No drama for Maxilux as its growth in LED strip lighting helps boost efficiency for UK’s cress crops

Maxilux, the expanding specialist business that designs and manufactures high-impact LED lighting for prestigious locations including the Royal Shakespeare Company, is now playing a major part in driving efficiencies in the germination of salad cress for one of the UK’s largest market garden producers.

In Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra, the Bard refers to ‘My Salad Days’ – a time of youthful inexperience and idealism, and Maxilux has switched the expertise it uses to illuminate sets at Stratford’s RSC to that of successfully bringing on the tender young stems at WS Bentley Growers, which produces more than 20 million punnets of salad cress each year for the UK’s major supermarkets.

Maxilux LED Lighting, which is dramatically expanding its offering by opening new distribution centres in Kent and Leeds, has helped WS Bentley save costs on the early germination of salad cress by using LED strip to hot house the crop, replacing the less efficient fluorescent strip.

“We use Maxilux LED lighting in the germination rooms rather than the fluorescent lighting that we had before because it is simply more efficient and has saved us around 40 per cent in our combined lighting and temperature control costs,” said owner Jan Bentley.

“We needed the LED to be waterproof because we grow the crop in an intensive fog which creates a lot of moisture in the 48 hours they are in there before the seedlings are transferred to the greenhouses.

“The Maxilux solution works well for germinating salad cress because the LED lighting generates a lower heat and a less intense light than the fluorescent strip which is better all round for us. Additionally we now don’t have an issue with cracked light fittings”

“This is a great example of the versatility of LED strip lighting – on one hand it is lighting some of Shakespeare’s finest works, while at the other extreme helping to cultivate this delicate crop in a highly controlled environment so that we can all enjoy different versions of salad days,” said managing director of Maxilux, Richard Cockayne.

“LED lighting is very much the future because it is flexible, easy to fit and work with and it helps drive efficiencies.  The only thing holding back its further development is our own lack of imagination, but innovators like Jan are using it in increasingly interesting ways to satisfy their own requirements.”

By the end of 2017, Maxilux will have sold in excess of 100,000 metres of LED strip into the market, but its ambitious distribution plans involve having packaged product in more than 300 national wholesalers and quadrupling.

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