Optical LSR parts.
Rapid prototyping and low-volume manufacturer Proto Labs, Inc. has introduced new optical-grade liquid silicone rubber (LSR) to its existing portfolio of mouldable plastic, metal and LSR materials.
Announcing developments in LSR back in November, this new high-performance optical LSR is transparent, extremely flexible and is already being used 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 discolour or lose transparency with age or with exposure to heat or UV light. It is significantly lighter than glass and most other plastics and is also scratch and crack resistant.
“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 also recently launched a new fast turnaround prototyping service to enable low volume production in just one day. The enhancements to the company’s FineLine Additive Manufacturing service provides customers with the opportunity to have their design’s validated before going into production.
Proto Labs is currently exhibiting in Las Vegas at the Strategies in Light conference to discuss optical LSR along with its other quick-turn injection moulding, CNC machining and 3D printing capabilities.