LED Light Diffusing Solutions

Hide Hot Spots, Improve Lighting Quality, and Save Costs with Plastic Diffusers for LED Lighting

Lighting manufacturers face the complex challenge of creating aesthetically pleasing fixtures that achieve the perfect warm or cool color and the right levels of light transmission and diffusion.

LEDs offer businesses a number of advantages over traditional fluorescent and incandescent lamps including longer life, improved energy efficiency, smaller lamp size, lower heat generation, and lighter weight.

The Challenge: LED Hot Spots 
Intense, Distracting Points of Light

One of the challenges of LED light sources is that they consist of an array of many small diodes that create intense points of light. These LED “hot spots” have poor aesthetic characteristics, which can detract from the appearance of architectural and commercial lighting fixtures, backlighted signs, transportation lighting, and lighted point-of-purchase displays.

LED Hot Spots  Intense, Distracting Points of Light

Different grades of TUFFAK® Lumen XT placed over a light box exhibiting low diffusion/high transmission, medium diffusion/medium transmission, and high diffusion/low transmission.

The Solution: Light Diffusing Plastic Materials
Acrylic and Polycarbonate Sheet and Polycarbonate Film

Light Diffusing Plastic MaterialsPlastic sheet and film manufacturers have introduced new materials that are engineered to diffuse LED light, hide hot spots, and create even lighting surfaces. In addition to hiding the pinpoints of light, the new diffuser materials exhibit high levels of light transmission compared with traditional plastic light diffusers. This results in brighter light from a given set of LED lamps.

Benefits of Light Diffusing Plastics

  • Outstanding light transmission
  • LED diffusing grades available
  • Resists damage during shipping and installation
  • Can be thermoformed into complex shapes
  • Lightweight for low shipping cost and easy installation
  • Some grades can be bent and cold formed
  • Thin sheet and film can be used to retrofit existing light fixtures
  • Light diffusing films can be formed into curved shapes

Consider this case study...
Light Diffusing Polycarbonate Sheet Offers Higher Light Transmission While Diffusing LED Hot Spots

A manufacturer of LED lighting for mass transportation vehicles was having trouble finding the right diffuser for a rail car lighting fixture. The translucent white polycarbonate that they were using did not have sufficient light transmission to meet the vehicle light level requirements. It also failed to adequately diffuse the LED lights, which resulted in “hot spots”.

Curbell suggested they evaluate TUFFAK® Lumen XT polycarbonate sheet, which has higher light transmission and also does an excellent job diffusing LED hot spots. This allowed the manufacturer to produce a fixture that met the light transmission specification for the job and eliminated the LED hot spots.

Ready to learn more about light diffusing plastics? Download our white paper - Plastic Diffuser Solutions for LED Lighting – on a new generation of polycarbonate and acrylic LED light diffusing materials that offer design flexibility, hide hot spots, and transmit more light.

Meet Our Lighting Experts

Our performance plastics experts are here to help you develop innovative solutions in complex LED light diffusing applications. Our expertise ranges from commercial and display lighting scenarios to robotic machine vision systems, visual inspection cameras, automated parts inspection, instrument panels, and other complex applications.

Shannon Cream
Business Development Manager - High-Performance Polymers

Business Development Manager for High-Performance Polymers, has three decades of specification-driven consultation experience. He provides LED lighting expertise for customers across the Western United States. 

As Business Development Manager for high performance polymers, Shannon Cream brings three decades of consultative, specification-driven sales experience to Curbell Plastics customers in aerospace, defense, mass transit, and other technology-driven industries. He frequently helps customers identify opportunities in which a plastic can outperform metal, glass, or other materials in challenging applications. Shannon’s product expertise spans a broad range of performance plastic materials, including engineering plastics, LED lighting diffusers, and composites. He is particularly well versed in the use of authentic DuPont™ Vespel® Polyimide in cryogenic or high-temperature environments.

Shannon has a wealth of hands-on experience in real-world industry applications, which adds an exceptional degree of practical understanding to his analysis of challenges faced by Curbell customers. His comfort zone: Extreme environments where components require strict adherence to temperature, tribology, dimensional stability, and chemical resistance. Shannon works closely with engineering, procurement, R&D, and production teams to help them improve performance, longevity, and efficiency.

He also helps customers develop innovative solutions in complex LED light diffusing applications, ranging from commercial and display lighting scenarios to robotic machine vision systems, visual inspection cameras, automated parts inspection, instrument panels, and other complex applications.

From his home base in Curbell Plastics’ Seattle location, Shannon brings his vast expertise to customers across the United States. He handles accounts in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and California.

When he’s not helping customers achieve their goals and increase efficiency through the use of performance plastics, Shannon enjoys vintage Lambretta and Vespa scooters, comic book collecting, model trains, and yoga. He is an active member of the Puget Sound Mycological Society, where he proudly works to foster a greater understanding of and appreciation for mushrooms among cooks, growers, hobbyists, and scientists.

A Partner in Your Success

“Trust is inviolable,” says Shannon, pointing to the foundation upon which he builds relationships with customers and Curbell colleagues. “I pride myself on core values embedded in my DNA: Integrity and respect underpin my every interaction.”

Shannon knows from experience that building long-term partnerships with customers enables him to remove burdens and help them attain their goals. “I share as much in common with Sherlock Holmes as I do Zig Ziglar,” he says, recognizing his role is as much investigative and analytical as it is proactive and motivational. “Uncovering clues to problems begging solutions is one of the most fulfilling aspects of the job I do. The relationship-building part of a sales meeting is always beneficial to business — even though nothing might have been sold — and to see a project through from conception to completion, knowing you’ve been a part of that success, is tremendously gratifying.”

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Dave Seiler
Product Specialist - High-Performance Polymers

Product Specialist for High-Performance Polymers, has literally been involved with plastics his whole life. He provides LED lighting expertise and support to all Curbell’s Midwest and East Coast customers.

If you are working on a new application or redesigning an existing one, contact Dave to discuss material options. He specializes in high performance engineering plastics and is ready to take your call, set up a webinar, or travel to your facility to discuss your unique situation. He’ll be pleased to work with you to help identify and select cost-effective engineered plastic candidate materials.

Dave spends his free time running and reading academic literature on a diverse base of polymer materials. Yeah, he’s that guy. In addition to sharing his own knowledge with you, he would be happy to direct you to relevant research that addresses your own situation in an unbiased manner.

He has literally been involved with plastics his whole life (his first word was “Kynar,” which is a trade name of a leading brand of PVDF). Professionally, he has an extensive background in polyaryletherketones and handles our DuPont™ Vespel® Polyimide (a lightweight metal replacement for cryogenic or high-temperature environments) product line outside of the West Coast.

As a Product Specialist on the Curbell Plastics Business Development team, Dave works with companies across the Midwest and the Southwest to provide high performance material solutions. He also provides LED lighting expertise and support to all Curbell’s Midwest and East Coast customers.

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Are light diffusing plastics right for your next project? If you're a business or institution and have a challenging lighting application, our plastic experts can answer your questions and advise on your LED lighting project. Ask a Lighting Expert.