How to make flashlights Led Lenser

When the brothers Harald and Rainer Opolka decided to found a lantern company in 1994, the bank's consultant only laughed at them, saying that this industry was unpromising. The brothers also had some doubts - until they sold lamps equipped with a unique focusing system for more than € 200 million.

Anatomy of a lamp At first glance, a LED lamp is a fairly simple thing. But to make it reliable and easy to use, engineers make considerable efforts. All details are thought over many times and checked by stringent tests.

Last year, Leatherman Tool Group acquired the Led Lenser company, the founder of which Tim Lezerman even joked about this: they wanted to buy a flashlight, but the secretary misunderstood and bought the whole company. In the machining workshop, where cases are made of aluminum tubes, Lanber Zhao draws my attention to people in yellow shirts that scurry around among machine tools and workers dressed in blue overalls: “These are quality inspectors.

The key technology and the main pride of Led Lenser is the original optical system developed by the Sighting brothers and allowing you to rearrange the focus of the optical beam to use the flashlights in any conditions. These little “droplets” are lenses that are molded under pressure from a special optical plastic.

Each of them has a desk and a computer, but there is no chair - their task is to notice and solve problems that arise before they cause trouble. ” But in the workshop where the main know-how of Led Lenser flashlights is made - optics, there are no people: the robotic system casts under pressure lenses and reflectors from special optical plastic. This is precisely the very only operation that the robot performs.

The assembly of the lamps is done manually, but with the thoroughness that any robot would envy, and after that each lamp passes the final quality check (even charging for battery models), is packed and sent to the warehouse.

Both the complete lights and individual parts undergo a series of rigorous tests in climate chambers with simulated frost and heat, in the rain, and in conditions of vibration and shock, to ensure uninterrupted operation.

The list of spot tests of products and components looks much longer and more impressive than the description of production operations: from tests for electromagnetic compatibility, electrical characteristics of batteries and measurement of light flux to checking the quality of the gold coating of contacts in hot salt water (for several days) and the performance of lamps at low and high temperatures, in conditions of vibration of shocks - only 24 rather stringent tests.


Dark place

“Twenty years ago, changing a light bulb in a pocket lamp was just as normal (and almost as common) as changing batteries. Powerful LEDs with a lifespan of hundreds of thousands of hours have almost completely captured this market, ”says Sven Hansen, Head of Advanced Engineering at LED LENSER in China. - The main work on the development of new models is done by my colleagues in the German design bureau of the company. But many things are more convenient to do on the spot - let's say, quickly adapt the design (power supply, cooling system) to new components, such as superbright LEDs. ” To test the lamps under conditions close to real, a closed tunnel was built in the research and development department with light flux meters installed at various distances.

As Rakesh Sridharan, president of the Led Lenser manufacturing department admitted, “we produce lights that can be bought for fifty dollars, but we adhere to such standards as if we were making parts for spaceships.”

The article “Where Light Is Born” was published in the magazine Popular Mechanics (No. 9, September 2013).

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