Square Light Guides / Light Pipes are an innovative product range from MENTOR. I like them because they not only look great but allow you to visibly differentiate your product designs from the more mundane. It is worth noting that whilst the 10-column array versions have multiple tiny light elements closely spaced together, MENTOR’s clever integrated diaphragm prevents light bleed even when different colours are used adjacent.
MENTOR have added multiple array versions to their range, and all of the engineers I have shown rear-mounted samples to were very impressed. OK, they are not going to change the world but they are a clever concept that is highly practical and do enhance optical quality. If you need IP68-rating though, look elsewhere – by definition rear-mounted versions cannot deliver this (yet!)
Conventional front-mounted light guides will by definition always have heads slightly larger than the enclosure’s hole, which results in not all of the head being directly illuminated by the LED. The advantage of mounting from the rear of the panel is that all of the light guide head is directly illuminated and this produces a markedly superior lighting effect.
During my recent factory visit I explained to MENTOR that Multitron’s UK Design Engineers were loving the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of MENTOR’s illuminated switch cap solutions but many were asking for round / circular versions rather than square. I quite reasonably berated MENTOR for their short-sightedness in not supplying these.
With its near 100-year heritage as a leading electronic component manufacturer, MENTOR must be one of the longest-standing exhibitors at Electronica.
MENTOR’s Marketing & Communication Manager Mr Stephan Sost comments:- “MENTOR manufactures high-quality standard and custom precision opto, electronic and mechanical components; we tend to present these to Design Engineers in an efficient, engineering-focused manner. The fact is that the design and high quality finish of our components results in them really making a difference to the overall look and perceptions of our customers’ products. For Electronica 2014 we thought it would be good to commission a series of fine-art prints of our components that reflects this.
MENTOR’s R&D guys always complain that they are too busy to take-on any more customer-specific projects (but they always do)! I don’t reckon they can be that busy because in their “spare time” they have come up with two very interesting light guide developments, namely corona and contour light guides. If I told you more I would have to shoot you but I am allowed to show you these images.
See working demos of miniature light guides, light guide-based 7-segment displays and illuminated switch caps for dome switches, all in “technicolour action”. View the video to fully understand how these components can enhance your products!