SANTA ROSA, CALIF. — Reed Precision Microstructures LLC of Santa Rosa has expanded its plastics injection molding work as part of a broad vertical integration of its custom optics manufacturing.
Plastics processing will account for 50 percent of RPM's sales by the end of the year, up from about 15 percent in 1997, President John Egger said in a telephone interview.
Some new programs entering production account for the change. RPM focuses on precision microstructured optical components for biomedical, digital-projection-display and security applications.
Another niche involves illumination systems for automotive applications, such as lights to read maps.
Dave Reed founded RPM in 1989 as a precision machining company and built a reputation for turning out difficult-to-make, diamond-machined optical elements and prototypes.
This year, RPM brought in additional partners, including Egger, and Dan Fisher as vice president of engineering. Egger had been president of Fresnel Optics Inc. of Rochester, N.Y., and Fisher had experience in production of thin-film deposition on polymer substrates. Reed, formerly the sole owner, continues as vice president in his specialized areas.
In March, RPM reached full production in an expandable, 11,000-square-foot plant after moving one-quarter mile from a 5,000-square-foot Santa Rosa site. The firm employs 14.
RPM operates four Nissei injection molding machines, two with 20 tons of clamping force and one each with 60 and 120 tons, and a Berkel compression molding shuttle press with an 18-inch-by-20-inch capacity.
The company uses mold-making equipment primarily to marry optical inserts into a mold base.
The firm also does electrolytic plating and vacuum-deposit optical coating with electron-beam assistance. RPM's product line includes Fresnel, cylindrical, aspheric and total-internal-reflection lenses.