In this episode Lou Brossard, the Senior Product Specialist from Curbell Plastics joins us. Lou specializes in films and tapes, and discusses the markets and applications for light management films. Lou also explains how light diffusion works, the technology behind it, and what needs to be considered with the selection of films when it’s being incorporated into a new project or design.
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Lou has over 25 years of combined plastic distribution and converting experience. His last 4 years have been at Curbell with a focus on films and tapes.
His role includes responsibility for the company’s growing films business for the eastern half of the US.
Lou is also responsible for educating and bringing product awareness within the Curbell organization. He works with all inside and outside staff members at all 21 locations,
Product engineers that are looking to improve an existing design or launch something unique will be interested to hear about light management film technology.
Curbell is committed to making these materials available commercially by investing heavily in stocking and converting these materials.
Light management films (or LM films) are glossed polycarbonate films that are formulated with a light scattering agent added during the extrusion process. This makes them high-performance LED light diffusers that create smooth illumination on the front sides of backlit parts.
While five years ago, fluorescent and incandescent lighting was standard, the market has swiftly moved to LED, which is projected to make up 99% of the market in the next 5 years.
Applications for LM films include various uses in the automotive industry including automotive lighting instrument panels. They are also used for blind-spot detection warnings in car side mirrors to mitigate distraction to both the driver of the vehicle and the approaching driver.
Light diffusion is using a material that scatters light in some manner to transmit a softer light.
Light diffusion is also used in products that utilize graphic overlays. Using LM films eliminates the need for the traditional step of having to flood coat the surface before applying the final graphics. This saves on both labor costs and expensive inks.
When developing a new product, LM films are available in 3 grades: LM309, LM905, and LM228. Thickness ranges run from 12-20 mil and start out in master rolls that are 48-inch-wide widths but can be split or sheeted down to your needs.
8” x 10” samples are available upon request. If you need something larger, Curbell can accommodate that and get it to you in 3-5 business days.
Advantages for using LED lighting for screen printed graphics are that they are bright, reliable, energy-efficient, and low heat but they can create hot spots in your graphic overlay making light difficult to diffuse.
LM films provide more diffusing and reduce the number of LED lights needed saving money and improving aesthetics as LM film maximizes the energy.
LM films can be cold-formed, bent, or wrapped to achieve any shape you might need.