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Haverstraw lamp maker caters to British royalty

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2015 at 5:40 am


 – When the queen of England strolls through Buckingham Palace admiring her artwork, she sees it more clearly because of a little company in Rockland County.

Lexstar Inc., which makes specialty light fixtures, recently signed a new client: the Royal Collection Trust, which manages the art collection of the British royal family. The trust purchases Lexstar’s lights for small-sized pictures at the palaces.

The company’s success is a coup for this little village on the Hudson. It was once known as the brick-making capital of the world, but, like much of the nation, has lost manufacturing jobs over the years. Even after the brick business dried up, other companies closed, leaving a dearth of jobs. Louis Hornick Co., for example, a curtain manufacturer that called Haverstraw home since 1949, closed in 2008, laying off 60 employees.

But Lexstar, which opened more than 40 years ago, manufacturing lighting fixtures for households and businesses, has survived. Over the years, Uri Redlich, Lexstar’s owner, has kept up with the changes in the lighting industry, from incandescent to halogen to florescent to light-emitting diode. He’s been adjusting his designs and creating new products. As he faced competition from overseas imports, instead of giving up, he found a new niche with a fixture that uses small LED bulbs suited for artwork, and reinvented his company.

“We have to be innovative,” he said. “You have to be.”

The company’s products have been sought after by interior designers for celebrities, and he has sold his lights to galleries and museums as well as high-end stores such as Gracious Home.

The first order from the Royal Collection Trust came about six months ago through Lexstar’s agent in London. The trust decided to try out Lexstar’s small picture lights and ordered 15 of them for Buckingham Palace, Redlich said. A couple of months later, the trust ordered an additional 25 for the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

“The products from a little company in the village of Haverstraw that nobody ever heard of are in the Buckingham Palace!” said Redlich. “I felt very, very good. It’s not because of the money. It’s the prestige.”

Redlich, 68, an Israeli immigrant, launched his business after ditching his initial goal to make a living as a photographer. He moved his company to Lincoln Street from West Haverstraw about 20 years ago, employing 30 workers at its peak. Keeping up with a changing industry wasn’t an issue until about 10 years ago, when competition with Chinese imports became unmanageable.

“Our problem was that the material cost us more than the finished products coming from China. That’s killing America,” Redlich said.

To help meet costs, he reduced payroll through attrition, and now has only a handful of employees on the books. One of them, Edwin Jeanty, 55, of Spring Valley, was at the warehouse the other day, working a metal spinning machine. In a gentle, seamless movement, he plunged the machine into a sheet of steel to shape it into a base for a floor lamp.

The small LED lamps sold to the Royal Collection Trust are capable of shedding light in different angles, from 60 degrees to 14 degrees. Artwork in different sizes would be adequately lit because of this function, Redlich said.

Hanae Tsuji, assistant press officer for the trust, said in an email that the organization “would not comment on the work undertaken at the Royal Residences by external companies. I’m sorry for the disappointing response.”

But an email from Lexstar’s London agent to Redlich included comments from administrators of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, expressing their satisfaction. The remarks ended with the phrase, “couldn’t be happier.”

Twitter: @LohudAkiko


Ohio Injection Molder Beats Chinese Competition, Creates Jobs

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2011 at 3:29 am

ICB, a Chicago-based maker of carts and dollies sought to change the landscape of their industry by developing a sturdier plastic-based dolly–instead of the traditional dollies made of wood.

Most would last about one year before breaking down and tossed in a landfill.  China uses plywood over 90% of the time, so ICB President saw an opportunity for a stronger, value-driven product to take to the market. But who could handle this type of art-to-part and innovation to make his concept a reality?

The answer resided a few miles off of I-75 in Ada, Ohio. Custom injection molder Associated Plastics Corporation was up to the task and after analyzing King’s prototype they demonstrated the ingenuity that those in the tooling industry long before them used to build this economy.

What are Igniters?

In guides on February 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Igniters are devices or assemblies that produce a specific level of heat in order to initiate a larger combustion reaction. Within industrial applications, igniters are manufactured for various engine and burner systems and applications including process heaters and high pressure washers. They are produced in simple and complex designs according to application use. This guide distinguishes the characteristics, functions and common issues associated with several of the most common industrial igniters, including pyrotechnic, hot surface and spark (or electrode) devices.

Pyrotechnic Igniters

Pyrotechnic igniters are frequently controlled electrically. They are initiated to ignite materials that generally have complex ignition requirements. Thermites are a pyrotechnic mixture of metal powder and oxide, which generates a reaction called a thermite response. While this reaction is not typically explosive, it can produce rapid bursts of high temperatures under the right conditions. This reaction’s higher temperatures are generally concentrated on a very small area for a short period of time.

Additional Considerations

These devices may require maintenance to adhere to safety standards, which should be verified through the manufacturer. In some applications, they may be demanding devices to operate as they require installation for individual engine tests.

Hot Surface Igniters

Invented in 1969, these igniters are composed of ceramic materials. These devices are also the most commonly used electronic ignition systems today. They are generally employed for applications such as space furnaces and heaters. Hot surface igniters are commonly used for their reliability and durability potential.

Hot Surface Igniter Configuration

The two composition materials generally associated with hot surface igniters are silicon carbide and silicon nitride.

  • Silicon carbide is a compound of carbon and silicon and is characterized by a low density and oxidation resistance. This compound, seen in igniters, has good high temperature strength.
  • Silicon nitride is a chemical compound of silicon and nitrogen. It is a hard ceramic with a high strength and is durable over a broad temperature range. Its notable characteristics include durability over a high temperature range.

Additional Considerations

Because these igniters are made of ceramics, they are considered durable and thermally robust and may last from 3-5 years. However, they may gradually weaken over time and use and will eventually generate less heat than their full potential; they should be replaced when this occurs. Hot surface igniters may also experience premature burnout.

Spark Igniters

Spark igniters are also known as flame igniters, according to their application. Generally, they are considered efficient devices because they are easy and safe to handle. They are electric and no gas leaks are involved. Spark igniters function as a device that ignites compressed fuels, such as aerosol gas, petroleum gas that is generally liquefied, and ethanol. Some manufacturers produce spark igniters (also called spark plugs) that produce an ultra thrust ignition, which provides reduced emissions and a faster start.

A spark plug may be considered either hot or cold. The difference is hot spark plugs generally hold more heat in the physical tip of the spark plug, while cold spark plugs generate more heat out of the tip and lower its temperature. Spark igniters include a subcategory called chatterboxes.

Spark Igniter Configuration

Chatterboxes are considered the least sophisticated of the spark-igniter systems. Various manufactured chatterbox devices are self-cleaning. Spark igniters of this type are capable of igniting more than one burner at a time, and they can be controlled by an on and off switch. The spark is produced at a set of make and break contacts. These are made of tungsten for extended durability.

Tungsten is a steel gray metal that is distinguished by its robust physical properties. It has the highest melting point of all metals it its pure form, and is often utilized in rocket engine and vehicle applications.

Additional Considerations

Sometimes a spark igniter will fail to ignite. A certain energy level must be maintained or the spark will dissipate. Manufacturers of these igniters suggest inspecting coloring of the tip (which should appear light brown) of the igniter block to ensure proper function. Changes in color and deformations may signal contamination or chipping, which can lead to misfire. To prevent a malfunction, tools like spark plug reading viewers are available.