NILES, Ill.—Four is better than three when it comes to large injection molding presses. That's the case for Niles-based A.L.P. Lighting Components which recently added a 240-ton injection molding press for optical silicone applications.
Better known as a thermoplastic company with experience in compression molding, A.L.P. also manufactures optical silicone components, an option that offers valuable properties for lighting, automotive and other demanding applications. The new 240-ton press is specifically used for liquid silicone rubber molding.
Optical silicone parts are impact and heat resistant while being less susceptible to degradation from UV rays. Silicone also is known for its refraction, reflection, and diffusion properties, along with self-mounting and self-gasket features.
It's been a challenge for A.L.P. to keep up with increasing demand given the popularity of LED lighting in multiple industries and for many different applications. Optical silicone components help to minimize the adverse impact that high temperature levels can help on thermoplastics used in LED lighting, said Tom Barnes, A.L.P. vice president and business unit manager. This is particularly important because many clients are using LED lights for outside usage in warm temperatures.
Meanwhile, available supply of raw materials used in the process of creating optical silicone parts has been difficult to attain. A.L.P.'s lone supplier was limiting component availability for nearly two years while outreach to other suppliers for additional resources proved fruitless.