It always amazes me how quickly the technologies behind 3D printing are developing. Go back just five to seven years and a lot of the technology that we see today, both in manufacturing and desktop 3D printers, did not even exist. Yes there were laser sintering machines producing metal parts in some facilities, but the overall atmosphere of the industry has changed drastically.
One company, which has been making tremendous strides using 3D printing to produce specialized products in a way that no other company has, is LUXeXcel. The Netherlands based LUXeXcel uses a unique 3D printing technique, which they call Printoptical technology, to produce optics for LEDs. The company has shied away from selling their 3D printers as they want to protect the technology behind it all, from those who could copy it. Instead, they offer their services of printing custom LED optics. Using a method which produces a smooth, crystal clear product, the company allows for their custom formulated PMMA thermoplastic to settle between each application prior to being cured by a UV laser. This prevents lines from forming, which normally would be caused by the multiple layers of the print. Thus far they have been able to supply their optics to a variety of industries for indoor use only.
Today the company has announced an addition to their capabilities, a new outdoor coating as a finishing for their LUX standard material. Lighting is used just as much in outdoor applications as it is with indoor applications, therefore the company has realized the need to expand their capabilities, offering their products for both indoor and outdoor uses.
The new finishing method places a special coating on their printed optics which protect the underlying optics from major temperature changes or thermal shocks of -15C and +60C, as well as against the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. All products shipped with the protective finishing are guaranteed for three years.
“We are very happy to open up our service to the outdoor markets,” said Richard van de Vrie, Founder and CEO of Luxexcel.”3D printed optics are already being used for many indoor applications and our customers asked us to develop a process that allows them to benefit from our unique Printoptical Technology to create custom optical components for the outdoor markets as well. So that’s what we did and we are already seeing some great new products coming out of our printers.”
The special outdoor finishing is applied during the printing process to the LUX standard optical material, therefore the option to include the new finishing must be selected with the purchase. This new process will not extend shipping times on orders at all, according to the company.
This addition of LUXeXcel’s offerings could open up a variety of growing markets for the company, namely the solar market. The ability to print optics which direct light in predetermine orientations, certainly can be a powerful tool for several key areas, both indoor and out. Let’s hear your thoughts on LUXeXcel’s latest offering in the LUXeXcel outdoor optics forum thread on 3DPB.com.