Injection-molded optical LSR shines new light into product development possibilities
MAPLE PLAIN, Minn.--Rapid prototyping and low-volume manufacturer Proto Labs, Inc. (NYSE:PRLB) has added optical-grade liquid silicone rubber (LSR) to its existing lineup of moldable plastic, metal and LSR materials. High-performance optical LSR is transparent, extremely flexible and starting to replace glass in many optical applications.
The engineering-grade thermoset offers a host of benefits for those developing components and products inside the lighting industry. Optical LSR does not discolor or lose transparency with age or with exposure to heat or UV light; it is significantly lighter than glass and most other plastics; and it is scratch and crack resistant, among many other advantages.
"One of the more exciting aspects that optical silicone presents to a designer is its ability to reduce the bill of materials in a final assembly," explains Jeff Schipper, Proto Labs' product manager for LSR. "In a lighting application, for example, you have a lens and seal that would traditionally be two parts. With optical LSR, you can combined the two into a single part, which reduces cost and overall inventory."
Proto Labs will be in Las Vegas this week (Feb. 24-26) at the Strategies in Light conference discussing optical LSR along with its other quick-turn injection molding, CNC machining and 3D printing capabilities.
About Proto Labs, Inc.
Proto Labs is a leading online and technology-enabled quick-turn manufacturer of custom parts for prototyping and short-run production. Proto Labs provides "Real Parts, Really Fast" by utilizing injection molding, computer numerical control (CNC) machining and additive manufacturing to produce parts for product designers and engineers worldwide. For more information, visit protolabs.com.