Fohse: Revolutionizing the Grow Light Industry
When the innovative team at Fohse saw a gap in the grow light market for cannabis plants, they seized the opportunity and ran with it, producing high-quality grow lights without cutting costs and developing a loyal following within the cultivation industry.
The Fohse company manufacturers innovative grow lighting solutions for the cannabis and horticulture industries. “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-made Fohse high-tech products are.
When the creative and leadership team at Fohse first decided to take on the legacy of inefficient HPS and underperforming LED lighting, they took a unique approach. They started with the premise that cannabis growers would find value in their product if, at the end of the day, it made them more money by using their lighting products… and it worked. For too long, HPS and underperforming LED lights had dominated the market. The creative team at Fohse saw the problem, committed to create a solution, and has outshone their competitors ever since.
Chief Technology Officer, Alex Gerard, spent almost two decades in the medical and military electronics fields working on the lighting components of defibrillators, welding components, and laser markers. Raised by avid garden enthusiasts, he was compelled to take those skills and devote them to the voids and deficiencies he and his partners, Ben Arnet (President) and Brett Stevens (CEO) saw in the cannabis grow lighting market. They could see the downfalls of relying on HPS and LED lighting fixtures that were largely overpriced and not as effective as they claimed to be. They spent more than two years on the research and development of a suite of lighting fixtures and technology that would improve the horticultural industry resulting in high quality products that would convince long-time cannabis growers to abandon the lighting types and strategies that they had known and used for years.
Unlike their competitors, the team at Fohse was not interested in a race to the bottom. The trend in commercial grow lights was to try and make each fixture more affordable, by cutting costs wherever possible in the production process. Ben, Alex, and Brett eschewed this legacy of HPS and LED lighting manufacturers and took a different approach; they wanted to increase yield per square foot of growing space, thereby making their product not just another grow-light in the sea of thousands of indoor growing aids, but a vital part of a successful indoor growing operation.
“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. Competitors continually cheapened their parts, while Fohse designed and continues to design fixtures with higher power, increasing cannabis yields all the while lowering the fixture count and boosting each product’s photon footprint.
Read also: Organic Cannabis & the Cannabis Certification Council
Like any other novel approach, there were skeptics and detractors. Those who doubted them, however, were left in the dust during the Fohse team’s debut at the 2019 MJBizCon industry trade show in Toronto. They sold out on everything they had made and took orders for thousands more products. What made them stand out?
“Our display was like a spaceship in the middle of the convention floor,” they recalled. What made them sell out that day was the proof in the pudding. Fohse’s was the only display featuring fixtures that could replicate natural light. They had created “indoor sunshine” and developed a loyal following as a result. Not only does their product beam, so do their customers when describing the unbelievable results they got when switching over to Fohse lighting products.
Fohse can engineer a lighting system that will fit into the footprint of any size cannabis growing operation. Few things make this team prouder or more energized than getting a chance to show how their products outperform their peers under actual, real-world conditions on actively growing crops. They do this by taking the time and effort to make sure their products are crafted to the highest standards. When Fohse products are hung in place and have been calibrated to the precise PPFD (the measure of photons on a given surface area) levels specific to each crop’s needs, the stage has been set for cannabis plants to fulfill their biological destinies. Each of Fohse’s 30 team members relishes being a part of that challenge and it is what drives them every day to keep excelling.
Just how well-made are Fohse’s lights? The team at Fohse can proudly say they have never had to buy back a single fixture. None of the tens of thousands of grow lights that have been produced over the past five years by the hard-working team at Fohse has yet to disappoint. That is a claim many of their peers cannot make.
Some of the largest and most respected cannabis growers in the U.S. have seen the results Fohse lighting has on their crops and are now an army of die-hard believers. Steve Cantwell of Green Life Productions is one of them. Steve now has the kind of growing pains that a cannabis grower wants. His processing facility is now not big enough to handle the increased production of his cannabis plants since he started using Fohse lighting. He reports nearly doubling his output, from 80-90 pounds under the old system, to now achieving 150-160 lbs. with Fohse lighting fixtures. All because of the intense research and development the team behind Fohse products put into their game-changing lighting.
These guys are not just risk takers and innovators in the world of grow lighting; they are risk takers with the hobbies they pursue in their “off-duty” lives. Gerard flies planes for fun; James Bradley, Fohse’s Chief Marketing Officer spends some of his free time skydiving. These guys embody the motto: “work hard, play hard.” They credit their shared drive both in and out of the office to being adrenaline junkies; a trait that is common throughout many of their employees.
Read also: The Art of Re-Vegging Cannabis Plants to Save Space
Their creativity and hard work have not only allowed the gang at Fohse to attract some of the largest commercial greenhouse growers in the industry, it has attracted the attention of respected light manufacturers from around the world, as well as the attention of a research department at a major ivy-league university.
Light harvesting, as it is known, has become the subject of a collaboration between the talent at Fohse and some of the most highly regarded horticultural researchers in the country. Utilizing Fohse’ s new Pleaides fixture, the research team and engineers at Fohse are able to adapt any zone in a greenhouse or indoor growing area to the specific needs of a crop and adjust to the amount of natural light it is receiving in real time. If any light is obscured, such as by the passing of a cloud, more light is emitted by the fixtures thanks to sensors that are continually monitoring the light levels. This is particularly useful for large greenhouses that may cover acres of space that do not receive a uniform amount of light from the sun even on clear days. The structure of buildings themselves blocks some of the rays as well depending which side of the greenhouse the plants are on.
With light harvesting, all the plants receive the same amount of light with all the benefit of the full spectrum that natural light provides. In addition to a happier plant and larger harvests, light harvesting can save on electricity costs as it provides precise lighting quantities to only those areas that need it rather than bathing the whole facility in the same amount of light across the board.
Though they would not dwell on it and would likely push your kudos aside, the team at Fohse knows they are part of a community. When the tragic shooting took place in Las Vegas in October of 2017, the leadership team at Fohse shut down production and helped their hometown out anyway they could. Team members drove around, donated, and delivered food and water to their fellow Nevadans and emergency service workers in need. These guys realize that when you have been lucky enough to hit on a winning product, and have seen some success, you are able to give back and help those that may not be doing quite so well.
Find the Pleiades fixture, the A3i, or any other of their groundbreaking products at your local hydroponic or growing supply store.
They will help floral and food growers alike of any sized operation significantly improve their production. Their products can be found in locations around the globe. You can also get in touch with them through their website to customize a system that is right for your space and your crops (their website is uber-cool, by the way, and is chock full of data for the grow-light nerd in all of us).
They would be glad to arrange for a demonstration to show you how their products can make your operation more productive and profitable by using their innovative product line. Keep an eye on this team and the groundbreaking research they are a part of. This is a name that you will hear in the industry for many years to come.
Fohse, it truly is the future of horticultural science and engineering.
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Written by Chris Bond | Certified Permaculture Designer, Nursery Technician, Nursery Professional
Chris Bond’s research interests are with sustainable agriculture, biological pest control, and alternative growing methods. He is a certified permaculture designer and certified nursery technician in Ohio and a certified nursery professional in New York, where he got his start in growing.