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Illuminating the World of Flexible Light Technology

Let there be light. That can be easier said than done for product designers and engineers as devices become more compact and portable than ever.

A few months ago, we invited Mark Darby on our Better Product Solutions Podcast. Mark is the Vice President of Sales for Lumitex. We had an illuminating discussion on flexible light technology, which is a great solution for medical, medical devices, transportation, and many other industries.

Benefits of flexible light technology and light management

Light can be a powerful feature for a product, whether it serves as the primary function or aids in the user experience. However, traditional lighting sources can be difficult or expensive to fit into tight spaces, especially when accommodating a power source. That’s why flexible light technology is a game-changer offering numerous potential benefits:

  • Product differentiation – Lighting can accentuate features or enhance appearances (such as backlighting a brand logo).
  • Targeted lighting – Custom flexible lighting can precisely illuminate a specific area for the highest impact.
  • Enhanced user experience or patient care – Strategically placed lights can make a device easier to operate (such as with a backlit membrane switch), improve the size or convenience of a product, or create a novel treatment method.
  • Improved ergonomics – With flexible lighting, you don’t have to compromise the form factor of your device.
  • Streamlined engineering and development – Innovative solutions such as Lumitex's cut-to-size flexible lighting make it simple and cost-effective to test feasibility.
  • Expanded design options – Flexible LED lighting is available in a wide range of brightness levels, colors, and other features.

Applications of flexible lighting

Flexible lighting is well-suited for a range of applications, although the possibilities are virtually endless:

  • Medical devices
  • Phototherapy devices
  • Comfort lighting
  • Membrane switches
  • Human-machine interfaces (HMI)
  • Mechanical switch keyboards
  • Automotive components

Flexible lighting case study

Tapecon and Lumitex partnered on a backlit membrane switch for an IV infusion pump. The design challenge was that a thin (5mm) lighting solution was needed to backlight a large membrane switch overlay with a cut-out for an LCD screen. Due to the unique display design, the customer (a leading medical device and laboratory equipment manufacturer) found traditional lighting sources to be expensive, noisy, and not suited for their application. Using fiber optic lighting technology, Lumitex created a solution that was cost-efficient, provided uniform lighting to specific areas, and conformed to the specifications. Tapecon then provided printing and custom material converting for the membrane switch to create a user-friendly interface.

Why Tapecon

When solving complex design challenges such as embedded product lighting, collaboration is critical. At Tapecon, we recommend getting your lighting and manufacturing partners involved as early in the design process as possible. This helps us understand your specifications and make engineering and materials recommendations that can help you improve product quality, reduce costs, and accelerate development. If you’re interested in flexible lighting technology for your device, contact us for an on-site demonstration or to request samples.

Let’s make something great 

With over 100 years of manufacturing experience, Tapecon works with product teams to solve challenges, create products, and enhance lives. Learn more about our custom material converting services.

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