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Proto Labs, Inc.
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Optical Liquid Silicone Rubber Introduced at Proto Labs
Optical liquid silicone rubber parts, like lenses, work particularly well for lighting applications due their clarity, durability and scratch resistance.
(Photo: Business Wire)
Injection-molded optical LSR shines new light into product development possibilities
MAPLE PLAIN, Minn.—Rapid prototyping and low-volume manufacturer Proto Labs, Inc. 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,” explained Jeff Schipper, Proto Labs’ product manager for LSR, in a statement. “In a lighting application, for example, you have a lens and seal that would traditionally be two parts. With optical LSR, you can combine the two into a single part, which reduces cost and overall inventory.”
Proto Labs is an online and technology-enabled quick-turn manufacturer of custom parts for prototyping and short-run production. The company uses injection molding, computer numerical control (CNC) machining, and additive manufacturing to produce parts for product designers and engineers worldwide.
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