First of all, we would like to apologize to our readers if you find some broken english. English is not our native language, so please bear with us ;) I had the chance to stop by Gavita headquarter in Holland in july (2016) and Gavita people had been nice enough to allow us to roam, take pictures and ask questions freely in their Aalsmeer’s nest
So first of all, and to make all you indoor growers foam, here is how their warehouse looks like :
Each batch contains 600 bulbs :
Here is a pallet getting ready to be shipped to USA and truck loaded :
Something to notice, they are located very close of the Dutch International Airport which means easier/quicker/shipping and reduced cost.
Their products are assembled in Holland, and below you can see people working on it. We noticed immediately that their production chain...is not a taylorized one. Every worker builds the lighting fixture from scratch. This is clearly a good thing as we all know heavy taylorization could transform human workers into zombies… Hortinews loves healthy plants, healthy people and not zombies...
Every single lighting fixture is being tested before being packaged. See below a picture before and after the test. You can clearly see that after testing, some part of the double-ended bulbs are slightly black. This is something totally normal as the bulb did work for few seconds to test it. Gavita mentioned that they had feedbacks from surprised customers about it, thinking they bought refurbished bulbs. We can tell you that this is not the case, it’s just that all lights are being operated for a few seconds for testing, and the black disappears once it is in use.
Reflectors are also controlled, all of them, before being packaged :
I noticed in their warehouse a batch of strange things :
These are indeed very old ballasts that are still being used by some of their customers since many many years.Those ballast just got repaired.
Speaking about lighting, they mentioned that their fixtures are also being used by stadiums around the world (Wembley, Deportivo la Coruna, Paris Saint-Germain…) to use horticultural lighting to help grass to grow. You can see some of their equipments being used in stadiums in the pictures hanged above the assembly line :
Speaking about maintenance, they have a specific place for that :
For testing, they always tests a small percentage of new batches of bulbs in a specific room for 5000 hours. They also test some of their ballasts extensively. I can assure you i saw one in their test lab that was running non stop since 2 years !
They developed E5 bulbs. Those E5 bulbs are means to replace the classical CFL T5 bulbs. But they comprise LED lights which consume around 45% less electricity than a standard bulb for the same output. Sadly those are only for fish tanks. However they admitted preparing some with light spectrum specifically tailored for horticulture. That will only be for cuttings/veg stage as they claims those lights are not designed/sufficient enough for blooming.
I stumbled on a beautiful fish tank :
This is not only for decorating, the LED lights you can see, are from Gavita and are only being sold for Aquariums. Is LED lighting for plants their next steps ? It seems they are already ready for it, however they temporarily choose to wait because of the current insane street prices of those big LED panels.
Next testing range, is an Ullbricht sphere. If you have no clue what it is, please refer to this article (in french only) or just google it. Next to it is a pricy electrical equipment, which can deliver various outputs to simulate different country electrical outputs. They also have a super pricy (around 25k shekels) electrical test bed to measure Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) from the ballast back to the power grid/main supply, and from ballast to the bulb itself. If there is a lot of EMI, that could cause issues with mobile phones/wireless signal and such. Their equipment measures if the product is compliant with every kind of regulations (EC, FCC and such).
For the last part, they use a big Faraday cage with some very strange antenna :
We visited another test bed/room dedicated to understand and design the best reflector :
Speaking about reflector, Gavita people mentioned us that this is often the underdog for indoor growers. Most of them change their bulb every year, but never clean their reflector properly and never change it. ⅔ of the light is reflected by the reflector. Having a dirty one could really decrease light efficiency/yield big time. They advise to change it every year in a dusty environment, used into a greenhouse with heavy spraying. Their second tip is to use RO water to avoid calcium deposits on it and use very soft material along with 3% of citric acid, but you still gonna loose some efficiency and buying a new one is the way to go. If you are a very careful grower, changing it every 2 years will be sufficient enough.
Where quality comes from ? I think this article and pictures give you some clear hints.
Speaking about the recent switch with Hawthorne buying 75% of their shares, we did ask few questions but only got a very official reply : that gonna helps them have a stronger R&D and better support worldwide for their consumers. They are also officially planning to open some facility in China to serve Asian/American market .
If you wanna see a video from their production facility :
Thanks to Theo&Daan from Gavita to take care of us during our visit in Aalsmeer. Looking forward to have a drink with you guys on my next visit or when you pass through France. :-)