The Benefits of Installing Light Movers in a Grow Room

By Nancy Hamilton
Published: November 15, 2017 | Last updated: December 7, 2021 11:10:56
Key Takeaways

Plants crave a natural supply of sunlight, which includes movement of the light to reach every leaf. The only way to achieve that in the grow room is to employ the use of automated light movers.

Source: Botany Unlimited Design Systems

Light mover automation is an important part of the growroom set-up, and the more we automate, the better. With just a little planning, growers can free themselves and have confidence that the automation is working perfectly. With formulas for success plugged in to repeat, growers can advance with improved growth rates and yield numbers.


Complete Grow Light System Control

Automation in our growroom gives us that extra layer of perfection and protection. And, with grow light systems automated on light movers, growers can now expect much higher standards when it comes to results.

In other words, we see an even, high-yield outcome from those perfectly keyed in variables. Consistent quality and yield results are what matters most, and robotic light mover automation can provide growers with that control.


Automation is also about reducing human error, resulting in fewer mistakes in the growroom. Through automation, indoor growing systems can be dialed in for the exact results required. Specifically, a grow light system can be supercharged on light movers.

Lights Make or Break a Growroom

One thing to know by heart is this: a grow light system is the key to everything. Indoor grow lights will either make or break indoor growing results every time.

Quality of light equals quality of yield; it’s just that simple. That statement gets us to the specific details of light mover automation. Quality grow lights on light movers make all the difference in growth rates, numbers of nodes, and yield results.


Goodbye Hotspots, Goodbye Shadows

The light mover grow light system affects light as it relates to distance when the grow lights are moved along the light mover rail—it eliminates hot spots and shadows.

Without the negative impact of hot spots and zoned light overkill, we can now get our grow lights closer for maximum photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) right to the canopy.


It’s an example of the Inverse Square Law, which states the following: The farther away an object is from a light source, the effect of that light is geometrically diminished. So, a grow light that is up close is powerful and effective. But, at five feet away (1.5 meters), that same grow light is only 50 per cent as powerful.

Remember, it’s geometrically diminishing, so at four feet away (1.2 m), we are still doing poorly and are fast approaching that 50 per cent number.

Even at two to three feet away (0.6-0.9 m), we are not using the grow lights to their full potential, even though that is generally what light manufacturers recommend. However, they are giving us these numbers thinking in stationary grow light terms.

We can, however, get 3,000+ PAR right to the canopy, but we cannot do that with stationary grow lights that are multiple feet away. We can only achieve that through robotic light movers.

In other words, stationary grow light systems force us to position our grow lights at a certain distance. In doing that, and trying to avoid the hot spots while also trying for a little stationary light spread, it undermines our efforts.

It is a catch-22 for indoor grow light systems. The solution is to use light movers. That simple change allows growers to break all the stationary grow light rules.

Robotic Lights Reach Every Leaf

At the same time, light movers also affect light as it relates to leaf area. When we move our grow lights along the light mover rails, each leaf area interacts with the intensity of those moving grow lights. That interaction is for the correct period of time for each leaf surface. This is called Leaf Area Index (LAI), and it’s very important for achieving maximum yield.

Light movers, which turn indoor grow lights into robotic moving lights, get all the leaves to interact and work for the good of the plant by getting that closer, quality, improved PAR indoor plant light to reach all the leaves for the right amount of time.

To understand LAI, it’s helpful to know that there is a limit to what each leaf surface can effectively absorb. To put it simply, each leaf surface needs intermittent light.

What is ideal is to have a powerful and intense grow light interaction for a period, have it move off slightly, then return once again to being powerful and intense without the plants waiting too long for that return.

That scenario is perfect for each leaf surface, as each leaf area can only absorb light at its own pace. Only then do all the leaves work best for the good of the plant. In other words, the sun isn’t always at high noon and neither should our grow lights.

Light movers are truly the only way to get the indoor plant light to duplicate a natural supply of sunlight.

30% More Area Covered

Light movers can cover at least 30 per cent more area compared to stationary grow lights. Not only do they employ automation in the growroom, including closer coverage for maximum PAR and more leaves working for the good of the plant, but they also allow each light to cover more of the growroom. That creates efficiency and can reduce maintenance and electricity costs.

The more we automate our set-up, the better results we can achieve. This is especially true when we take the single most important variable, the grow light system, and we make it that much better. Light mover automation gives growers bang for the buck in efficiency, protection of outcome, and improved results.

Robotic light movers provide the ultimate automation and that automation is in the very area that counts the most.


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Written by Nancy Hamilton

Profile Picture of Nancy Hamilton

Nancy Hamilton is executive vice president of Gualala Robotics, the manufacturer of the LightRail brand. LightRail robotic light movers are instrument-grade light movers, rated for continuous duty and made in the USA since 1986. The company headquarters is based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

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