Coextruded Lighting Solution with International Reach
A leading LED developer and provider with an international client base needed a new reliable, custom coextruded profile that was leak resistant to illuminate commercial canopy spaces.
Pexco collaborated and leveraged its extrusion, lighting industry, tool, and die expertise to design a custom lens and end-cap solution that meets exacting design and engineering specifications. This partnership has resulted in more than three million feet of co-extruded acrylic lenses installed in thousands of commercial facilities around the globe.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are replacing incandescent lamps in a variety of architectural applications worldwide, and for good reason. Commercial LED technology is less expensive to maintain and operate as compared to incandescent bulbs. In fact, LEDs provide up to 50,000 hours of light and consume 90 percent less electricity. This technology also offers a wide array of voltage applications and color customization. However, the challenge for applying this technology in outdoor, commercial applications is to deliver a finished product that is easy to install and maintain, durable, water tight, and meets illumination and safety standards.
These daunting challenges were all on the list when the Pexco’s engineering team collaborated with a leading LED developer. The developer was attempting provide a reliable canopy lighting lens assembly in a long length for corporate branding for a big project in Northern Europe, replacing a poor-performing design. The then current, problematic design included an asymmetrical C shape lens clipped into an aluminum extrusion and fastened onto the outside of the canopy. In certain instances rain water was seeping into and accumulating inside the lens, shorting out the LED circuit boards.
The first step for Pexco was to help the developer design a short-term solution that included a small translucent containment extrusion that would house the circuit boards with sealed ends, thus keeping the circuit board dry and water safe.
The short-term solution included Pexco designing and building the complex extrusion tooling to make the housings. The team quickly got to work and solved the problem. New housing enclosures were shipped within four weeks.
With the immediate challenge resolved, Pexco and the customer set out to design and create a new large hollow lens that would keep water away from the enclosure. First, aesthetic demands required extruding a lens that allowed consistent light from the front view without hot spots. The co-extrusion also had to deliver two different colors of illumination simultaneously, one for the front view and one for the backwash. Next, design restrictions required delivering a piece that would have a uniform shape and wall thickness to avoid hot spots and provide a consistent color. Finally, engineering challenges included leveraging a patented process to co-extrude the large, complex lens along with an internal light tube that cannot be touched once it leaves the die.
Pexco’s lighting technology team in its Huntington Beach, California facility rolled up its sleeves. The team’s collaborative design solution features a new hollow closed profile that encases the internal circuit board and end caps that complete the enclosure and keep the assembly watertight. The new profile also includes protruding clips, which replace aluminum fixtures from the earlier, under performing design and aid in installation.
Once the collaborative solution was fully fleshed out, Pexco partnered with an international high-tech tool and die company to design and build the custom tooling, and began co-extruding sections of acrylic lens for immediate shipment. To date the company has delivered millions of feet of the lens that can withstand the rigors of installation and subsequent weather abuse, including wind load and impact, while adhering to the color consistency requirements and illumination-diffusion specifications. In fact, the finished product was so successful in the European application that it is now being used in North and South America as well as Asia.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia with several manufacturing plants across the United States and Mexico, Pexco is a North American leader in the design and fabrication of specialty plastics products. It provides standard and custom products and components to manufacturers and end-users for a broad range of market applications, including the Aerospace, Medical, Filtration, Lighting, and other Industrial sectors. Pexco offers a full range of design, engineering and fabrication services. It operates six Class 7 & Class 8 medical clean rooms. Pexco meets the requirements of ISO 9001:2008, and holds ISO 14001, ISO 13485, 21 CFR 820, OHSAS 18001, GMP, AS9100C, ITAR and other registrations and/or certifications for its manufacturing operations. Pexco is your trusted plastics advisor for specialty plastic products and solutions. For more information, visit www.pexco.com or contact 770-777-8540.