRAM

In addition to Denmark, San Francisco, and Italy, Osram also has quite a few success stories in Japan and China.

OSRAM's Future Development Strategy in Horticultural Lighting Market

Keeping up with the demand of the horticultural lighting, OSRAM is actively developing new product strategies. In addition to professional-grade horticulture LED devices, it is also actively laying out the consumer market. In the year of 2020, OSRAM has just released a new series of 2835 Color LEDs, covering DB, HR and FR for horticultural lighting. Its typical power is 0.5W with binning current at 150mA at 25 ° C. This new series is a very good choice for customers focused on consumer horticultural growth lamp.

According to the LEDinside interview, OSRAM’s horticultural lighting LED device revenue ranked first in 2019. Looking forward to 2020, after the ebb of the global epidemic, it can be predicted that various industries will gradually usher in recovery opportunities under the support of government. Whether LED horticulture lighting will usher in new development opportunities, let's wait and see.

(Author: Christine Liu, Assistant Analyst of LEDinside, TrendForce)

LEDinside will publish 2021 Horticultural Lighting Market soon. Welcome calls or letters if in need!

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