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More economical, 'greener' fluorescent grow lights

Makers are upgrading models to boost their competitiveness against other technologies.

China suppliers of fluorescent grow lights are adding more cost-effective units to their selections, hoping to facilitate the shift from incandescent versions. Companies aim to take over the latter's share in plant lighting as environmental campaigns to limit the production and use of the older technology becomes more widespread.


8U fluorescent grow light
The 8U210EX model from Suzhou Hongsheng is an 8U fluorescent grow light that lasts up to 8,000 hours.

 

Among the markets with such restrictions already in effect are Australia, Canada and the EU. In the US, the phaseout of 100W lamps is scheduled to start next year.

In their efforts to expand market reach, makers are highlighting the inherent advantages of fluorescent grow lamps in terms of energy efficiency and service life. Models consume only 20 percent of the energy used by incandescent versions to produce the same amount of lumens. They also last five to 10 times longer.

To guard against competition from LED variants, currently the mainstream line, suppliers are sharpening their edge in price. Generally not exceeding $18 per unit, fluorescent bulbs boast quotes at least 70 percent lower than the solid-state counterparts.

R&D work has widened selections to comprise several U and spiral CFLs designed to replace incandescent variants. Many employ T4, T5 or T6 tubes in place of T8 types, resulting in smaller constructions with greater light output.

New models are also more environment-friendly, with mercury levels generally meeting those set in the EU's RoHS and WEEE directives. Further, some makers use solid mercury, which is considered safer than liquid types. Units adopting the former are priced $0.10 to $0.20 higher.

In terms of wavelengths, the focus is still on models emitting red or blue light, which promote growth and flowering. Full-spectrum and UVA options, however, are increasing.

By adopting water-soluble phosphors for coating and components of better quality, Ningbo Antai Lighting Fty has developed UV grow bulbs that can illuminate a radius of 6 to 8m. In contrast, most products in the market can cover only 3 to 5m.

R&D efforts in coming months will be geared toward a life span of 10,000 hours and a valid service life of 8,000 hours with UV wavelength at 350 to 370nm. Current options from the company can last more than 8,000 hours, while their useful life is about 5,000 hours.


Products & prices
Industry demographics
Product gallery
Products & prices

About 20 percent of fluorescent grow lights manufactured and exported from China employ halogen powder, while the rest adopt rare earth tricolor phosphors.

Units in the first group have efficiency ratings of 60 to 80 lm/W, while their service life is 3,000 to 4,000 hours. Bulbs containing 5 to 10mg of rare earth phosphors can generate between 80 and 120 lm/W and last at least 5,000 hours.

Models emitting red hues do so at wavelengths ranging from 610 to 640nm, while blue types are in the 420 to 450nm spectrum. UVA bulbs produce light in the 350 to 370nm or 400 to 420nm band.

The selection comprises straight, U and spiral configurations using a T4, T5, T6, T8, T10 or T12 tube. G5 and G13 bases are common in the first category, while U and spiral CFLs typically employ E27 or E40 types.

Glass tubes and electronic components such as starters and ballasts are often sourced from Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces. Plastic parts are normally made in-house, with PP and PC employed in basic designs. More expensive types use PBT.

Straight fluorescent grow lights are available for less than $1, while U and spiral types go for $1.20 to $18. Quotes are expected to increase in coming months due primarily to rising raw material costs.

Rates for rare earth oxides, in particular, are on an upswing, with the government controlling extraction and exports strictly. Spending for the material is forecast to increase further as China forges ahead with reducing the number of processing enterprises from 100 to 20 by 2015.

Industry demographics

China is home to roughly 50 fluorescent grow light suppliers, 90 percent of which are privately owned.

Mixed production is common. One-third of the industry offers the line together with other types of grow lights, and UV, insect-repelling and bactericidal lamps. Others provide models for interior and outdoor lighting fixtures.

China produces 20 to 30 million fluorescent grow lights annually. About 60 percent of output is shipped overseas, with the US, Russia, Europe and Southeast Asia the top destinations.


Fluorescent grow light
Product gallery

Jiangyin Huili Lighting Co. Ltd

Model: HL-6U150
MOQ: 1,000 units
Delivery: 20 days
Description: 6U; 150W; 220 to 240V; 4,000, 5,200, 6,400, 8,000 or 25,000K; 6,000 to 8,000hr service life; E40 base


Fluorescent grow light


Jiangyin Huili Lighting Co. Ltd

Model: HL-8U180
MOQ: 1,000 units
Delivery: 20 days
Description: 8U; 180W; 220 to 240V; 4,000, 5,200, 6,400, 8,000 or 25,000K; 6,000 to 8,000hr service life; E40 base


Fluorescent grow light


Jiangyin Huili Lighting Co. Ltd

Model: HL-9U200
MOQ: 1,000 units
Delivery: 20 days
Description: 9U; 200W; 4,000, 5,200, 6,400, 8,000 or 25,000K; 6,000 to 8,000hr service life; E40 base


Fluorescent grow light


Ningbo Antai Lighting Fty

Model: AT-A13
MOQ: 3,000 units
Delivery: 25 days
Description: 3U; 26W; 110 to 220V; emits UV rays at 365nm; glass tube; tricolor phosphor; black; CE, RoHS


Fluorescent grow light


Ningbo Antai Lighting Fty

Model: AT-A1
MOQ: 3,000 units
Delivery: 25 days
Description: U; 11W; 110 to 220V; emits UV rays at 365nm; G23 or G27 base; CE, RoHS


Fluorescent grow light


Ningbo Antai Lighting Fty

Model: AT-A17
MOQ: 3,000 units
Delivery: 25 days
Description: Spiral; 25W; 110 to 220V; emits UV rays at 365nm; 8,000hr service life; E27 or B22 base; CE, RoHS


Fluorescent grow light


Suzhou Hongsheng Lighting Products Co. Ltd

Model: 4U45EX
MOQ: 1,000 units
Delivery: 20 days
Description: 4U; 45W; 220V at 50Hz; 25,000K; 8,000hr service life; E27 or E40 base


Fluorescent grow light


Suzhou Hongsheng Lighting Products Co. Ltd

Model: 5U125EX
MOQ: 1,000 units
Delivery: 20 days
Description: 5U; 125W; 220V at 50Hz; 25,000K; 8,000hr service life; E27 or E40 base




Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.



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